WINTERBOTHAM Henry Selfe Page (1837-1873)
Posted by on January 01 1970 00:00:43
MP for Stroud 1867-1873
Henry Winterbotham was born in Stroud on 2 March 1837 the second son of Sarah and Lindsey Winterbotham and after attending University College, London became a Barrister being called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn.
His father was a banker and in 1851 the family lived at Bank House in the High Street, Stroud. William and his elder brother, Edward, are shown in the 1851census as having a governess.
His paternal grandfather William Winterbotham (1763-1829) was a Baptist Minister and political prisoner who after being prosecuted for sedition in a sermon at Plymouth eventually became minister of the baptist chapel at Shortwood, Nailsworth.
Henry Winterbotham was elected as MP for Stroud at a poll held on 20 August 1867. The election was caused by the Mr Poulett Scrope applying for the Chiltern Hundreds, the procedural device by which members resign from the House of Commons. The same morning an address was issued to the electors by HGenry Winterbotham who according to the Times had "been before the constituency for the last six months and who was accepted by a large meeting of the Liberal Party hel in January last". His opponant was John Dorington who though supported by the Conservative Party stood for a new party known as the Constitutionalist Party which was a coalition of conservatives and whigs. This is perhaps because some elements of the Liberal Party were not happy with Winterbotham as a radical candidate.
Winterbotham formed part of the radical wing of the Liberal Party and sat below the gangway (on the bench now occupied by Labour's left wingers including Dennis Skinner) in the company of the radicals including Sir Charles Dilke - later MP for the Forest of Dean. During the Franco-Prussian War Dilke and Winterbotham assisgned themselves to the Prussian ambulance corps.
During the controversy of the Education Act 1870 he campaigned for compulsory provision of schools and compulsory attendance at school by pupils. He objected to schools being provided on a denominational basis.
Winterbotham was one of the leading non-conformists in the House and was regarded as one of the up and coming leaders. He joined the Government as a junior minister in the Home Office in 1871.
He fell ill in 1873 after addressing a meeting in Bristol. This is assumed to to be the meeting of the Bristol Operatives Liberal Association held in the Colston Hall on 28 October 1873. He had never been in good health and it is believed that his work as a Minister caused his early death. He went to Italy for the benefit of his health and died outside Rome on 13 December 1873.
He died unmarried.