Arthur Hobhouse

Arthur Hobhouse

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Sir Arthur Lawrence Hobhouse (February 15, 1886 – January 20, 1965) was a long-serving English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 local government Liberal
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 politician, who is best remembered as the architect of the system of National parks of England and Wales
National parks of England and Wales
The national parks of England and Wales are areas of relatively undeveloped and scenic landscape that are designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949...


Hobhouse was the son of the prominent Henry Hobhouse MP
Henry Hobhouse (MP)
Henry Hobhouse was an English landowner and Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1906....

 and was educated at Eton College
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

, St Andrews University and Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

, where he graduated in Natural Sciences. At Cambridge, he was a member of the Cambridge University Liberal Club, becoming Secretary in 1906. He practised as a solicitor
Solicitors are lawyers who traditionally deal with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in courts. In the United Kingdom, a few Australian states and the Republic of Ireland, the legal profession is split between solicitors and barristers , and a lawyer will usually only hold one title...

 until the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, when he joined the British Expeditionary Force. After the War he joined the Claims Commission, dealing with claims against Allied forces in the Abbeville
Abbeville is a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France.-Location:Abbeville is located on the Somme River, from its modern mouth in the English Channel, and northwest of Amiens...

 area, and rose to the rank of Staff Captain.

Returning to civilian life, Hobhouse took to farming on a family estate in Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

. He was elected Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 for Wells
Wells (UK Parliament constituency)
Wells is a county constituency centred on the city of Wells in Somerset. It elects one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, by the first past the post voting system...

 at the 1923 General Election
United Kingdom general election, 1923
-Seats summary:-References:*F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987*-External links:***...

 but lost the seat in 1924
United Kingdom general election, 1924
- Seats summary :- References :* F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987* - External links :* * *...

, failing to regain it in 1929. He was elected to Somerset County Council
Somerset County Council
Somerset County Council is the county council of Somerset in the South West of England, an elected local government authority responsible for the most significant local government services in most of the county.-Area covered:...

 in 1925, became an alderman
An alderman is a member of a municipal assembly or council in many jurisdictions founded upon English law. The term may be titular, denoting a high-ranking member of a borough or county council, a council member chosen by the elected members themselves rather than by popular vote, or a council...

 in 1934, and was chairman of the council from 1940 to 1947.

In 1945 he was appointed by Lewis Silkin
Lewis Silkin, 1st Baron Silkin
Lewis Silkin, 1st Baron Silkin CH , was a British Labour Party politician.Silkin worked as a solicitor, before becoming a member of the London County Council in 1925. He chaired the LCC Town Planning and the Housing and Public Health Committees and was a member of the Central Housing Advisory...

, the Minister of Town and Country Planning, to chair the National Park
National park
A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or...

s Committee. The resulting Hobhouse Report was the basis for the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949
National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949
The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which created the National Parks Commission which later became the Countryside Commission and then the Countryside Agency, which became Natural England when it merged with English Nature in...

. Of the twelve parks it proposed, ten were implemented in the 1950s, while the remaining two, the New Forest
New Forest
The New Forest is an area of southern England which includes the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the heavily-populated south east of England. It covers south-west Hampshire and extends into south-east Wiltshire....

 and the South Downs
South Downs National Park
The South Downs National Park is England's newest National Park, having become fully operational on 1 April 2011. The park, covering an area of in southern England, stretches for from Winchester in the west to Eastbourne in the east through the counties of Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex...

, were proposed in 1999 and finally designated in 2005 and 2009 respectively.

Hobhouse was knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

ed in 1942. Sir Arthur also served as chair of the Rural Housing Committee 1942–1947, was pro-chancellor of Bristol University, and was both chairman and president of the County Council
County council
A county council is the elected administrative body governing an area known as a county. This term has slightly different meanings in different countries.-United Kingdom:...

s Association (now part of the Local Government Association
Local Government Association
The Local Government Association is a voluntary lobbying organisation acting as the voice of the local government sector in England and Wales, which seeks to be an authoritative and effective advocate on its behalf....


His son, Paul, married Penelope Chichester-Clark
Penelope Hobhouse
Penelope Hobhouse is a garden writer, designer, lecturer and television presenter.-Background:...



  • Obituary: 'Sir Arthur Hobhouse: A long record of public service', The Times
    The Times
    The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

    , January 21, 1965

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