Leeds MPs

BARRAN, John (1821–1905) Liberal. Ready-made clothing manufacturer.

Barran revolutionised the tailoring industry by mass producing ready-made clothing and created what became, for many years, the major industry in Leeds. Two of his buildings still contribute to the city’s architecture; his Moorish-Venetian style clothing factory and warehouse in Park Square and his Park Lane factory now known as Jacob’s Well. In 1865 he became a Liberal councillor and in 1871, during his mayoralty, he engineered the purchase of Roundhay Park. He was elected to Parliament in the by-election of 1876 and retained the seat in 1880. In 1885, when constituencies were introduced, he stood for Leeds Central only to lose out to Gerald Balfour. The following year he stood successfully for Otley but his support for Home Rule saw him ousted in the Conservative / Liberal Unionist landslide of 1895. Although a highly successful businessmen he was considered competent as an MP without being particularly distinguished. For further reading see Yorkshire Post, 4 May 1905; Yorkshire Weekly Observer, 4 May 1905.