Lewis Fry

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The Right Honourable
Lewis Fry
Lewis Fry.jpg
Fry in 1895.
Member of Parliament
for Bristol North
In office
13 July 1895 – 25 September 1900
Preceded byCharles Townsend
Succeeded bySir Frederick Wills
In office
24 November 1885 – 28 June 1892
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byCharles Townsend
Member of Parliament
for Bristol
In office
16 December 1878 – 24 November 1885
Serving with Samuel Morley
Preceded byKirkman Hodgson
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born16 April 1832
Died10 September 1921(1921-09-10) (aged 89)
Political partyLiberal Party
Liberal Unionist Party
Elizabeth Pease Gibson
(m. 1858; died 1870)
ChildrenLewis George
Elizabeth Wyatt
Francis Gibson
Millicent Mary
Anna Theodora

Lewis Fry DL (16 April 1832 – 10 September 1921) was a Quaker, lawyer, philanthropist and a Liberal and later Liberal and Unionist politician who sat in the House of Commons in three spells between 1878 and 1900.

Early life[edit]

Fry was the son of Joseph Fry (1795–1879) and his wife Mary Anne Swaine (1797–1886)[1][2] and was a member of the Fry family known for their chocolate business.[3] He was articled to a Quaker Solicitor, Joseph Bevan Braithwaite, who had also trained his elder brother, Edward Fry.[4] He was admitted in 1854 and practiced in Bristol until he entered Parliament.[5]

Parliamentary service[edit]

Fry was Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for Bristol between 1878 and 1885, and a Liberal and Unionist for Bristol North between 1885–1892 and 1895–1900.[6]

He was sworn a member of the Privy Council after the accession of King Edward VII on 24 January 1901[7] and was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Gloucestershire shortly thereafter.[8]

He was Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Town Holdings, 1886–1892 and author of two reports of same.[9]

Other public service[edit]

Fry served on Bristol Town Council from 1866 to 1884 [5]

When School Boards were introduced, Lewis Fry was elected the first Chair of the Bristol School Board.[10] He drew up an influential scheme for religious education in elementary schools.[11]

He supported a number of Bristol public institutions: the School of Science and Art, the Museum and Library and the Evening Classes Association and the local branch of the Charities Organization Society.[5]

He was on the Council of Clifton College and was President of the High School for Girls.[5]

He served on the Council of the Law Society.[5]

He was also the president of the Anchor Society in Bristol in 1868.

Fry is considered to be an important figure in the creation and early development of the University of Bristol. He was the first chairman of the Council of the University of Bristol. An annual public lecture at the University is his memorial.[12]

One of his chief pleasures was his interest in art, and was himself an amateur painter.[5][13]

Marriage and family[edit]

On 29 September 1858, he married Elizabeth Pease Gibson, the only daughter of the banker Francis Gibson of Saffron Walden, Essex.[5] They had two sons and three daughters.[14] She died in 1870. Their children are:[15]

  • Lewis George (b.3 July 1860)
  • Elizabeth Wyatt (b.31 July 1861), married in 1902 to Eugene Hugo Mallett, youngest son of Sir Louis Mallet.[16]
  • Francis Gibson (b.25 May 1863)
  • Millicent Mary (b. 20 August 1866)
  • Anna Theodora (b.24 August 1870)


He lived at Goldney Hall in Clifton. It is now a Hall of Residence of the University. He died shortly after celebrating his 89th birthday.[17]

The Lewis Fry Memorial Lecture was established in 1924 by his surviving children. The endowment provides for an annual lecture to be given by a scholar of distinction on subjects connected with the Fine Arts, History, Literature, Music, Drama, Philosophy, Theology or Education.[18]


  1. ^ Debretts House of Commons and the Judicial Bench 1881, page 88
  2. ^ Ancestry.co.uk
  3. ^ The Biographical dictionary of British Quakers in commerce and industry, 1775-1920, by Edward H. Milligan, Sessions of York (2007) ISBN 978-1-85072-367-7. p.191: article on Joseph Fry (1795-1879).
  4. ^ The Times 18 November 1905 pg.9 Col B: Obituary of J.B. Braithwaite.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g The Times, 12 September 1921, pg.10, Col. A: "Death of Mr. Lewis Fry".
  6. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "B" (part 6)
  7. ^ "No. 27272". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 January 1901. p. 551.
  8. ^ "No. 27282". The London Gazette. 8 February 1901. p. 998.
  9. ^ L.Fry entry in Who was Who
  10. ^ The Times, Tuesday, 31 January 1871; pg. 4; Issue 26974; col C: "The Education Act". - Lewis Fry elected to the Bristol School Board.
  11. ^ DQB: 'Dictionary of Quaker Biography': Huge typescript resource at the Library of the Religious Society of Friends, Euston, London UK, known as "DQB".
  12. ^ http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cms/go/statutes/general/publiclectures.html

    Lewis Fry Memorial Lecture: This Lectureship was established in 1924 by the surviving children of the late The Right Hon. Lewis Fry, P.C., first Chairman of the University Council. The endowment provides for an annual lecture to be given by a scholar of distinction on subjects connected with the Fine Arts, History, Literature, Music, Drama, Philosophy, Theology or Education.

  13. ^ One of Lewis Fry's landscapes, at the Royal West of England Academy.
  14. ^ The Times, Friday, 6 July 1860; pg. 1; Issue 23665; col A: "Births": Son born 3 July 1860 and The Times, Wednesday, 31 Oct 1888; pg. 1; Issue 32531; col A: Eldest Son, Lewis George marries.
  15. ^ According to DQB
  16. ^ "Marriages". The Times. No. 36836. London. 2 August 1902. p. 1.
  17. ^ The Times, Tuesday, 13 September 1921; pg. 1; Issue 42824; col A "Deaths" and Monday, 12 September 1921; pg. 10; Issue 42823; col A: "Death Of Mr. Lewis Fry. A Veteran Bristolian" and Monday, 9 January 1922; pg. 13; Issue 42924; col F: "Wills and bequests".
  18. ^ University of Bristol information on Public Lectures: Lewis Fry Memorial Lecture.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Bristol
Served alongside: Samuel Morley
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Bristol North
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Bristol North
Succeeded by