Robert Cox (politician)

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grave of Robert Cox MP, Dean Cemetery

Robert Cox (6 May 1845 – 2 June 1899) was a Scottish gelatine and glue manufacturer and Liberal Unionist politician.

Family and education[edit]

Cox was the son of George Cox of Gorgie, a district of Edinburgh and his wife Isabella (née Craig), the daughter of Robert Craig, a surgeon from Peebles.[1] He was educated at Loretto School, St Andrews University and Edinburgh University.[2] In 1875 he married Harriet, the daughter of the eminent physician and physiologist Professor John Hughes Bennett of the Institute of Medicine at Edinburgh University.[3] They may have had a son, also Robert Cox, who died in 1952.[4]

Career[edit]

From 1874, Cox was the sole partner of J & G Cox, Ltd gelatine and glue manufacturers of Edinburgh.[5] He was later Chairman of the Madelvic Motor Carriage Company Ltd of Granton.[6]

Politics[edit]

Cox took an interest in local politics. At one time or another he sat as a member of the Mid Lothian County Council, Edinburgh Parish Council (of which he was Chairman of the Landward Committee), Edinburgh Town Council and the School Board.[7]

Cox first stood for Parliament at a by-election in the Kirkcaldy Burghs constituency on 11 March 1892.[8] Cox was selected as the Unionist candidate for the seat, which had become vacant on the death of the sitting Liberal MP, Sir George Campbell.[9] However Cox was unsuccessful, the seat being held for the Liberals by a majority of 1,036 votes,[10] by J H Dalziel, a journalist and later newspaper proprietor.[11]

Cox did not contest the 1892 general election but in June 1895 the Unionist Association of the East Edinburgh division approached him as a possible candidate.[12] The Liberal MP for the seat, Robert Wallace was reported to have fallen foul of his local Liberal Association on the issue of Irish Home Rule and they had selected a Mr J Martin White to fight the seat instead. It was thought possible that Wallace would stand as an independent and create a three-cornered contest.[13] In the end Wallace and the East Edinburgh Liberals must have mended their fences as Wallace stood again as a Liberal at the 1895 general election[14] and White successfully contested Fofarshire in the Liberal interest.[15]

Cox declined the offer to stand in Edinburgh East (or it was withdrawn) and instead was adopted as Liberal Unionist candidate for the Edinburgh South division. He narrowly defeated the sitting Liberal MP, Herbert Paul, turning a Liberal majority of 431 into a Unionist one of just 97.[16]

Other appointments and interests[edit]

Cox served as a Justice of the Peace for Mid Lothian and was sometime Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Edinburgh.[17] He also served as President of the Scottish Rights of Way Association.[18] Cox had a wide range of intellectual interests. He was particularly concerned with philosophy and astronomy. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts and Vice-President of the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution.[19] He employed William Peck to run a private observatory at Murrayfield and later donated his telescopes to the City Observatory on Calton Hill.[20] In 1899, Cox was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.[21] Cox was also a member of the Royal Company of Archers, the ceremonial unit that served as the Sovereign's Bodyguard in Scotland.[22]

Death[edit]

Cox was in poor health towards the end of his life. He died at Aix-les-Bains on 2 June 1899, aged 54.[23]

He is buried in Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh, in its north-east section not far from the entrance.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Times, 19 July 1895 p15
  2. ^ Who was Who; OUP, 2007
  3. ^ http://www.onc.ed.ac.uk/jhbl/history.htm
  4. ^ http://thepeerage.com/p12534.htm#i125337
  5. ^ The Times, 19 July 1895 p15
  6. ^ The Motor Car Journal, Volume 1, Cordingley & Co, 1899 p217
  7. ^ The Times, 19 July 1895 p15
  8. ^ F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1885–1918;Macmillan, 1974 p514
  9. ^ The Times, 27 February 1892 p12
  10. ^ F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1885–1918;Macmillan, 1974 p514
  11. ^ The Times, 27 February 1892 p12
  12. ^ The Times, 26 June 1895 p10
  13. ^ The Times, 26 June 1895 p10
  14. ^ F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1885–1918;Macmillan, 1974 p498
  15. ^ F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1885–1918;Macmillan, 1974 p541
  16. ^ F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1885–1918;Macmillan, 1974 p499
  17. ^ Who was Who; OUP, 2007
  18. ^ The Times, 13 December 1898 p7
  19. ^ The Times, 19 July 1895 p15
  20. ^ http://www.astronomyedinburgh.org/publications/booklet/
  21. ^ http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/adsdata/arch-352-1/dissemination/pdf/vol_034/34_001_003.pdf
  22. ^ The Times, 19 July 1895 p15
  23. ^ Annual register;J Dodsley, 1900 p154

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Herbert Paul
Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South
18951899
Succeeded by
Arthur Dewar