William Wills, 1st Baron Winterstoke
William Henry Wills, 1st Baron Winterstoke (1 September 1830 – 29 January 1911), known as Sir William Wills, Bt., between 1893 and 1906, was a British businessman, philanthropist and Liberal politician.
Wills was the son of William Day Wills and a cousin of Sir Edward Payson Wills Bt, Sir Frederick Wills Bt, Sir Frank William Wills Kt, and Henry Overton Wills III, first chancellor of the University of Bristol.
A member of the wealthy Bristol tobacco importing Wills family, Wills joined the family firm at an early age. In 1858 he went into partnership with two of his cousins to form W. D. & H. O. Wills, which later became the Imperial Tobacco Company, of which he became the first chairman. Recognised as the head of the tobacco industry in Britain, he was also Chairman of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce. In 1904 he presented the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery to the people of Bristol.
Wills was a member of the Bristol City Council from 1862 to 1880 and sheriff of the City from 1877 to 1878. He also sat as Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for two separate five-year periods: for Coventry from 1880 to 1885, and for Bristol East from 1895 to 1900. He served as High Sheriff of Somerset in 1905.
He was made a Baronet, of Coombe Lodge in the Parish of Blagdon in the County of Somerset, in 1893 and raised to the peerage as Baron Winterstoke, of Blagdon in the County of Somerset, in 1906. He took his title from the ancient hundred of Winterstoke, in which his home at Blagdon lay.
Wills was educated at Mill Hill School, before joining the family tobacco business.
Lord Winterstoke was a keen supporter of the arts, serving as President of what is now the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) from 1898 until his death in 1911 and donating the money to create Bristol City Art Gallery, whose facade bears the inscription "The Gift of Sir William Henry Wills to his Fellow Citizens 1904".
He died without heirs in January 1911, aged 80, when the baronetcy and barony became extinct. His estate was worth £2,548,209, which is about £250 million taking into account inflation. A portrait of Lord Winterstoke hangs in the JCR of Mansfield College, Oxford.
- Craig, F. W. S. (1989) . British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.
- "No. 27777". The London Gazette. 21 March 1905. p. 2179.
- "No. 26432". The London Gazette. 15 August 1893. p. 4641.
- "No. 27883". The London Gazette. 6 February 1906. p. 869.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Henry Mather Jackson
| Member of Parliament for Coventry
With: Sir Henry Mather Jackson 1880–1881
Henry Eaton 1881–1885
Sir Joseph Dodge Weston
| Member of Parliament for Bristol East
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation|| Baron Winterstoke