Arnold Lupton

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Arnold Lupton

Professor Arnold Lupton (11 September 1846 – 23 May 1930)[1][2] was a British Liberal Party Member of Parliament, academic, mining engineer and a managing director (collieries). He was jailed for pacifist activity during World War One.

Family background[edit]

Arnold was the son of Arthur Lupton (1817–1881)[3][4] and Elizabeth Wicksteed. Arnold's father, Arthur Lupton Junior, was a Unitarian minister.[5] Arthur Lupton Junior was the son of Arthur Lupton Senior (1782-1824) who had belonged to the prosperous mercantile, political and landowning Lupton family of Leeds. The family of Arthur Junior were living at Headingley in the 1840s, as were many of their relatives.[6] Arnold's mother was sister to the Rev Charles Wicksteed, who had arrived as minister to Mill Hill Chapel on Leeds City Square and had married Arthur's sister Jane. Both the Wicksteed siblings were described as "Unitarians of vigorous mind and keen intelligence".[7] Through Charles and Jane, Arnold had several first cousins of note: Janet, who wrote, as Mrs Lewis, a memoir including her parents; Philip, the economist and Unitarian theologian; Hartley, president of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers;[8] and Charles, also an engineer, who bequeathed Wicksteed Park to the people of Kettering.[9] He also had Lupton relatives making their marks in education, business, and politics.

Academia and business[edit]

Lupton was professor of mining at Leeds University until 1905.[10] Concurrent with both his academic and parliamentary career — i.e., from the late 19th century until the 1920s — Lupton was Managing Director of several U.K. mining companies/syndicates. In 1904, the press reported that his name was "largely identified with collieries in England" and beyond.[11] Between 1910 and 1916, Lupton was a business associate of George Monckton-Arundell, 7th Viscount Galway. Forming the Northern Union Mining Company Limited, Lupton leased land from the Viscount's coal-rich estates. Along with Galway and others, Lupton gained enormous financial benefits from this mining syndicate. During the war, Parliament passed a Trading with the Enemy Act - Lupton's business dealings with Germany, particularly the industrialist and politician Herr Stinnes, were leaked to the British press and caused great concern .[12][13]


Lupton was, according to C.A. Lupton's family history, "The Achilles of the Leeds Complete Suffrage Association"[14]- in other words, a tragic champion of the fight for universal suffrage; see Chartism and Henry Vincent for more on the CSA. Whilst an MP he had the opportunity to register his support for universal suffrage by voting for the 1908 Women's Enfranchisement Bill. However, he neither spoke nor voted in the debate.[15] He was a supporter of Free Trade and laissez-faire economics.

He was elected in 1906 as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Sleaford division of Lincolnshire, defeating the Conservative MP Henry Chaplin who had represented Sleaford and its predecessor seat since 1868.

His recorded parliamentary debates and international press reports highlight his often strained relationship with Prime Minister H. H. Asquith and opposition leader Arthur Balfour – over issues such as compulsory vaccination and conscription, the union of South Africa and Asquith's Land Tax policy (1912). As late as 1926, parliamentary records show Lupton agitating the then Minister of Health, Neville Chamberlain, to abolish compulsory vaccination.[16][17] A prolific writer, these issues were the impetus for much correspondence between Lupton and fellow Liberal MPs, including Winston Churchill, and campaigners such as Bertrand Russell.[18][19][20][21] Lupton's political views were not always appreciated, even by his fellow parliamentarians. In 1909, George V, (then Prince of Wales), was "in the gallery when Professor Arnold Lupton got to his feet to speak". Although the Prince remained to listen to Lupton's speech, the press reported that, "so great was the turmoil of men rushing to the lobby that it was impossible to hear what the member of Sleaford was saying".[22] Lupton was defeated at the January 1910 election by the Conservative Edmund Royds.

He did not contest the December 1910 General Election when Royds was returned unopposed. He was opposed to Britain's participation in World War One. During the war he received a prison sentence for activities considered prejudicial to recruiting.[23] This was reported in The New York Times as six months' imprisonment for printing and distributing pacifist leaflets.[24] Alongside Liberal Home Secretary, Herbert Gladstone, 1st Viscount Gladstone, Lupton was an associate of the Balkan Committee which had been founded in 1906 by Radical Liberal Cabinet Minister James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce.[25][26]

On 24 October 1917, a "secret and crime special notice" by the Omagh Royal Irish Constabulary was issued requesting that a "discreet watch be kept on Sir Arnold Lupton" as a result of Lupton's well known anti-conscription views.[27]

Lupton was a teetotaller and a supporter of the temperance movement, i.e. abolishing alcohol."[14]

After the war, Lupton decided to contest Plaistow at the 1918 General Election and presented himself to the electorate as a 'Liberal and Temperance' candidate.[28] His decision to stand here may have been influenced by the fact that his Labour opponent had been an out-spoken supporter of the War and a supporter of conscription, which had placed him at odds with his local party. However, Lupton failed to gain any backing from local organised labour or from the official Liberal Party and he was beaten heavily, winning only 5.1% of the votes.[29]

After the war, the coalition government was attacked from the right by politicians and newspaper proprietors advocating retrenchment policies and opposition to what they described as government waste. Lupton had some sympathy with this view. When the Westminster Abbey by-election occurred in 1921, he was selected as the Liberal Party candidate and was happy to present himself to the electorate as the 'Liberal and Anti-waste' candidate. However, both his opponents also sought to present themselves in this way.[30] The by-election featured no candidate prepared to support the Coalition government. Although finishing third, Lupton exceeded all expectations by polling 3,053 votes, comfortably the highest vote ever polled by a Liberal in either Westminster division.[31]

He did not stand for parliament again. Lupton was well-known on the international stage, regularly visiting the United States of America, India, Ireland, Australia and other countries as a lecturer on mining and a political campaigner. The New York Times reported in 1906 that this "celebrated parliamentarian" had plans to rid London of its famous smog.[32]

After Lupton's death in 1930, aged 83, the press reported the various requests of his will; a portion of his substantial estate was to be given to the National Liberal Club – at which, as a member, he had often given lectures[33]  – and a luncheon was to be given to his mourners.[34]


  1. ^ millbank, Hansard. "Hansard - Arnold Lupton MP". UK Gov. Retrieved 12 April 2015. Mr Arnold Lupton (b.)1846 - (d.) May 23, 1930
  2. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "S" (part 3)
  3. ^ "Arthur Lupton". Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  4. ^ Williams, Dr. C. "Paterson, Thomas Willis (1768–1812)". Dissenting Academies Online. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  5. ^ Lupton, C.A. , The Lupton Family in Leeds, Wm. Harrison and Son 1965, page 55
  6. ^ "British Association for the Advancement of Science". British Association for the Advancement of Science. 1843. Retrieved 28 March 2015. Annual Subscriber 1842 - Arthur Lupton, Junior, Headingley, Leeds
  7. ^ Charles Athelstane Lupton (1965). The Lupton Family in Leeds. Wm. Harrison & Son. p. 39.
  8. ^ "Presidents". Insititute of Mechanical Engineers. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  9. ^ "About Charles Wicksteed". Wicksteed Park. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  10. ^ Chesterton, Keith Gilbert (1 October 2001). "The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton, Volume 20". Ignatius Press. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  11. ^ Capricornian — Queensland, Australia, The. "Mammoth Coal Mines — June 11, 1904". Mammoth Coal Mines, Page 19. Trove. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  12. ^ "Papers of Monkton-Arundell family – Viscounts Galway of Sherlby Hall, Nottinghamshire; Early 13th century-1958". National Archives U.K. Retrieved 28 December 2013. Box File at National Archives U.K. – contains many letters / correspondence between A. Lupton and Lord Galway and others RE leasing of (Mining) estates, purchasing of (Mining) Shares etc. Also, mineral rents and royalties (Ga C 27/159-27/164); letters concerning the granting to Mr Lupton of an extension to his option (Ga C 27/165-27/168); "letters and telegrams concerning the lease of land, for sixty years, to Mr Lupton". Also, Mr Lupton's correspondence with the Northern Union Mining Company – letters RE – "Trading with the Enemy Act" et al.
  13. ^ "(Herr) Stinnes Loses in London – German Industrialist ordered to Live Up to Pre-War Contract with British Engineer" (PDF). The New York Times. 25 June 1922. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  14. ^ a b Charles Athelstane Lupton (1965). The Lupton Family in Leeds. Wm. Harrison & Son. p. 55.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Small PDX and vaccination -". HC Deb 26th December 1926, Vol 200 cc2580 -1W. UK Government. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  17. ^ "The Land Conference". Wanganui Chronicle. 9 October 1912. p. 5. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  18. ^ Turcon, Sheila (ed.). "Recent acquisitions: Russell's correspondence in the Dora Russell papers". Personal correspondence (Bertrand Russell Correspondence in the Dora Russell Papers) – between Professor Arnold Lupton and Bertrand Russell, 1922. McMaster University, Bertrand Russell Archives, 1989. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  19. ^ "Letters from Arnold Lupton (at Spring Rd. Headingley, Leeds) to Winston Churchill, April 1908". Cambridge, England: Churchill College Archives. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  20. ^ Cheers, R (21 August 1909). "A United South Africa – a Magnificent Experiment – Bill Through The Commons". Auckland Star. p. 5. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  21. ^ "Mr Arnold Lupton". Hansard. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  22. ^ Fraser Foster, John. "The Country's Danger – Impressive Scenes in the House of Commons". London Evening Standard 1909. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  23. ^ Trevor Wilson (21 July 2011). The Downfall of the Liberal Party, 1914-1935. Faber & Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-28022-3.
  24. ^ "English Pacifist Punished" (PDF). The New York Times. 17 February 1918. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  25. ^ Harvie, Christopher. "James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce". Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Pty. Ltd. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  26. ^ Hansen, Susan. "The Identification of Radicals in the British Parliament 1906–1914 – Some Attitudes to Foreign Policy" (PDF). Susan Hansen Pty. Ltd. pp. 27–28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  27. ^ RIC, Omagh. "Lot: 1387 - 1917 (24 October). Royal Irish Constabulary "SECRET & CRIME SPECIAL" notice to watch Sir Arnold Lupton, an anti-conscription campaigner, who was visiting Ireland". Omagh RIC - 24 October 1917. Retrieved 14 January 2015. Issued at Omagh RIC Barracks and circulated to substations in the area with officer's signatures. "If his whereabouts are discovered a discreet watch should be kept on him". Lupton was MP for Sleaford 1906-1910.
  28. ^ Coventry Evening Telegraph, 12 December 1918
  29. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 272. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  30. ^ "'Fetters and Roses' Dinner" (PDF). House of Commons Library, UK Government. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  31. ^ Ivor R. M. Davies (1950). Trial by Ballot. C. Johnson.
  32. ^ "Plans a Fogless London" (PDF). The New York Times. 27 August 1906. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  33. ^ Lupton, Arnold; Creighton, Charles (1906). "Vaccination and the state". Transactions (National Liberal Club Political and Economic Circle). London: P.S.King and Son (v. 5, pt. 13). Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  34. ^ "Lunch for Mourners – Direction in a Will". The Mercury. Tasmania, Australia. 24 April 1931. p. 2. Retrieved 14 January 2013.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Henry Chaplin
Member of Parliament for Sleaford
1906 – Jan. 1910
Succeeded by
Edmund Royds