Robert Pattinson (politician)

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Sir Robert Pattinson, JP, DL (19 February 1872 – 4 December 1954) was a British Liberal politician and businessman. Pattinson joined his family's railway contracting firm after finishing school and was quickly appointed to senior positions; in 1900, he became chairman of Ruskington Urban District Council and four years later joined Kesteven County Council, eventually becoming an alderman and serving as its chairman for 20 years between 1934 and his death in 1954. He chaired the Sleaford Liberal Association (1900–18) and was nominated as the party's representative for Sleaford shortly before World War I broke out, he contested Grantham unsuccessfully in 1918, but was returned for the seat in 1922, serving until he was defeated in the following year's general election. Several other unsuccessful attempts at a parliamentary career followed, he chaired several bodies responsible for maintaining Lincolnshire's waterways, served as a magistrate for Kesteven and Lindsey and sat as Lincolnshire's High Sheriff in 1941. Knighted in 1934, Pattinson died aged 82 in 1954 after several years of illness.


Born in 19 February 1872,[1] Robert Pattinson was the son of a contractor and businessman, William Pattinson, JP (d. 1906), and his wife Anne (1833–1916). His father ran the building company Messrs. Pattinson and Son alongside serving as chairman of Ruskington Urban District Council.[2][3][4] Robert's brother Samuel (d. 1924) was a Liberal Member of Parliament for Horncastle (1922–24), head of Messrs Pattinson and Co, Ltd, and a prominent member of Kesteven County Council.[5] His sister's husband Richard Winfrey was also a Liberal MP, for South West Norfolk from 1906–23 and Gainsborough from 1923–24.[6] Their eldest brother, John (d. 1939), was involved in the family business, supervising contracts in Liverpool and the south of England, before moving back to Lincolnshire; he represented Heckington and Sleaford on the County Council, became a justice of the peace and served as vice-chairman of the Sleaford Bench.[7]

Pattinson married Catherine Lucy Pratt (d. 1917), daughter of Henry Pratt of Lincoln in 1895. There were two sons and one daughter of the marriage: Henry Pattinson (died 1941), a captain in the Indian Army; William Pratt Pattinson, a solicitor and coroner for the Lincoln South District, who married Elaine Eva Higson Smith, daughter of Louis W. Smith, MP, of Lincoln; and Catherine Mary, who married, firstly, G. W. R. Russell, elder son of J. J. Russell, of Ballygasson House, High Sheriff of County Louth, and secondly, Wing Commander Colin Spencer Richardson, of Salisbury, son of Colonel Alan Richardson.[2][8][9]

Business career[edit]

After schooling at Carre's Grammar School and Abingdon School, Pattinson joined his father and uncle's railway contracting firm. Two years later, he oversaw a project to widen the Great Northern Railway between Finsbury Park and King's Cross, the partnership became Messrs W. Pattinson and Sons, Ltd., and Pattinson became a managing director, with responsibility for many of its large projects, and he also became a director in Messrs Pattinson and Co., Ltd, a company of merchants and shippers.[1]

Political career[edit]

Local government[edit]

Pattinson became chairman of the Ruskington Urban District Council in 1900. He was elected to Kesteven County Council in 1904, became an alderman in 1911 and served as its vice-chairman from 1923 until he was elected chairman in 1934,[2] the year he was knighted.[8] Pattinson served on the Lincolnshire County Committee for 50 years, and as chairman of the Witham and Steeping Rivers Catchment Board when it was formed in 1931; after World War II, he was appointed chairman of Lincolnshire River Board,[2][10] and was appointed to be one of the original members of the River Board Areas Consultative Committee and a member Central Transport Board for Great Britain, 1948–54.[11][12] Pattinson also served as the first chairman of the Lincolnshire Archives Committee,[13] as a Justice of the Peace (for Kesteven from 1900 and Lindsey from 1930), and Deputy Lieutenant for Lincolnshire.[2][14] He was appointed High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1941.[15]


In 1898, Pattinson became chairman of the Sleaford Division Liberal Association, serving until 1918,[2] he was first chosen as Liberal candidate for Sleaford division in 1914.[16] At the 1918 general election he unsuccessfully contested the Grantham division for the party,[17] he was elected for Grantham at the 1922 general election, defeating the sitting Conservative MP, Edmund Royds by a majority of 425 votes.[18] However, at the 1923 general election he was defeated by the new Conservative candidate Victor Warrender.[17]

Pattinson stood unsuccessfully for Lincoln at the general election in 1929;[2] in 1937 he was suggested as a possible National government candidate at the Holland with Boston by-election. As a well-known local man he was thought to be an acceptable candidate to both local Liberal and Conservative Associations; in fact he was reported to be the preferred candidate of the local Conservatives.[19] The by-election was caused by the death of the sitting MP, Sir James Blindell, he had captured the seat for the Liberals in a by-election in 1929 and had later joined the Liberal Nationals. In the end Herbert Butcher of Peterborough, Chairman of the East Midlands Liberal National Area Council was chosen as the National Government candidate.[20] Pattinson himself later formally joined the Liberal Nationals.[21]

Electoral record
General Election 1918: Grantham[22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Edmund Roydsa 9,972 48.4 -1.1
Liberal Robert Pattinson 8,701 42.2 -8.3
Independent Labour William Bilton Harris 1,927 9.4 n/a
Majority 1,271 6.2
Turnout 58.1
Unionist gain from Liberal Swing

a endorsed by Coalition Government

General Election 1922: Grantham[22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Robert Pattinson 11,723 41.4 -0.8
Unionist Edmund Royds 11,295 39.8 -8.6
Labour John Henry Jones 5,332 18.8 +9.4
Majority 428 1.6
Turnout 79.5 +21.4
Liberal gain from Unionist Swing +3.9
General Election 1923: Grantham[22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Sir Victor Alexander George Anthony Warrender 12,552 43.5 +3.7
Liberal Robert Pattinson 10,819 37.6 -3.8
Labour Montague William Moore 5,440 18.9 +0.1
Majority 1,733 5.9 7.5
Turnout 79.1 -0.4
Unionist gain from Liberal Swing +3.7
General Election 1929: Lincoln[22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Robert Arthur Taylor 15,176 43.6 +2.3
Unionist Benjamin Garnet Lampard-Vachell 11,978 34.3 -6.8
Liberal Robert Pattinson 7,719 22.1 +4.5
Majority 3,198 9.3 +9.1
Turnout 88.5 0.0
Labour hold Swing +4.5


Pattinson died at his home, The Fosse House, in Lincoln on 2 December 1954 at the age of 82 years.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Grantham Parliamentary Division: the Candidates", Grantham Journal, 7 December 1918, p. 4
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Sir Robert Pattinson dies at his home, aged 82", Grantham Journal, 10 December 1954, p. 7
  3. ^ "Death of Mr. Wm. Pattinson". Grantham Journal. 16 June 1906. p. 6. Retrieved 19 October 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  4. ^ "Lincolnshire Day by Day". Lincolnshire Echo. 3 July 1916. p. 4. Retrieved 19 October 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  5. ^ "Kesteven alderman's death", Grantham Journal, 20 November 1942, p. 7
  6. ^ "The late Sir Richard Winfrey", Bury Free Press, 22 April 1944, p. 3; "Lady Winfrey bereaved", Bury Free Press, 21 November 1942, p. 6.
  7. ^ "Sleaford J.P.'s death". Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph. 31 March 1939. p. 3. Retrieved 19 October 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  8. ^ a b c "Sir Robert Pattinson", The Times, 4 December 1954
  9. ^ For details of the children, see The Times (London), 29 December 1930, p. 13; The Times (London), 29 June 1925, p. 17; The Times (London), 8 April 1937, p. 19
  10. ^ The Times, 2 November 1944
  11. ^ The Times, 1 September 1948
  12. ^ The Commercial Motor, Vol 98; Temple Press, 1953 p634
  13. ^ The Lincolnshire Historian; Lincolnshire Local History Society, 1954 p45
  14. ^ Who was Who, OUP 2007
  15. ^ The London Gazette, 28 March 1941 (issue 35119), p. 1802
  16. ^ Grantham Journal, 21 March 1914
  17. ^ a b Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 415. ISBN 0-900178-06-X. 
  18. ^ The Times, 27 November 1923
  19. ^ The Times,31 May 1937
  20. ^ The Times, 22 May 1937
  21. ^ The Times, 23 June 1938, 10 December 1938
  22. ^ a b c d British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, FWS Craig

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edmund Royds
Member of Parliament for Grantham
Succeeded by
Victor Warrender
Other offices
Preceded by
Sir Charles Welby, 5th Baronet
Vice-Chairman of Kesteven County Council
1921 – 1934
Succeeded by
William King-Fane
Preceded by
Sir Charles Welby, 5th Baronet
Chairman of Kesteven County Council
1934 – 1954
Succeeded by
Frank Jenkinson
Preceded by
Arthur Hovenden Worth
High Sheriff of Lincolnshire
Succeeded by
Sir John Denton Marsden, 1st Baronet