Holms was a partner in W. Holms Bros, spinners, of Glasgow.
He was elected Member of Parliament for Hackney in 1860, and served in the second Liberal administration of William Ewart Gladstone as a Junior Lord of the Treasury from 1880 to 1882 and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade from 1882 to 1885. When Hackney was divided into single-member constituencies in 1885 John stood for the Central division. He was defeated by his Conservative opponent by 193 votes. Just a few days later he was seriously injured in an accident on the London Underground and rendered an invalid for the remainder of his life.
He was also a Justice of the Peace for Lanarkshire, Middlesex and Westminster and a Deputy Lieutenant for Tower Hamlets. He was the author of military books including The British Army in 1875 and Our Military Difficulty.
Holms married Elizabeth Lyon, daughter of Edward Lyon of Kennington in 1856. He died in March 1891, aged 60.
- Works by or about John Holms at Internet Archive
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by John Holms
- Brief biography at portcullis.parliament.uk[permanent dead link]
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for Hackney
1868 – 1885
With: Sir Charles Reed 1868–74
Henry Fawcett 1874–84
James Stuart 1884–85
Sir James Dalrymple-Horn-Elphinstone, Bt
|Junior Lord of the Treasury
With: Sir Arthur Hayter, Bt 1880–82
Charles Cecil Cotes 1880–82
Herbert Gladstone 1881–82
Charles Cecil Cotes
|Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade
Baron Henry de Worms