John Lonsdale, 1st Baron Armaghdale

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John Brownlee Lonsdale, 1st Baron Armaghdale (23 March 1850 – 8 June 1924), known as Sir John Lonsdale, Bt, between 1911 and 1918, was a British businessman and Conservative politician.

Early life[edit]

Born at The Pavilion, in the cathedral city of Armagh, Lonsdale was the son of James Lonsdale DL, JP (1826–1913) and Jane Brownlee, and was educated privately. He was a partner in the family firm of J. and J. Lonsdale & Company.

Business and political career[edit]

Lonsdale was a director of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank and of the North of England Debenture Company, chairman of Levenstein Ltd and vice-chairman of the Manchester Ship Canal Warehousing Company. In 1895 he was appointed High Sheriff of Armagh, succeeding William Maynard Sinton.[1] He was elected a Member of Parliament for Mid-Armagh in a by-election in February 1900,[2] and sat until 1918. During his time in parliament, he acted as a whip for the Irish Unionist Party in the House of Commons for 15 years, and was a strong opponent of Home Rule. He was created a baronet, of Prince's Gardens in the Royal Borough of Kensington and of The Pavilion in the City and County of Armagh, on 7 July 1911,[3] and raised to the peerage as Baron Armaghdale, of Armagh in the County of Armagh, on 17 January 1918.[4] Between 1920 and 1924 he was Lord Lieutenant of Armagh.

Personal life[edit]

Lord Armaghdale married Florence Rumney, of Stubbins House, Lancashire. They had no children. The Armaghdales lived in England at The Dunes, Sandwich Bay, and kept a London house at Prince's Gardens, SW7. A keen golfer, Lord Armaghdale presented the Lonsdale Cup to the County Armagh Golf Club.[5] He died in January 1924, aged 74, when the baronetcy and barony became extinct. Lady Armaghdale died in London in 1937.

Memorial in steam[edit]

The Lady Armaghdale is the name of a steam locomotive on public display in the Engine House at Highley in Shropshire on the Severn Valley Railway. This is not the first steam engine to carry this name. The first was purchased by Levenstein Ltd in 1920 from the manufacturer Hawthorne Leslie and located at the Blakely dyestuffs works in Manchester. In those days it was common to name steam locomotives serving industry and this one was named after the Chairman’s wife. The locomotive remained in use at the Brakley works until early in 1963 when there was an accident and it could not be repaired.

At that time the nearby Manchester Ship Canal Railway was taking steam locomotives out of service and the company (then ICI) purchased a replacement from the Ship Canal. Although this replacement was 22 years older (Hunslet Engine Co 1898) it had recently been refurbished. The replacement locomotive was repainted in a vivid cherry red and the Lady Armaghdale nameplates were fixed to the water tanks. It was used until 1968 when rail traffic was transferred to road. The locomotive was sold to the Warwickshire Industrial Locomotive Preservation Group who transferred it to the Severn Valley Railway.


  1. ^ Whitaker's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage. J. Whitaker & Sons. 1918. p. 547. 
  2. ^ "No. 27165". The London Gazette. 16 February 1900. p. 1076. 
  3. ^ "No. 28566". The London Gazette. 29 December 1911. p. 9826. 
  4. ^ "No. 30494". The London Gazette. 25 January 1918. p. 1228. 
  5. ^ County Armagh Golf Club


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Dunbar Plunket Barton
Member of Parliament for Mid Armagh
Succeeded by
James Rolston Lonsdale
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl of Gosford
Lord Lieutenant of Armagh
Succeeded by
Henry Armstrong
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Prince's Gardens and The Pavilion)
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Armaghdale