Charles Roberts (British politician)

Charles Henry Roberts (22 August 1865 – 25 June 1959) was a British radical Liberal politician.[1]


Roberts was the son of Reverend Albert James Roberts, Vicar of Tidebrook, Sussex and Ellen Wace of Wadhurst, Sussex and was educated at Marlborough College and Balliol College, Oxford.[2]

He was a fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, where he taught from 1889 to 1895.

Political career

He was the unsuccessful Liberal candidate for Wednesbury in the 1895 general election and for Lincoln in 1900. He was elected to Parliament for Lincoln in the 1906 general election and reelected in both elections in 1910.

He served under H. H. Asquith as Under-Secretary of State for India 1914 to 1915. He was then made both Comptroller of the Household and Chairman of the National Health Insurance Joint Committee from 1915 to 1916.

He lost his seat in 1918 when the Coalition Government gave endorsement to his Unionist opponent, but returned briefly to the House of Commons in 1922 when he was elected for Derby. However, he lost this seat in the 1923 general election and retired from national politics.

He afterwards committed himself to work creation schemes in Cumberland, reopening collieries and starting brickworks, limeworks and quarries. He also became involved in farming. From 1938–58 he was chairman of Cumberland County Council and the Cumberland branch of the National Farmers' Union. He also chaired the Aborigines' Protection Society. He was Chairman of the Cumberland War Agricultural Committee, 1939–47. He served as a Justice of the Peace in Cumberland from 1900 to 1950 and was Deputy Chairman of Cumberland Quarter Sessions until 1950.[2]

Election results

General election 1900 Lincoln[3] Electorate 8,846
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Unionist Charles Seely 4,002 50.4
Liberal Charles Roberts 3,935 49.6
Majority 67 0.8
Conservative hold Swing
General election 1906 Lincoln[3] Electorate 10,645
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Charles Roberts 5,110 51.2 +1.6
Liberal Unionist Charles Seely 3,718 37.2 -3.2
Conservative Henry Page Croft 1,162 11.6 n/a
Majority 1,392 14.0 14.8
Turnout 93.8
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +7.4
General election January 1910 Lincoln[3] Electorate
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Charles Roberts 5,402 50.2 -1.0
Conservative Robert Filmer 3,236 30.1 +18.5
Liberal Unionist Charles Seely 2,129 19.8 -17.4
Majority 2,166 20.1 +6.1
Turnout 10,767
Liberal hold Swing
General election December 1910 Lincoln[3] Electorate
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Charles Roberts 5,484 52.9 +2.7
Conservative Robert Filmer 4,878 47.1 +17.0
Majority 606 5.8 -14.3
Turnout 10,362
Liberal hold Swing -7.1
General election 1918: Lincoln[4] Electorate 31,365
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Alfred Davies 11,114 47.7 +0.6
Labour Robert Taylor 6,658 28.5 n/a
Liberal Charles Roberts 5,550 23.8 -29.1
Majority 4,456 19.2 25.0
Turnout 74.4
Unionist gain from Liberal Swing +14.8

Private life

He married Lady Cecilia Maude Howard, daughter of George Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle. They had one son, the Liberal MP Wilfrid Roberts and two daughters, one of whom was the artist Winifred Nicholson. Lady Cecilia died in 1947.[5]


  1. Tanner, Duncan (13 February 2003). Political Change and the Labour Party 1900-1918. ISBN 9780521530538.
  2. "Obituary of Charles Henry Roberts". The Times, Friday, Jun 26, 1959. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  3. British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
  4. British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, FWS Craig
  5. ‘ROBERTS, Charles Henry’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2007; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007 accessed 20 Dec 2013
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Charles Seely
Member of Parliament for Lincoln
Succeeded by
Alfred Davies
Preceded by
J. H. Thomas
Albert Green
Member of Parliament for Derby
With: J. H. Thomas
Succeeded by
J. H. Thomas
William Raynes
Political offices
Preceded by
Edwin Montagu
Under-Secretary of State for India
Succeeded by
The Lord Islington
Preceded by
The Lord Saye and Sele
Comptroller of the Household
Succeeded by
Sir Edwin Cornwall, Bt
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