Christopher Furness, 1st Baron Furness

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For other people named Christopher Furness, see Christopher Furness (disambiguation).
Christopher Furness
"The Furness Line"
Furness as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, October 1908

Christopher Furness, 1st Baron Furness (23 April 1852 – 10 November 1912)[1] was a British businessman and Liberal Party politician.


Furness was born in West Hartlepool, Durham. He started his career as a buyer in Thomas Furness and Company, wholesale provision merchants, a firm owned by his older brother Thomas, and became a partner two years later. Stock for the business had to be brought in by ship, and Christopher found that it would be cheaper to use their own vessels, rather than hire other peoples. Consequently, on his initiative, the firm bought several steam ships from local shipbuilder William Gray & Company in 1877. In 1882 Christopher Furness and Company was formed and the business was split into two. Thomas kept the provision merchants, while Christopher took charge of the shipping fleet. After seven years as a partner in the shipbuilding firm of Edward Withy and Company, Furness merged it with his own company in 1891, to form Furness, Withy and Company. By a series of mergers, his firms become the main employers in Hartlepool, until they finally closed in the 1980s.

Furness was also involved in politics, and was elected Member of Parliament for The Hartlepools at a by-election in 1891.[2] He lost the seat in 1895, but was re-elected in 1900 general election, and served until his re-election in January 1910 was declared void after an electoral petition.[2] He was knighted in the 1895 Birthday Honours and in 1910 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Furness, of Grantley in the West Riding of the County of Yorkshire. Moreover, in 1909 he was made an Honorary Freeman of West Hartlepool.

In 1876 Furness married Jane Annette Suggit. They had one son, Marmaduke, born in 1883. Christopher Furness died on 10 November 1912, aged 60. He was succeeded in the barony by his son Marmaduke, who in 1918 was created Viscount Furness.


  1. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "H" (part 1)[self-published source][better source needed]
  2. ^ a b Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 119. ISBN 0-900178-27-2. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thomas Richardson
Member of Parliament for The Hartlepools
Succeeded by
Thomas Richardson (2)
Preceded by
Thomas Richardson (2)
Member of Parliament for The Hartlepools
Succeeded by
Stephen Furness
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Furness
Succeeded by
Marmaduke Furness