JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN M.P. (1836-1914)
“And there were giants in the land in those days”
One hundred years ago today, on July 2nd, the giant of his age Joseph Chamberlain, MP for Birmingham West died. In his lifetime, he was a legend and was described by Winston Churchill as the “man who made the weather”. Although Chamberlain started his political career as a Liberal, he split with the Liberal Party and became a Liberal Unionist.He served in the Conservative Governments led by the Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour. His achievements in improving Birmingham can still be seen today.
In 1903, he advocated tariff reform and was engaged in propagating this policy when he suffered a servere stroke which left him debilitated until his death on July 2nd 1914. The loyalty of his constituents was seen when at successive elections, even after he was paralysed and his speech impaired, he was still returned to Westminster. Both his sons Austin and Neville followed in his footsteps serving as Members of Parliament.In 1912 the Liberal Unionist Party and the Conservative Party fused together to become known as The Conservative & Unionist Party.In Birmingham however, the Liberal Unionist organisation retained its title until 1918. Joseph Chamberlain’s influence not only extended to the parliamentary constituencies covering the city of Birmingham but the West Midlands region as a whole.He addressed meeting and rallys in many locations including Walsall where he gave a famous speech.
Robert Cooper, MP for Walsall in 1914.