James Lowther, 1st Viscount Ullswater

The Right Honourable
The Viscount Ullswater
Speaker of the House of Commons
In office
Monarch Edward VII
George V
Preceded by Sir William Gully
Succeeded by J. H. Whitley
Personal details
Born 1 April 1855 (1855-04)
Died 27 March 1949(1949-03-27) (aged 93)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Mary Beresford-Hope (d. 1944)
Alma mater King's College London
Trinity College, Cambridge

James William Lowther, 1st Viscount Ullswater GCB PC JP DL (1 April 1855 27 March 1949) was a British Conservative politician. He served as Speaker of the House of Commons between 1905 and 1921.

Background and education

The son of Hon. William Lowther, a grandson of William Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale and for 25 years Member of Parliament for Westmorland, and Alice, 3rd daughter of James Parke, 1st Baron Wensleydale, Lowther was educated at Eton College, King's College London where he took an Associateship degree, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied classics and law.[1] Lowther became a barrister in 1879, eventually becoming a Bencher of the Inner Temple in 1906.

Political career

He was Member of Parliament for Rutland in 1883; contested Mid Cumberland in 1885; and sat for Penrith from 18861921. He was appointed 4th Charity Commissioner in 1887, and held junior ministerial office as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 18911892. He was Chairman of Ways and Means and Deputy Speaker from 18951905 and Speaker of the House of Commons from 19051921.

There are three golden rules for Parliamentary speakers: Stand up. Speak up. Shut up.
J. W. Lowther, 1917

Other public appointments

Lowther caricatured by Spy for Vanity Fair, 1906

Lowther represented Great Britain at the International Conference at Venice in 1892, and at the International Conference on Emigration at Rome in 1924. He was Chairman of the Speakers' Electoral Reform Conference in 19161917, of the Buckingham Palace Conference (on the partition of Ulster) in 1914, of the Boundary Commissions (Great Britain and Ireland) in 1917, of the Royal Commission on Proportional Representation in 1918, Devolution Conference in 1919, of the Royal Commission on London Government, 19211922; of Review Committee Political Honours, 19231924, and Statutory Commission on Cambridge University, 1923; of the Agricultural Wages Board from 19301940; of the Lords and Commons Committee on Electoral Reform, 19291930; and of BBC Enquiry Committee, 1935. He was a Trustee of the British Museum from 19221931 and a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery from 1925. In 1907 his portrait was painted by Philip de Laszlo.


He was appointed to the Privy Council in 1898, created 1st Viscount Ullswater, of Campsea Ashe, in the County of Suffolk, on his retirement as Speaker in 1921,[2] and appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) in July 1921.[3] He also held the degrees of DCL from the University of Oxford, LL.D from the University of Cambridge and DCL from the University of Leeds.

Styles of address


On 1 March 1886, Lowther married Mary Frances Beresford-Hope (d. 16 May 1944). They had three children:[4]


  1. "Lowther, James William (LWTR874JW)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 32413. p. 6166. 5 August 1921.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 32394. p. 5724. 19 July 1921.
  4. "thePeerage.com". Retrieved 2015-01-21.
  5. England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915
Wikimedia Commons has media related to James Lowther, 1st Viscount Ullswater.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hon. Gerard Noel
George Finch
Member of Parliament for Rutland
With: George Finch
Succeeded by
George Finch
Preceded by
Henry Howard
Member of Parliament for Penrith
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Penrith and Cockermouth
Succeeded by
Sir Cecil Lowther
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir James Fergusson, Bt
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Grey, Bt
Preceded by
John William Mellor
Chairman of Ways and Means
Succeeded by
John Grant Lawson
Preceded by
William Gully
Speaker of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
John Henry Whitley
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Marquess of Crewe
Senior Privy Counsellor
Succeeded by
Winston Churchill
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Ullswater
Succeeded by
Nicholas Lowther
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