Christopher Furness, 1st Baron Furness

Christopher Furness, 1st Baron Furness (23 April 1852 – 10 November 1912) was a British businessman and Liberal Party politician.[1]

Christopher Furness, 1st Baron Furness
Member of Parliament for The Hartlepools
In office
Preceded byThomas Richardson II
Succeeded byStephen Furness
In office
Preceded byThomas Richardson
Succeeded byThomas Richardson II
Personal details
Born23 April 1852
West Hartlepool, Durham
Died10 November 1912(1912-11-10) (aged 60)
Political partyLiberal
Jane Annette Suggitt
(m. 1876; his death 1912)
ChildrenMarmaduke Furness, 1st Viscount Furness

Early life

Furness was born in West Hartlepool, Durham on 23 April 1852. He was the seventh son of John Furness of West Hartlepool, and Averill Eastor Furness (née Wilson).[2]


He started his career as a buyer in Thomas Furness and Company, wholesale provision merchants, a firm owned by his older brother Thomas, and became a partner two years later. Stock for the business had to be brought in by ship, and Christopher found that it would be cheaper to use their own vessels, rather than hire other peoples. Consequently, on his initiative, the firm bought several steam ships from local shipbuilder William Gray & Company in 1877.

In 1882, Christopher Furness and Company was formed and the business was split into two. Thomas kept the provision merchants, while Christopher took charge of the shipping fleet. After seven years as a partner in the shipbuilding firm of Edward Withy and Company, Furness merged it with his own company in 1891, to form Furness, Withy and Company, which was run by his nephew, Sir Stephen Furness, 1st Baronet after his death. By a series of mergers, his firms become the main employers in Hartlepool, until they finally closed in the 1980s.[3]

Political career

Furness was also involved in politics, and was elected Member of Parliament for The Hartlepools at a by-election in 1891.[4] He lost the seat in 1895, but was re-elected in 1900 general election, and served until his re-election in January 1910 was declared void after an electoral petition.[4]

In the 1895 Birthday Honours, he was invested as a Knight Bachelor and, in 1910, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Furness, of Grantley in the West Riding of the County of Yorkshire. Moreover, in 1909 he was made an Honorary Freeman of West Hartlepool.[3]

Personal life

On 16 May 1876, Furness married Jane Annette Suggitt (1855–1930), the only daughter of Henry Suggitt of Brierton, county Durham. They had one son:[2]

Christopher Furness died on 10 November 1912, aged 60. He was succeeded in the barony by his son Marmaduke.[2]


  1. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "H" (part 1)
  2. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage. Burke's Peerage Limited. 1914. p. 821. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  3. Boyce, Gordon (2017). The Growth and Dissolution of a Large-Scale Business Enterprise: The Furness Interest, 1892-1919. Oxford University Press. p. 350. ISBN 9781786948861. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  4. Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 119. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.
  5. Lovell, Mary S. (2011). Straight on Till Morning: The Life of Beryl Markham. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 160. ISBN 9780393342086. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thomas Richardson
Member of Parliament for The Hartlepools
Succeeded by
Thomas Richardson (2)
Preceded by
Thomas Richardson (2)
Member of Parliament for The Hartlepools
Succeeded by
Stephen Furness
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Furness
Succeeded by
Marmaduke Furness

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