William Rathbone V

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William Rathbone
Born 17 June 1787 (1787-06-17)
Died 1 February 1868 (1868-03) (aged 80)
Occupation Merchant, politician

William Rathbone V (17 June 1787 – 1 February 1868) was an English merchant and politician.


A member of the noted Rathbone family of Liverpool, he was the eldest son of William Rathbone IV and Hannah Mary (née Reynolds). He was a Liverpool merchant in partnership with Richard Rathbone, his brother.

He was elected a Liberal councillor for Liverpool in 1835 and Mayor of Liverpool in 1837, and fought for social reforms. He supported Kitty Wilkinson in establishing Liverpool public baths and wash-houses following the 1832 cholera epidemic, was an active supporter of the Municipal Reform Act 1835, was responsible for the distribution of New England Relief funds during the Irish famine of 1846-1847, and personally funded the first nurse training regime in the UK at Liverpool's Brownlow Hill infirmary from 1864.[1]

He died on 1 February 1868 at Greenbank House, with over 1000 mourners attending his funeral.


Rathbone married Elizabeth (1790–1882), daughter of Samuel Greg of Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire and Hannah (née Lightbody) in 1812. Their children included:

He was the great-grandfather of the actor Basil Rathbone.[4]


  1. ^ "Liverpool Workhouse Hospital". Liverpool Picturebook. Retrieved 21 March 2017. 
  2. ^ Kirby, M. W. "Rathbone, William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23160.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^  "Thom, John Hamilton". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  4. ^ The Rathbone Register by Dorcas Rathbone, indicating that William Rathbone's son, Philip Henry Rathbone, was Basil Rathbone's grandfather

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