Thomas Henry Lister

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Thomas Lister
BornThomas Henry Lister
1800 (1800)
DiedJune 1842 (aged 41–42)
OccupationRegistrar General
Notable works
  • Granby (1826)
  • Herbert Lacy (1828)
  • Arlington (1832)
  • Life of Clarendon (1838)
  • Thomas Villiers Lister (b. 1832)
  • Maria Theresa Villiers Lister
  • Alice Beatrice Lister
  • Thomas Lister (father)
  • Harriet Anne Seale (mother)
  • Adelaide Lister (half-sister)

Thomas Henry Lister (1800 – 5 June 1842) was an English novelist and Registrar General. He was an early exponent of the silver fork novel genre and also presaged "futuristic" writing in one of his stories.

Life and writings[edit]

Lister was the son of Thomas Lister of Armitage Park, Staffordshire, and his first wife Harriet Anne Seale. His maternal grandfather was John Seale. His paternal half-sister Adelaide Lister was first married to their second cousin, Thomas Lister, 2nd Baron Ribblesdale, and secondly to John Russell, 1st Earl Russell. Lister was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1]

His several novels include Granby (1826), Herbert Lacy (1828), and Arlington (1832). Granby is an early example of the silver fork novel, and was favourably reviewed by Sydney Smith in the Edinburgh Review.[2] He was also the author of a Life of Clarendon. In 1830, he published a story entitled "A Dialogue for the Year 2130", which might be described as an early example of science fiction or "futuristic" writing, of the kind later popularized by Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. Published in The Keepsake, a literary annual, the story looks forward to a world in which gentlemen go hunting on machines and shoot horses, while a certain Lady D. owns a troublesome automatic letter-writer and is served by a "steam-porter" which opens doors.

In 1836 he was appointed as the first Registrar General for England and Wales, to head a new General Register Office. He set up the system of civil registration of births, deaths and marriages, and organization of the 1841 UK Census. He died of tuberculosis in 1842, while living at Adelphi Terrace, London.[3]

Personal life[edit]

On 6 November 1830, Lister married Lady Maria Theresa Villiers,[4] daughter of George Villiers[5] and Theresa Parker,[6] both of noble families. They had three children:


  1. ^ "Lister, Thomas Henry (LSTR819TH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ Hawes, Donald (2004). "Lister, Thomas Henry (1800–1842)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/16768. ISBN 9780198614128.  (subscription may be required or content may be available in libraries)
  3. ^ "The Registrars General 1836-1945: Thomas Henry Lister, 1st Registrar General 1836-1842" (PDF). Office for National Statistics. 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 March 2005. Retrieved 26 October 2005.
  4. ^ "Lady Maria Theresa Villiers". The Peerage. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Hon. George Villiers". The Peerage. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Hon. Theresa Parker". The Peerage. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Sir Thomas Villiers Lister". Find a Grave. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Sir Thomas Villiers Lister". The Peerage. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Maria Theresa Lister". The Peerage. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Alice Beatrice Lister". The Peerage. Retrieved 11 August 2018.

External links[edit]