George Tomline (politician)

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George Tomline (3 March 1813 – 25 August 1889), referred to as Colonel Tomline, was an English politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for various constituencies. He was the son of William Edward Tomline and grandson of George Pretyman Tomline.


Tomline was baptised on the 1 June 1813 at St. Margaret's, Westminster by his grandfather the Bishop of Lincoln.[1]

He was educated at Eton College, following which he made a Grand Tour in Europe mostly travelling in a gig.[2]

He succeeded to his father's estates, at Riby Grove, Lincolnshire, and Orwell Park, Suffolk, in 1836, and he also inherited through his mother, Frances (nee Amler or Ambler), Ford Hall near Shrewsbury, Shropshire.[3] He was Colonel of the Royal North Lincolnshire Militia.[4]

He was Member of Parliament for:[5]

In parliament he was well known as an advocate of bi-metallism in currency and for posting silver bars to successive Chancellors of the Exchequer, demanding the Royal Mint had a duty to convert them into coinage.[2][4]

In 1881 he unsuccessfully contested a by-election in North Lincolnshire as a Liberal.

He was High Sheriff of Lincolnshire for 1852.[6]

He was a keen amateur astronomer who built an observatory at Orwell Park.[7][8][9] He was founder and chairman of the Felixstowe Railway and Pier Company which built the Felixstowe Branch Line and established the Port of Felixstowe.[10] Tomline Road in Ipswich which runs parallel to the railway line is named after him.

Woking Crematorium in 2018

He died, unmarried, from a stroke after a long illness at his London home, Number 1 Carlton House Terrace on the 25 August 1889, aged 76.[11] After a funeral service at St Martin's in the Fields on 29 August, his body was cremated at Woking Crematorium and his ashes sent to London.[2]

His heir, to whom his estates devolved, was the Rt Hon. Captain Ernest George Pretyman MP, at various times Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Board of Trade, and Civil Lord of the Admiralty.[12]

Tomline Prize[edit]

In 1846, Tomline remembered his old school at Eton by founding the Tomline prize with a gift of £1000. The current formal deed held by the school dates from 1854. The prize was open to the whole school and the winner received £30 worth of books (which increased to £32 by the 20th century). (In approximately 2009, the prize was reorganised and by early 2015 took the form of the reward for an 8000 word essay on one of a number of set topics, open only to students of C Block. It is judged by four masters from the Maths Department and the winner receives £100. The notice for the prize states that the finished work should be accessible to a reader with a broad mathematical knowledge, but who may not be familiar with the details of the topic.[13][14]


  1. ^ "George Tomline baptism record".
  2. ^ a b c "The late Col. Tomline". Eddowes's Shrewsbury Journal. 4 September 1889. p. 5.
  3. ^ Not to be confused with Fordhall in same county but near Market Drayton.
  4. ^ a b Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society, Series 4, Volume XII (1929-30). Article Shrewsbury Members of Parliament by Henry T. Weyman.
  5. ^ Gooding (2003)
  6. ^ "No. 21287". The London Gazette. 3 February 1852. p. 289.
  7. ^ Goward (2006)
  8. ^ Whiting, Paul J. (2006). "The Work of John Isaac Plummer at Orwell Park Observatory in the Years 1874 to 1890". The Antiquarian Astronomer. Society for the History of Astronomy. 3: 95–100. Bibcode:2006AntAs...3...95W. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Colonel Tomline's Observatory". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Royal Astronomical Society. 50 (4): 211–212. 1890. Bibcode:1890MNRAS..50R.211.. doi:10.1093/mnras/50.4.183. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  10. ^ "History of the Port". Retrieved 4 May 2009.
  11. ^ "The late Col. Tomline. An Interesting Reminiscence". Eddowes's Shrewsbury Journal. 28 August 1889. p. 5.
  12. ^ Allen 2005, 98.
  13. ^ "Grants Prizes". Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  14. ^ "OASI: Tomline". Retrieved 9 April 2017.



  • Eddowes's Shrewsbury Journal, 28 August 1889
  • Lincolnshire Chronicle, 30 August 1889
  • Ipswich Journal, 30 August 1889
  • Shrewsbury Chronicle, 30 August 1889

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Joseph Bailey
Sir John Benn Walsh
Member of Parliament for Sudbury
With: Joseph Bailey
Succeeded by
Frederick Meynell Villiers
David Sombre
Preceded by
Robert Aglionby Slaney
Richard Jenkins
Member of Parliament for Shrewsbury
With: Benjamin Disraeli
Succeeded by
Robert Aglionby Slaney
Edward Holmes Baldock
Preceded by
Robert Aglionby Slaney
Edward Holmes Baldock
Member of Parliament for Shrewsbury
With: Edward Holmes Baldock to 1857
Robert Aglionby Slaney 1857–1862
Henry Robertson 1862–1865
William James Clement from 1865
Succeeded by
James Figgins
William James Clement
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John Fildes
Member of Parliament for Great Grimsby
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John Chapman
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Charles Anderson
High Sheriff of Lincolnshire
Succeeded by
Joseph Livesey