Joseph King (politician)

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Joseph King

Joseph King (31 March 1860 – 25 August 1943), was a British Liberal Party politician who later joined the Labour Party.


He was the eldest son of Joseph King of Liverpool and his wife Phoebe (née Powell). He was educated at Uppingham School, Trinity College, Oxford, (where he was awarded a BA in 1883 and an MA in 1886)[1] Airedale College, Bradford, University of Giessen and University, Berlin. He married, in 1887, Maude Egerton. They had one daughter.[2] He was called to the bar at Inner Temple in 1889.[3] Maude died in 1927. He married, in 1928, Helena G. Martins.[4]

Political career[edit]

He was Liberal candidate for the New Forest Division of Hampshire at the 1892 General Election, coming second.

General Election January 1892[5] Electorate 10,126
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Hon. John Walter Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu 4,481 54.6 n/a
Liberal Joseph King 3,726 45.4 n/a
Turnout 8,207 81.0 n/a
Majority 755 9.2 n/a
Conservative hold Swing n/a

He did not contest the 1895 and 1900 General Elections. In 1904 he contested the Isle of Thanet by-election, 1904 as a Liberal Party candidate, coming second. At the 1906 General Election he was Liberal candidate again at Thanet, coming second. He was elected Liberal MP for North Somerset at the January 1910 General Election, holding a seat for the party that was gained from the Conservatives in 1906. He was re-elected in December 1910. Following the outbreak of World War 1, he joined the Union of Democratic Control a group of Liberal and Labour politicians who were critical of the secret diplomacy that they blamed for the cause of the conflict. He argued that Britain was obliged to protest at the German invasion of Belgium but not to go to Belgium's aid. He was a pacifist and opposed military conscription.[6] His constituency was abolished as part of the 1918 boundary changes.[7]

Ilford in Essex, showing boundaries used from 1918 to 1945.

In 1920 he contested the Ilford by-election, 1920 as a Labour Party candidate.

Ilford by-election, 1920[8] Electorate
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Coalition Conservative Fredric Wise 15,612 54.4 -12.4
Labour Joseph King 6,577 22.9 +3.4
Liberal John William Howard Thompson 6,515 22.7 +8.9
Majority 9,035 31.5
Turnout 28,704
Coalition Conservative hold Swing

At the 1923 General Election he was Labour candidate at York, coming second.[9]


King played a key role in the Peasant Arts movement in Haslemere, Surrey. A number of the items produced are in the Victoria and Albert Museum.


  • The School Manager (1903)
  • Electoral Reform: An Inquiry into our System of Parliamentary Representation, T. Fisher Unwin (1908)
  • Chapter 1. Houses, The Management of Private Affairs, King, Bigham, Gwyer, Cannan, Bridge & Latter, Claredon Press (1908)
  • Filius Nullius (Nobody's Child) (1913) A pamphlet
  • The Russian Revolution: The First Year, Pamphlet, Union of Democratic Control (1918)
  • Soviets and Soviet Government, How it Arose in Russia, How it Works There, How it has been Imitated Elsewhere, and the Chances of Success for Soviets in Other Countries, Pamphlet (1919)
  • Russia and her allies: An account of British policy towards Russia, and of the military intervention of the allies, against the Soviet government, with…now ranged against it, Pamphlet (1919)
  • The collapse of Germany (1923)
  • Peasant Arts (1927)
  • The German revolution, its meaning and menace, Williams and Norgate (1933)
  • Invasion today, Watts & Co. (1941)

External links[edit]

British Pathe has newsreel footage of King standing outside the Ilford election count.


  • MacDonald, George (1932). Reminiscenes of a Specialist. Allen & Unwin. 
  • Swanton, E. W. (1947). "10". A Country Museum. Haslemere: Educational Museum Haslemere. 
  • Trotter (2003). The Hilltop Writers. The Book Guild. 
  • Watercolours by Henry George Hine and other artists of the Hine family. London: Christie’s. 1988. 


  1. ^ Debrett's House of Commons and Judicial Bench, 1916
  2. ^ Who's Who;
  3. ^ Debrett's House of Commons and Judicial Bench, 1916
  4. ^ Who's Who;
  5. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885-1918 by Craig
  6. ^ The Downfall of the Liberal Party, Trevor Wilson
  7. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885-1918 by Craig
  8. ^ British parliamentary election results 1918-1949, Craig
  9. ^ British parliamentary election results 1918-1949, Craig