William Lowther (diplomat)

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Lowther as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, October 1881

William Lowther (14 December 1821 – 23 January 1912) was a British diplomat and Conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1868 to 1892.

Lowther was the second son of the Hon. Henry Lowther and his wife Lady Lucy Eleanor, daughter of Philip Sherard, 5th Earl of Harborough. He was educated privately and at Magdalene College, Cambridge.[1]

Lowther entered the diplomatic service, and was an unpaid Attache to the British embassy in Berlin from 1841 to 1846 and then a paid Attache at the Berlin Embassy from 1846 to 1852. He was Secretary of the Legation at Naples from 1852 to 1858, at St Petersburg from 1858 to 1859 and at Berlin from 1859 to 1861. He was Secretary of the Embassy at Berlin from 1861 to 1867 and finally Minister to Argentina at Buenos Aires from 1857 to 1868.[2]

After his return from Argentina, Lowther decided to build a new house in London. He bought land in Kensington, and there erected Lowther Lodge, an exemplar of Queen Anne Style architecture. The cost was partly defrayed by a bequest from his uncle William Lowther, 2nd Earl of Lonsdale, who died in 1872. He and his wife lived there until his death in 1912. He was a J.P. and a Deputy Lieutenant for Westmoreland and Cumberland and a J.P. for Bedfordshire and Suffolk. He was a director of the London and North Western Railway.[2]

At the 1868 general election Lowther was elected Member of Parliament for Westmorland. He held the seat until 1885 when it was divided under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885.[3] He was then elected MP for Appleby. He held the seat until 1892.[4]

Lowther married (Charlotte) Alice Parke (d. 1908), daughter of James Parke, 1st Baron Wensleydale on 17 December 1853. They had seven children including James William Lowther, 1st Viscount Ullswater (1855–1949), Sir Gerard Augustus Lowther, 1st Baronet (1858–1916) and Sir Henry Cecil Lowther (1869–1940).[5] Lowther was the younger brother of Henry Lowther, 3rd Earl of Lonsdale. Lowther and his wife lived at Lowther Lodge until his death in 1912. Their son Lord Ullswater sold it to the Royal Geographical Society shortly thereafter.[6]


  1. ^ "Lowther, William (LWTR839W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ a b Debretts House of Commons and the Judicial Bench 1886
  3. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "W" (part 3)
  4. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "A" (part 2)
  5. ^ "ThePeerage.com". Retrieved 2007-01-11. 
  6. ^ Walker, Lynne (July 1980). "The Royal Geographical Society's House: an Architectural History". The Geographical Journal. Blackwell Publishing. 146 (2): 178–189. doi:10.2307/632859. JSTOR 632859. 

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Henry Cecil Lowther
Earl of Bective
Member of Parliament for Westmorland
With: Earl of Bective 1868–1870
Earl of Bective 1871–1885
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Appleby
Succeeded by
Sir Joseph Savory, Bt