PrimroseSir William Joynson-Hicks, 1st Viscount Brentford

Was born on the 23rd June 1865 as William Hicks to Henry Hicks and Harriett Watts of Plaistow Hall, Kent. He was educated between 1875 and 1881 in Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby, Lancashire. Married Grace Lynn (died 1952), only daughter of Richard Hampson Joynson J.P. of Bowdon, Cheshire, on 12 June 1895 in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, London. He practiced as a solicitor and was a senior partner in the firm Joynson-Hicks and Company. On 12 June 1895 his name was legally changed to William Joynson-Hicks. He wrote the book 'The Law of Heavy and Light Mechanical Transport', published 1906. A member of the Conservative Party (Unionist) he unsuccessfully contested seats in Manchester in the general elections of 1900 and 1906, but was elected in a by-election in 1908. The Ministers of the Crown Act 1908 required newly appointed Cabinet ministers to recontest their seats, and the President of the Board of Trade Winston Churchill was obliged to restand in Manchester North West. As Churchill had defected from the Conservatives to the Liberals, the Conservatives were disinclined to allow him an uncontested return. Joynson-Hicks was adopted against him and in a high profile campaign defeated Churchill. This provoked a strong reaction across the country with 'The Daily Telegraph' running the front page headline "Winston Churchill is OUT! OUT! OUT!"

Primrose League Twickenham Habitation.
Twickenham Town Hall - 19th April 1921

Joynson-Hicks lost the seat in the 1910 general election. In 1910 he also unsuccessfully contested the seat of Sunderland. He was elected for the seat of Twickenham in 1911, a seat that he continued to hold until 1929. He was created a baronet in 1919. By 1922, he had established a reputation as one of the "die-hards" on the right-wing of the party, and in that year he emerged as a strong critic of the party's participation in a coalition government with David Lloyd George. Appointed D.L. of Norfolk in 1922.

When the coalition fell in October 1922, he entered government for the first time as Minister for Overseas Trade. In the fifteen-month Conservative administration of first Andrew Bonar Law and then Stanley Baldwin, Joynson-Hicks was rapidly promoted, often filling positions left vacant by the promotion of Neville Chamberlain. In 1923, he became Paymaster-General then Postmaster General. When Stanley Baldwin became Prime Minister, he initially also retained his previous position of Chancellor of the Exchequer whilst searching for a permanent successor. To relieve the burden of this position, he promoted Joynson-Hicks to Financial Secretary to the Treasury and included him in the Cabinet. In this role, Joynson-Hicks was responsible for making the Hansard statement on 19th July 1923, that the Inland Revenue would not prosecute a defaulting taxpayer who made a full confession and paid the outstanding tax, interest and penalties. Joynson-Hicks had hopes of eventually becoming Chancellor himself, but instead Neville Chamberlain was appointed to the post in August 1923. Once more Joynson-Hicks filled the gap left by Chamberlain's promotion, serving as Minister of Health until the government fell in January 1924.

William Joynson-Hicks - 1921.

Joynson-Hicks became popularly known as "Jix", and when the Conservatives returned to power in November 1924 he was appointed to arguably his most famous role, that of Home Secretary and, armed with the Defence of the Realm Act 1922, he immediately began to institute measures against night-clubs, brothels, courting couples, aliens, homosexuality, late shop opening, works of art and other aspects of the "Roaring Twenties", in fact, any activity or artistic work which he considered to be immoral (D H Lawrence and William Blake were singled out for special attention).

During the General Strike of 1926, he emerged as one of the "hawks" of the government, wishing to pursue a confrontational policy, though in the event Baldwin overuled this. In May 1927 Joynson-Hicks authorised a raid on the Russian owned Arcos Ltd premises in London. Also in 1927, he turned his fire on the proposed new version of the Book of Common Prayer. The law required Parliament to approve such revisions, normally regarded as a formality, but when the Prayer Book came before the House of Commons Joynson-Hicks argued strongly against its adoption as he felt it strayed far from the Protestant principles of the Church of England. The debate on the Prayer Book is regarded as one of the most eloquent ever seen in the Commons, and resulted in the rejection of the Prayer Book. A revised version was submitted in 1928 but rejected again. However, the Church of England Convocation then declared an emergency and used this as a pretext to use the new Prayer Book for many decades afterwards. In 1927 he received the Freedom of the City Portsmouth.

William Joynson-Hicks

Joynson-Hicks also created a stir when, without consulting Baldwin, he pledged, in response to a question from Lady Astor in the House, that the Conservatives would give the vote to all women over the age of twenty-one - a pledge which thus had to be honoured in 1928. The following year, the "Flapper Vote" cost the Conservative Party the election and Jix his seat.

With the Conservatives out of power, Joynson-Hicks took a peerage as the 1st Viscount Brentford. He remained a leading figure in the Conservative Party, but due to his declining health he was not invited to join the National Government in either August or November 1931.

So far there is no evidence that Joynson-Hicks was a member of the Primrose League, but the leaflet illustrated (above) does show support. Amongst his other interests, were as chairman of the Automobile Association (1908-1923), he was a keen motorist, and Bee Keeping, as he was the first President of the Twickenham and Thames Valley Bee Keepers' Association from 1919 to 1929. He died on the 8th June 1932, aged 66.

Heir: Richard Cecil JOYNSON-HICKS, born on 15th November 1896 in London, educated Harrow and R.M.C. Commissioned as Second Lieutenant on 16th December 1914 in the 1st Bn Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment), wounded in action 25th September 1915, on first day of the Battle of Loos, later commissioned into RFC and RAF and then returned to The Queen's. Married, in 1920, Evelyn Mary Rothery, daughter of John McNellan. Retired from the Army due to ill-health in 1944. He died on 27th June 1958. His brother, Lt.-Comdr. Lancelot William Joynson-Hicks became the 3rd Viscount Brentford, and when he died on the 25th February 1983 aged 80 years, his son Crispin William Joynson-Hicks (born 17th April 1933) inherited the title of 4th Viscount Brentford.

Primrose League Twickenham Habitation.
Venue not stated - 21st November 1927

Extracts from the London Gazette.

Index Page.
Wikipedia (very inaccurate as of 20th May 2007)
Kelly's Handbook of the Titled, Landed
and Official Classes. 1923, 1943, 1945, 1947.
London Gazette, various dates.
Various Web Documents.
Ebay #290111031952.
Who's Who. 1926, 1946, 1953, 1972.
Time Magazine. 23rd May 1927
Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage. 1949.