William Hayes Fisher, 1st Baron Downham

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Downham
PC KStJ
William Hayes Fisher, 1st Baron Downham.jpg
President of the Local Government Board
In office
28 June 1917 – 4 November 1918
Monarch George V
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
David Lloyd George
Preceded by Walter Long
Succeeded by Auckland Geddes
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
4 November 1918 – 10 January 1919
Monarch George V
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by The Lord Beaverbrook
Succeeded by The Earl of Crawford
Minister of Information
In office
4 November 1918 – 10 January 1919
Monarch George V
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by The Lord Beaverbrook
Succeeded by Office abolished
Personal details
Born Template:Birth-date: 18 March 1853
Downham, Isle of Ely. Cambridgeshire
Died 2 July 1920 (1920-07-03)
Buckingham Palace Garden, London
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Florence Fisher (d. 1923)
Alma mater University College, Oxford

William Hayes Fisher, 1st Baron Downham PC, KStJ (1853 – 2 July 1920), was a British Conservative Party politician. He held office as President of the Local Government Board and Minister of Information in David Lloyd George's First World War coalition government.

Background and education[edit]

Born at Downham, (known now as 'Little Downham') in the Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire, Fisher was the son of Reverend Frederick Fisher, rector of that parish, and Mary, daughter of William Hayes. He was educated at Haileybury and University College, Oxford, and was called to the Bar, Inner Temple, in 1879.

Political career[edit]

"Fulham" – Fisher as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, May 1900

Fisher was elected to the House of Commons for Fulham in 1885, a seat he held until 1906.[1] He was private secretary Sir Michael Hicks Beach between 1886 and 1887 and to Arthur Balfour between 1887 and 1892 (who both served as Chief Secretary for Ireland at the time). In 1896 he was appointed a Junior Lord of the Treasury (government whip) in the Conservative administration of Lord Salisbury, a post he held until 1902, and then served under Arthur Balfour as Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1902 to 1903, when he resigned as a result of his connection with a financial syndicate.[2] He lost his Fulham seat at the 1906 general election but successfully reclaimed it at the January 1910 general election.[3] The following year he was sworn of the Privy Council.[4]

Fisher returned to the government as Parliamentary Secretary to the Local Government Board in May 1915 in the newly formed coalition government led by H. H. Asquith. He retained this post also when David Lloyd George became Prime Minister in December 1916, but in June 1917 he was promoted to President of the Local Government Board with a seat in the cabinet. In November 1918 he was made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister of Information, and a few days later he was raised to the peerage as Baron Downham, of Fulham in the County of London. However, he stepped down from the government already in January 1919. Apart from his career in national politics, Fisher was an Alderman of the London County Council between 1907 and 1913 and its Chairman in 1919.

Family[edit]

Lord Downham married Florence, daughter of H. Fisher, in 1895. They had one daughter. He died at Buckingham Palace Garden, London, in July 1920, when he the barony became extinct. Lady Downham died in August 1923.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Fulham
18851906
Succeeded by
Timothy Davies
Preceded by
Timothy Davies
Member of Parliament for Fulham
January 19101918
Constituency abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
Austen Chamberlain
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
1902–1903
Succeeded by
Hon. Arthur Elliot
Preceded by
Herbert Lewis
Parliamentary Secretary to the Local Government Board
1915–1917
Succeeded by
Stephen Walsh
Preceded by
Walter Long
President of the Local Government Board
1917–1918
Succeeded by
Auckland Geddes
Preceded by
The Lord Beaverbrook
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1918–1919
Succeeded by
The Earl of Crawford
Minister of Information
1918–1919
Office abolished
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Downham
1918–1921
Extinct