Harry Levy-Lawson, 1st Viscount Burnham

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Levy-Lawson as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, November 1893

Harry Lawson Webster Levy-Lawson, 1st Viscount Burnham GCMG, CH, TD, JP, DL, (18 December 1862 – 20 July 1933) was a British newspaper proprietor and a Liberal Unionist politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1885 and 1916 when he inherited his peerage.


Levy-Lawson was born at St. Pancras, London, the son of Edward Levy-Lawson, 1st Baron Burnham and his wife Harriette Georgiana Webster. His name was legally changed from Levy to Levy-Lawson on 11 December 1875. He was educated at Cheam School, Headley, Berkshire, Eton and Balliol College, Oxford. He became a lieutenant in the Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry, treasurer of the Free Land League, vice president of the Municipal Reform League, and a member of the Executive Committee of Municipal Federation League.[1] In 1891, he was admitted to the Inner Temple, entitling him to practice as a barrister.[2]

Levy-Lawson was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for St Pancras West in the 1885 general election at the age of 23 but lost the seat in the 1892 general election. He was also a member of the London County Council from 1889 to 1892, for St Pancras (West).

He was returned to the Commons as MP for Cirencester at a by-election in 1893 and held the seat until his defeat at the 1895 general election. In 1905 he was elected at a by-election as MP for Mile End and lost the seat in 1906, regaining it in January 1910.[3] In the interim he was Mayor of Stepney between 1907 and 1909. In 1911, he was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Buckinghamshire.[4]

Levy-Lawson was appointed a Captain in the Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry in 1887, and later gained the honorary rank of Major. He later served in the First World War, where he gained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and was mentioned in despatches. In 1916 on the death of his father he succeeded to the titles of Baron Burnham and the baronetcy and took his seat in the House of Lords. He also succeeded his father in the management and ownership of the Daily Telegraph. He was decorated with the Territorial Decoration (TD) and became Honorary Colonel of the 99th (Bucks and Berks Yeomanry) Brigade, Royal Artillery. He was invested as a Companion of Honour (CH) in 1917 and was created 1st Viscount Burnham of Hall Barn in the County of Buckingham, on 16 May 1919. He was a JP for Buckinghamshire. He received a number of honorary doctorates from McGill University, Montreal in 1920, Durham University in 1921 Athens University, Greece in 1924, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia in 1925, Ghent University, Belgium, in 1927 and Cambridge University. He was invested as a Knight Grand Cross, GCMG in 1927. In 1928 he sold the Daily Telegraph to Lord Camrose.[2]

When he died, aged 70, Levy-Lawson had no surviving male issue and the viscountcy became extinct. His younger brother succeeded to the baronetcy and barony. He was buried on 24 July 1933 at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire

Levy-Lawson married Olive de Bathe, daughter of Sir Henry de Bathe, 4th Baronet and Charlotte Clare, on 2 January 1884 at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster


  1. Debretts Guide to the House of Commons 1886
  2. 2.0 2.1 the Peerage.com
  3. Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. The London Gazette: no. 28504. pp. 4514–4515. 16 June 1911.

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency
Member of Parliament for St Pancras West
Succeeded by
Harry Robert Graham
Preceded by
Thomas Chester-Master
Member of Parliament for Cirencester
Succeeded by
Benjamin Bathurst
Preceded by
Spencer Charrington
Member of Parliament for Mile End
Succeeded by
Bertram Stuart Straus
Preceded by
Bertram Stuart Straus
Member of Parliament for Mile End
Jan 19101916
Succeeded by
Warwick Brookes