Thomas Attwood

For the English composer and organist, see Thomas Attwood (composer). For the English builder, architect and local politician in Bath, see Thomas Warr Attwood.
Thomas Attwood
Born (1783-10-06)6 October 1783
Halesowen, Shropshire, England
Died 6 March 1856(1856-03-06) (aged 72)
Great Malvern, Worcestershire, England
Occupation Banker, economist, political agitator, Member of Parliament
Relatives Daniel Wakefield (son-in-law)

Thomas Attwood (6 October 1783 6 March 1856)[1] was a British banker, economist, political campaigner and Member of Parliament. He was the leading figure of the underconsumptionist Birmingham School of economists, and, as the founder of the Birmingham Political Union, the leading figure in the public campaign for the Great Reform Act of 1832.

Life and career

Thomas Attwood was born in Halesowen, then a detached part of Shropshire, and attended Halesowen Grammar School (now Earls High School) before being moved to Wolverhampton Grammar School.

He founded the Birmingham Political Union in 1830. This was a political organization campaigning for cities, and large towns such as Birmingham, to be directly represented in Parliament. The Birmingham Political Union was foremost among groups lobbying the government for the passage of the Reform Bill to achieve this aim. After its success he became one of the first two Members of Parliament (MPs) for Birmingham (along with Joshua Scholefield) on 12 December 1832, a position he held until 1839.

He died in Malvern, Worcestershire.


Bronze statue in Chamberlain Square
Statue of Thomas Attwood in Highgate Park, Birmingham

A grade II listed statue of Thomas Attwood stood in Larches Green, Sparkbrook, Birmingham between 1974 and 2008, but is now in store. A 1993 bronze statue sits, having left his plinth, and scattered his bronze pages, on the steps of Chamberlain Square in Birmingham.

Attwood Street, a residential street in Halesowen, commemorates his achievements.

Attwood is also commemorated at Birmingham City University North Campus (Perry Barr.) The 'Attwood' Building hosts the courses involving education, such as Primary Education with Qualified Teaching Status, Early Childhood Education Studies and Integrated and Professional Childcare.

See also


  1. Behagg, Clive (2009), "Attwood, Thomas (1783–1856), politician and currency theorist", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Online ed.), Oxford University Press, retrieved 2012-01-21


Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Birmingham
With: Joshua Scholefield
Succeeded by
Joshua Scholefield and
George Frederick Muntz
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