Mitchell Henry

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"Home Rule". Caricature by Spy published in Vanity Fair in 1879.
Mitchell Henry.jpg

Mitchell Henry (1826 – 22 November 1910) was an English financier, politician and Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He was MP for Galway County from 1871 to 1885, and for Glasgow Blackfriars and Hutchesontown from 1885 to 1886.

Mitchell Henry was the second son of Alexander Henry (1784–1862) of Woodlands, near Manchester, England, a very affluent cotton merchant, founder of A & S Henry & Co Ltd and Member of Parliament for South Lancashire from 1847 to 1852, who was married to Elizabeth, daughter of George Brush of Willowbrook, Killinchy, County Down, and a supporter of the Anti-Corn Law League. He was educated in London and at University College London where he read for a degree in medicine, eventually becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. He become a senior consultant at the Middlesex Hospital in London by the time he was 30.

After the death of his father in 1862 Mitchell Henry abandoned his career in medicine and returned to his native Manchester to run the family business. He soon became involved in politics and contested Woodstock for the Liberals in 1865, and stood in the 1867 Manchester by-election, and the 1868 general election, as a moderate Liberal, but was well-beaten in both contests. As part of his candidature in 1868 Henry started up the Manchester Evening News, though it passed out of his hands at the end of the election. He was particularly interested in the cause for a better health provision for the poor.

In 1852, he married Margaret Vaughan (d. 1875) of Quilly House, County Down. He built Kylemore Castle in Connemara Co. Galway between 1863 and 1868. He had nine children, five daughters and four sons. The youngest son Lorenzo Mitchell-Henry became an international pigeon shot and invented the Henrite shot-gun cartridge. He later became a record setting tunny fisherman.

In 1875 his wife Margaret died, aged fifty, of a fever contracted in Egypt. After this Mitchell did not spend so much time at Kylemore, although it was all kept going. However, he built a beautiful memorial church about a mile from the Castle on the shore of the lake, in which Margaret was finally laid to rest and where in due course he joined her. The church is a miniature replica of Bristol Cathedral, the inside being composed mainly of green Connemara marble.

In an 1871 by-election he was returned MP for Galway County, and supported Home Rule for Ireland. Having broken with the Irish Parliamentary Party in 1884, in 1885 he was elected Liberal MP for the Blackfriars Division of Glasgow, but defeat the following year when standing as a Liberal Unionist spelt the end of his parliamentary career.

He died in November 1910 at his home in Leamington in Warwickshire.

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hubert de Burgh-Canning
MP for County Galway
1871–1885
Succeeded by
John Philip Nolan
New constituency MP for Glasgow Blackfriars & Hutchesontown
1885–1886
Succeeded by
Andrew Dryburgh Provand