Charles Starmer

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Charles Starmer

Sir Charles Walter Starmer (12 July 1870 – 27 June 1933) was a British newspaper proprietor and Liberal politician.


Charles Starmer was born in Haltham, near Horncastle in Lincolnshire but while he was still a child he moved with his family to the Cleveland area of the North Riding of Yorkshire.[1] In 1893 he married Ada Cornforth and they had a daughter. Ada Starmer died in 1923 after a long illness[2] and Starmer was married again in October 1929 to Mary Cecilia Willink, the daughter of John Wakefield Willink, Dean of Norwich.[3] Lady Starmer was awarded the OBE in 1948 and served as a Justice of the Peace surviving him until 1979.[4]


Starmer was a career journalist and went on to become one of the biggest newspaper proprietors of his day. He joined the commercial staff of The Northern Echo in West Hartlepool in 1899[1] working his way up to be its manager by 1908.[5] Later he took over control of the Sheffield Independent, Birmingham Gazette, and other papers. As managing director of the Birmingham Gazette Ltd, the North of England Newspaper Co. Ltd, the Bradford and District Newspaper Co. Ltd and the Nottingham Journal, Ltd, he eventually controlled the publication of 30 provincial daily and weekly newspapers. At his death he was owner of the Westminster Press Group, also known as the Starmer Group. The company included the liberal newspaper the Westminster Gazette which had merged with the Daily News in 1928.[6] He was a patron of the London School of Journalism[7]


Starmer was knighted for his public services in 1917. His newspaper businesses, political service and interests in labour questions and the condition of the north east of England, were all mentioned in the context of his knighthood.[8]


Starmer was first elected a member of the Darlington Town Council in 1903, becoming an Alderman in 1915. He was Mayor of Darlington in 1907–08 and again in 1933.[5] Starmer fought his first Parliamentary contest at the 1918 general election. He stood as an independent Asquithian Liberal in the Sedgefield constituency in County Durham.[9] He was selected to fight Darlington as an Independent Liberal for the 1922 general election[10] but did not put up as a candidate in the event transferring instead to the Cleveland Division of the North Riding of Yorkshire coming second to the sitting Conservative MP, Sir Park Goff in a three-cornered contest with Labour. Then, at the 1923 general election he stood again in Cleveland and this time was elected Liberal Member of Parliament defeating Goff by a majority of 1,471 votes again a three-cornered contest. However, in the Tory revival of 1924 Starmer was unable to hold on, this time falling to third place in another three-cornered fight. He fought the seat again at the 1929 general election but again came third, albeit in a tight three-way contest.[11] He did not fight another Parliamentary election being too unwell to stand in 1931[12]

Starmer was a Member of the Executive Committee of the National Liberal Federation from 1928 until his death.[13] He also served as a Justice of the Peace.[5]


He died on 27 June 1933 aged 62 years[14] at his London home in Tufton Street, Westminster.[13]


  1. ^ a b The Times, 29 June 1933 p19
  2. ^ The Times, 12 July 1933 p15
  3. ^ The Times, 1 October 1929 p19
  4. ^ The Times, 3 January 1980 p12
  5. ^ a b c Who was Who, OUP 2007
  6. ^ Viscount Camrose, British Newspapers and Their Controllers; Cassell & Co., July 1947 Chapter 19 p94ff
  7. ^ The Times, 3 March 1920 p12
  8. ^ The Times, 4 June 1917 p9
  9. ^ The Times, House of Commons 1919; Politico’s Publishing 2004 p51
  10. ^ The Times, 21 October 1922 p12
  11. ^ F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1918–1949; Political Reference Publications, Glasgow 1949 p507
  12. ^ The Times, 12 October 1931 p18
  13. ^ a b The Times, 21 July 1933 p13
  14. ^

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Park Goff
Member of Parliament for Cleveland
Succeeded by
Sir Park Goff