Thomas Watson (silk spinner)

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Thomas Watson (1821 – 7 March 1887), was an English silk spinner and Liberal Party politician.

Liberal Party (UK) political party of the United Kingdom, 1859–1988

The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade Peelites and Radicals favourable to the ideals of the American and French Revolutions in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and then won a landslide victory in the following year's general election.

Watson began life as a silk spinner. In 1846 with two fellow workers, he started a silk-spinning and hatter business in Rochdale. He was responsible for the invention of silk-plush for hat-making and became sole partner in the firm of Thomas Watson & Sons, silk-plush manufacturers of Rochdale. He funded a new infirmary for the town of Rochdale, became chairman of Rochdale School Board, and treasurer of the Free Church Denomination. He was also J.P. for Rochdale. [1]

Rochdale town in Greater Manchester, England

Rochdale is a town in Greater Manchester, England, at the foothills of the South Pennines on the River Roch, 5.3 miles (8.5 km) northwest of Oldham and 9.8 miles (15.8 km) northeast of Manchester. It is the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, which had a population of 211,699 in 2011.

In the 1885 general election, Watson was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ilkeston. He retained the seat in the 1886 general election, but died in 1887 at the age of 66.

1885 United Kingdom general election nationwide election to the House of Commons

The 1885 United Kingdom general election was held from 24 November to 18 December 1885. This was the first general election after an extension of the franchise and redistribution of seats. For the first time a majority of adult males could vote and most constituencies by law returned a single member to Parliament fulfilling one of the ideals of Chartism to provide direct single-member, single-electorate accountability. It saw the Liberals, led by William Ewart Gladstone, win the most seats, but not an overall majority. As the Irish Nationalists held the balance of power between them and the Conservatives who sat with an increasing number of allied Unionist MPs, this exacerbated divisions within the Liberals over Irish Home Rule and led to a Liberal split and another general election the following year.

Ilkeston (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom

Ilkeston is a former United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. It was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was represented by one Member of Parliament. In 1983 it was abolished, together with South East Derbyshire, when the Derbyshire county constituencies were redrawn - the constituencies of Amber Valley and Erewash were created and the constituency of South Derbyshire was re-created. The constituency of Bolsover was not abolished although it was created in 1950 together with South East Derbyshire.

1886 United Kingdom general election

The 1886 United Kingdom general election took place from 1 July to 27 July 1886. It resulted in a major reversal of the results of the 1885 election as the Conservatives, led by Lord Salisbury in an electoral pact with the breakaway Unionist wing of the Liberals led by Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain. The new Liberal Unionist party gave the Conservatives their parliamentary majority but did not join them in a formal coalition.

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
New title Member of Parliament for Ilkeston
Succeeded by
Sir Balthazar Foster