Leeds MPs

MIDDLEBROOK, William (1851–1936) Liberal. Solicitor.

At 24 years of age he devoted himself to public service. He was elected to Birstall Local Board and then became clerk to Oakwell Joint Hospital Board which he had helped found. He played an important part in seeing Morley become a borough, served on the borough council from 1892–1920 and was appointed mayor in 1896 and 1933. He was also deeply involved in the Liberal Party in Leeds and in 1910 was elected lord mayor. In 1908, when Sir John Lawson Walton, died Middlebrook was asked to stand for the vacant seat of Leeds South. He won but with a significantly reduced majority of just 359. In both 1910 elections he saw a vast improvement with his majority increased to 4,603 in January and then dropping in December to 2,260. He was an active member of the Commons whose experience in local government was invaluable and he served as chairman of the Local Legislation Committee of the House for ten years. He was knighted in 1916. In 1918 he was a convincing winner standing as a Coalition-Liberal but in 1922 lost out to Labour’s Henry Charleton. Sir William was a president of the Leeds Permanent Building Society from 1918–1921 and a prominent Wesleyan Methodist. For further reading see Yorkshire Post, 1 July 1936.