‘Honoured that you are writing my father’s biography’ the late Tony Benn, ‘...wonderfully written’ Hilary Benn

‘Sparkles with fascinating detail…a remarkable story of Liberal and Labour politics in the first half of the twentieth century.’ Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News

‘Casts much light both on the evolution of British radicalism, and on the legacy which he bequeathed to his son, Tony. Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King's College, London

‘Brilliant biography…wonderful reading about the father and...discovering more about the son.’ Steve Richards of The Independent

‘Well-written and carefully researched, this fascinating biography brings to life a major figure in British political history…an excellent job of weaving together the strands of a complex life…as well as filling in the background of the Benn family’ Richard Doherty, military historian

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Death of John Bright

I have just attended the funeral service for John Bright. You may be thinking that I am taking a long time to get round to this post, as John Bright died in 1889. However, although not the original campaigner against the Corn Laws and collaborator with Richard Cobden, this John Bright, my neighbour, was a direct descendant of the 'original'.

The John Bright, whose funeral it was today, had inherited much of his eponymous ancestor's wit, oratory and brilliance. He studied Law at Oxford, served in the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy in the War and later became a judge. He was also a stalwart local member of the Liberal Party during its darkest days, remaining involved in local politics by delivering Focus newsletters until quite an advanced age. He was 86 when he died and he will be sorely missed as a local character, friend and neighbour.

The statue of the 'original' John Bright in the Birmingham Museum and Gallery bears a striking resemblance to his younger namesake.

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