Biography of Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry - Archontology
HomeNationsUnited KingdomHeads of GovernmentCampbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry

Henry Campbell-Bannerman

b. 7 Sep 1836, Kelvinside House, near Glasgow, Scotland
d. 22 Apr 1908, London

Title: Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury
Term: 5 Dec 1905 - 5 Apr 1908
Chronology: 5 Dec 1905, invited to form an Administration and accepted the offer to hold the post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, audience of the King, Buckingham Palace, London [1][2]
11 Dec 1905, took the oath of office as First Lord of the Treasury before the King in Council, Buckingham Palace, London [3]
5 Apr 1908, tendered resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury in a letter to the King received at Biarritz, France (accepted) [4]
Names/titles: Original name: Henry Campbell; his uncle's surname, Bannerman, was added to his surname in 1872 as required by the uncle's will, who left him a life interest in his estate, Hunton Court, Kent;
  Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (from 29 Jun 1895, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath) [5]
Born in the family of a Scottish businessman and politician Sir James Campbell, who served as Lord Provost of Glasgow (1840-1843); was educated at Glasgow High School (1845-1847); studied in the University of Glasgow (1851), and Trinity College, Cambridge (1854-1858), where he earned Third class degree in Classical Tripos; after his graduation, he joined the family firm, J. & W. Campbell & Co., warehousemen and drapers in Glasgow; was returned as Liberal MP at the General Election (MP, 1868-1908), representing Stirling Burghs; served as Financial Secretary at the War Office (1871 -1874, 1880-1882) and Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty (1882-1884); appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland (24 Oct 1884 - 30 Jun 1885); sworn in as a member of the UK Privy Council (29 Nov 1884); served as Secretary of State for War (6 Feb 1886 - 3 Aug 1886, 18 Aug 1892 - 29 Jun 1895) in the third and fourth governments of William Gladstone; continued in office after Gladstone's resignation in 1894 and was elected as Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Commons (6 Feb 1899 - 22 Apr 1908); after the resignation of Arthur James Balfour, he accepted the post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (5 Dec 1905 - 5 Apr 1908), forming a Liberal government; was the first Prime Minister appointed after formal recognition of the position and precedence of Prime Minister by a Warrant under His Majesty's Royal Sign Manual of 2 Dec 1905 (announced 4 Dec 1905, gazetted 5 Dec 1905) [6]; was in office during the 1906 General Election which resulted in landslide victory for the Liberal Party (Liberal 379, Unionist/Conservative 157, Irish Parliamentary Party 83, Labour 51); pursued a liberal agenda, denouncing British 'barbarism' in the conduct of the Boer war; gained self-government for the Transvaal (1906) and the Orange River Colony (1907); obtained approval of the Trade Disputes Act (1906), which gave labour unions considerable freedom to strike, and welcomed the first generation of Labour members; favoured local control of education and women's suffrage and sought to improve the physical environment of the poor especially in the growing cities; suffered heart attacks in June 1907 and in April 1908, when he had to resign (5 Apr 1908); died at 10 Downing Street, London, on 22 Apr 1908.
Biographical sources: "CB: A Life of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman", by John Wilson (London: Constable, 1973); The Times, No. 38,628, London, Thursday, April 23, 1908, p. 4 (obituary).

[1] The Times, No. 37,883, London, Wednesday, December 6, 1905, p. 9: "From the Court Circular. BUCKINGHAM PALACE, Dec. 5. His Majesty summoned the Right Hon. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, M.P., to an audience this morning, and invited him to form an Administration. The Right Hon. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman accepted his Majesty's Commission, and kissed hands upon his appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury."
[2] Appointment as Lord Commissioner of the Treasury by Letters Patent under the Great Seal is announced 22 Dec 1905 and gazetted 22 Dec 1905 (The London Gazette, No. 27866, Friday, December 22, 1905, p. 9171)
[3] The Times, No. 37,888, London, Tuesday, December 12, 1905, p. 9: "Court Circular. BUCKINGHAM PALACE, Dec. 11. <...> His Majesty held a second Council to-day at 3 30 o'clock. <...> The Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, then took the oath of Allegiance and Office."; Supplement to The London Gazette of Friday, the 8th of December, 1905, No. 27862, Monday, December 11, 1905, p. 8893.
[4] The Times, No. 38,613, London, Monday, April 6, 1908, p. 9: "From the Court Circular. BIARRITZ, April 5. His Majesty The King has received a letter from the Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, M.P., in which, on the urgent recommendation of his Medical Advisers, he tenders to His Majesty his resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury. The King has received Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's communication with much regret, and has graciously accepted his resignation."
[5] Bestowal of knighthood was announced by the War Office 29 Jun 1895 in The London Gazette, No. 26639, Tuesday, July 2, 1895, p. 3740, and The Times, No. 34,617, London, Monday, July 1, 1895, p. 6.
[6] The London Gazette, No. 27860, Tuesday, December 5, 1905, p. 8735.
Image: photograph, c. 1900.