Jacob Bright

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Jacob Bright
"the Apostle to the Women". Caricature by Spy published in Vanity Fair in 1877.

Jacob Bright PC (26 May 1821 – 7 November 1899) was a British Liberal politician.

Life and career[edit]

Bright was born at Green Bank near Rochdale, Lancashire. He was the fourth of eleven children of Jacob Bright and Martha Wood. His father was a Quaker and had established a cotton-spinning business at Fieldhouse. His elder brother, John Bright, was a radical politician, and his sister, Priscilla Bright McLaren, campaigned for women's rights.[1][2]

Jacob Bright was educated at the Friends School in York before entering the family business of John Bright & Brothers, cotton-spinners.[2] Bright and his brother Thomas managed the firm, and by 1885 the business had expanded into carpet manufacture.[3] He was also responsible for introducing the linotype machine to England.[1]

Bright became involved in radical politics and supported Chartism.[1] He was the first mayor of Rochdale on the town's incorporation as a municipal borough.[2] He stood for election in 1865 in Manchester. Although unsuccessful on his first attempt, he won a by-election in 1867.[2] The election was notable because Lilly Maxwell voted for Bright. This vote by a woman was later overturned.[4]

Bright held his seat at the general election in 1868. He lost his seat at the 1874 general election, but was returned to parliament at the by-election in 1876.[2] When the three-seat Parliamentary Borough of Manchester was divided into eight single-seat constituencies in 1885, Bright was selected as the Liberal candidate for the new Manchester South West constituency. He was defeated in 1885, but successful in the general election in 1886.[2] As a member of parliament, Bright was considered an "advanced radical". He was a peace campaigner and supported women's suffrage.[2]

Bright remained as MP for South West Manchester until in 1895. Upon retirement, Bright was sworn into the privy council at the suggestion of Lord Rosebery.[2]

In 1855, Bright married Ursula Mellor, daughter of a Liverpool merchant. Ursula Mellor Bright was a campaigner for women's rights. They had three children.[1]

Jacob Bright died at midnight on 7/8 November 1899, aged 78, at his residence, "Nunn's Acre", Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.[2] He was cremated without a funeral service. The central committee of the Society for Women's Suffrage passed a resolution recognising his contribution to the movement.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Alan Ruston (2004). "Bright, Jacob (1821–1899)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Obituary, The Times, November 9, 1899, p.6
  3. ^ Biographies of Candidates, The Times, November 25, 1885, p.5
  4. ^ In Prise of ... Lily Maxwell, 19 March 2011, The Guardian, Retrieved 30 January 2016

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thomas Bazley
Edward James
Member of Parliament for Manchester
18671874
With: Thomas Bazley 1858–1880
Hugh Birley from 1868
Succeeded by
Thomas Bazley
Hugh Birley
William Romaine Callender
Preceded by
Thomas Bazley
William Romaine Callender
Hugh Birley
Member of Parliament for Manchester
18761885
With: Thomas Bazley to 1880
Hugh Birley to 1880
William Henry Houldsworth from 1880
John Slagg 1880–1885
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Lord Frederick Spencer Hamilton
Member of Parliament for Manchester South West
18861895
Succeeded by
William Johnson Galloway