Harrow School, 5 High St, Harrow HA1 3HP, UK
Regent Arcade, High St, Cheltenham GL50 1JZ, UK
Evesham House, 21 Evesham Rd, Cheltenham GL52 2AA, UK
Queen's Hotel, The Promenade, Cheltenham GL50 1NN, UK
Carlton Club, 94 The Mall, London N14 6LP, UK
Cheltenham Cemetery, Prestbury, Bouncers Lane, Cheltenham GL52 5JT, UK
Sir James Tynte Agg-Gardner PC JP (25 November 1846 in Cheltenham – 9 August 1928 in Carlton Club) was an English brewery-owner and Conservative Party politician from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. An early supporter of women's suffrage, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for the Cheltenham constituency for four separate periods between 1874 and 1928, serving a total of 39 years in Parliament in which he made only two speeches in the House of Commons.
He was born in Cheltenham, where his father James Agg-Gardner, Senior (1804–58) had purchased the lordship of the manor in 1843. After his father's death, James Junior was brought up as a ward of court, and educated at Harrow School and then privately. He matriculated to Trinity College, Cambridge, but instead of starting his studies he contested the 1868 general election in Cheltenham, but failed to win the seat. He then studied law, and in 1873 he was called to the bar at the Middle Temple. However, he never practised law, concentrating instead on his business interests and his political career. He was a magistrate from 1875.
Agg-Gardner was first elected as Cheltenham's MP at the 1874 general election, but was defeated at the 1880 general election. He was re-elected in 1885 and held the seat until he stood down at the 1895 election, possibly for reasons related to his homosexuality. He was returned unopposed at the 1900 general election, but was defeated in the 1906 general election. He did not stand again until a by-election in April 1911, after which he held the seat until death in 1928.
In the House of Commons chamber, he was a rare and poor speaker, but served for most of his career on the Commons Kitchen Committee, which he chaired from 1917. In that role, he supervised the daily tea on the terrace, and was known affectionately as the "Minister of the Interior". He sponsored the parliamentary bill which conferred borough status on Cheltenham, and 1896 was made the first freeman of the borough. He also introduced bills on fire escapes (1891) and hire purchase (1928).
He was knighted in 1916, and appointed as a Privy Councillor in 1924. By the time of his death in 1928, aged 81, he was the oldest serving Member of Parliament, having sat with ten Prime Ministers from Benjamin Disraeli to Baldwin. However, because he was not continuously an MP, he did not hold the title of Father of the House.
Christie's has a library of its old auction catalogues, and many of the wine auctions in the first three decades of the twentieth century show bidding by "Agg-Gardner", sometimes successful. He was also mentioned by André L. Simon in an article titled The Soliloquy of a Bibulous Bibliophile.
My published books:
BACK TO HOME PAGE