Michael Thomas Bass, Jr.

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Michael Thomas Bass M.P.
Michael Thomas Bass MP.jpg
His bust in Derby Museum which he funded
Born 1799
Burton upon Trent
Died 1884
Occupation Brewer
Spouse(s) Eliza Jane Arden
Children Michael Bass, 1st Baron Burton
Hamar Alfred Bass
Emily
Alice
Parents Michael Thomas Bass, Sr.
Sarah Hoskins

Michael Thomas Bass DL (6 July 1799 – 29 April 1884) was a British brewer and member of the British House of Commons. Under his leadership, Bass became the largest brewery in the world and the best known brand in the United Kingdom. Bass represented the Derby constituency in the House of Commons as a member of the Liberal Party between 1847 and 1883 where he was an effective advocate for the brewing industry. He was a generous benefactor of both Derby and Burton upon Trent where his company was based.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Bass was born in Burton upon Trent in 1799, the son of Michael Thomas Bass (senior) who had expanded the Bass brewery founded by his father William Bass in 1777 and made it a major exporter to Russia. His mother, Sarah Hoskins, was the daughter of Abraham Hoskins, a prominent lawyer of Burton.[2]

Bass attended the grammar school in Burton and finished his schooling in Nottingham. At the age of 18, he joined the family business as an apprentice when business was not going well because the Napoleonic Wars had disrupted trade with Russia.[1] However, the sales of India Pale Ale in India and southeast Asia were taking off by the 1820s.

Master brewer[edit]

Bass took over control of the company in 1827 and continued the export focus on Asia. By 1832–33, the company was exporting 5,000 barrels of beer representing 40% of its output in that year.[1]

The coming of the railway to Burton upon Trent in 1839 helped the growth of the business by reducing transport costs. The company had four agents in the 1830s in London, Liverpool, Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham. By the 1880s, this had grown to 21 in the United Kingdom and another in Paris. The export trade was supplied by the agencies in London and Liverpool.

Under Bass's leadership, company production and sales had grown enormously. Production of ale had grown to 340,000 barrels in 1860 and to almost a million barrels in the late 1870s. By 1881, the company had three breweries and 26 malthouses covering 145 acres (0.59 km2) in Burton upon Trent. The company was Britain's biggest brewery and was one of its best known companies.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Michael Thomas Bass, Jr.

Bass was first elected as the member for Derby in 1848 and served until 1883.[3] His obituary in the Brewers Journal stated that he was known more "in the House of Commons for his regular attendance than for any feats of oratory."[4] He focussed on being a national advocate for the brewing industry against efforts by nonconformists within the Liberal Party to legislate against alcohol.

Bass was an orthodox Liberal supporting free trade, low taxes and improving living standards for the working class. He promoted legislation to abolish imprisonment for small debtors. His legislation against organ grinders on the grounds that they were street nuisances was less successful.[1]

Bass was a philanthropist both in Burton upon Trent and Derby. His obituarists claimed that his contributions totalled £80,000[1] and that he had given Derby a new Library, A museum, a School of Art, recreation ground, and swimming baths.[5]

Bass represented Derby until the final years of his life. William Ewart Gladstone offered Bass a peerage which he declined preferring to stay in the House of Commons.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Bass married Eliza Jane Arden in 1835. They had two sons and two daughters. His elder son Michael Bass, 1st Baron Burton took over the responsibility for running the company, served as the Member for Stafford and was elevated to the peerage. His other son Hamar Alfred Bass also served as a member of parliament for Tamworth but had gambling problems and was excluded from involvement in company affairs.[1] One daughter, Emily, married Sir William Plowden, MP for Wolverhampton West, and the other, Alice, married Sir George Chetwode being the mother of Field Marshal Philip Chetwode.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, "Michael Thomas Bass"
  2. ^ Debretts House of Commons and the Judicial Bench 1881
  3. ^ "The house of commons constituencies beginning with "D"". Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Brewers Journal 15 May 1884 as cited in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography "Michael Thomas Bass"
  5. ^ "Sir Michael Thomas Bass 1799–1884" (PDF). Derby City Council. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "Michael Thomas Bass". thePeerage.com. Retrieved 31 July 2011.  – Biography of junior

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hon. Frederick Leveson-Gower
Edward Strutt
Member of Parliament for Derby
1848–1883
With: 7 others, in succession
Succeeded by
Thomas Roe
Sir William Vernon Harcourt
Preceded by
William Bulkeley Hughes
Oldest Member of Parliament?
(not Father of the House)

1882–1883
Succeeded by
James Patrick Mahon