Leeds MPs

BARRAN, Rowland Hirst (1858–1949) Liberal. Ready-made clothing manufacturer.

He was the son of John Barran. He became a partner in the family business in 1882. Like his father he held Liberal views and when W. L. Jackson was raised to the peerage in 1902 he stood in the by-election for Leeds North. Although this was a safe Tory seat he dramatically turned round a Conservative majority of 2,517 to a Liberal one of 758. During World War I he was appointed to a committee set up to reorganise war clothing contracts. For his efforts he was knighted in 1917. However, that year he decided not to stand in the general election and concentrated on business. For a time he was vice-chairman of the Federation of British Industries. He resigned as chairman of his firm in 1932 but remained a director until 1947. It was said by a contemporary MP, he did not often speak in the house but when he did, ‘he uttered common sense in well balanced speeches’. For further reading see Yorkshire Evening Post, 6 August 1949; Yorkshire Post, 8 August 1949.