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Week 48: My ancestor was a politician

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  • Week 48: My ancestor was a politician

    Week 48: Politician

    Did you have an MP in the family, or a mayor? Did anyone stand for a local election?

    This is an opportunity to showcase a politician from your family tree, you might want to offer a short biography and speak about their work eg
    Birth location/date
    Family background
    Where you've found them on the census
    Their workplace/employer
    Any tips on researching this occupation?

    Trades and Occupations - Family Tree Forum

    [Next week: Clock or watchmaker]​

  • #2
    Willi Bannister (1891-1964) also known as Billy Banny was my grandfather's 3rd cousin and was the first Labour mayor of Nelson, Lancashire. He had joined the army at 15 and served in India and South Africa, also becoming South African wrestling champion, he had been wresting from the age of 12 under the name of Little Banny. He bought himself out of the army and travelled with a circus as a strong man and wrestler but returned to England in 1914 and re-enlisted in the army and rose to be a sergeant major.

    After the war he married and worked in the cotton mills as a loomer, and joined the Labour party. He was elected as a Nelson town councillor in 1927 and served as such into the 1950s. In 1934 he travelled to Russia for three months, visiting Moscow and Leningrad. The United Textile Factory Workers Association chose him to be on their Parliamentary committee in 1936. His employers, Hildrop Manufacturing dismissed him in 1937 for attending a Town Council meeting without permission and dismissed his reacher-in too (another job in a cotton mill) which caused a strike.

    He became an alderman in 1939 on the death of one of the other aldermen and was elected mayor in 1940. He instigated the Nelson Air Training Corps in 1941 and served on the committee, and took an interest in the welfare of servicemen. He left his employment in 1944 when he was appointed to the Pensions Appeal Tribunal. There are many mentions of him in the local newspapers of the time, and heard him mentioned in my family though have only recently worked out how we are connected.


    • #3
      Sir Stephen Henry Molyneux Killik, my 1st cousin 4 x removed, was born in Chelsea in 1861 and married Emily Seymour Jubey in Fulham in October 1887.
      On the 1881 census, he was listed as a stockbroker's clerk and in 1891 as an accountant to a public company.
      Stephen became a Member of the Stock Exchange and travelled to Buenos Aries, Argentina for business purposes on at least two occasions.
      He was elected Master of the Fan Makers Guild in 1917, Sheriff of the Guild in 1922 and later in 1927 an Alderman.
      It was reported in The Times and the Westminster Gazette on 28th September 1923 that King George V conferred a Knighthood upon Stephen.


      In 1934, four of the lectures that he had delivered to the Institute of Bankers in 1933 were published in book form. I ordered this book and as you can imagine it made pretty dry reading!


      Stephen was elected Lord Mayor of the City of London for the year 1934 to 1935 (George V’s Silver Jubilee year). There are lots of newspaper reports of his year's work but the Newsreels give us a feel of 1930s London.

      "LONDON'S LORD MAYOR ELECT - Sir Stephen Killik nominated at Guildhall."
      This video has no sound.

      "THE LORD MAYOR'S SHOW - Sir Stephen Killik takes oath as London's Chief Magistrate."
      This video has sound.​

      It was a shame that the rain poured down that day. Stephen was President of the Dicken's Fellowship so the floats at the Lord Mayor's Show were themed around the novels.

      In 1936 Sir Stephen received from Pope PiusXI​ the honour of Knight Commander of St. Gregory the Great.
      Stephen was widely travelled and, at the age of 74, he left for Durban, South Africa from Southampton on 10th January 1936 returning at the end of March.

      Stephen died on 17th April 1938 at 80 Palace Gardens Terrace, Kensington.

      According to a notice in the Catholic Herald on 22nd April 1938 "there will a solemn Requiem Mass in Westminster Cathedral at 11.30 on Friday, April 29, for the late Sir Stephen Killik. It is expected that the Lord Mayor will be present with his suite".​

      My avatar is my mother 1921 - 2012


      • #4
        The only link I have with anything to do with politics is a VERY tenuous one - a x6 great-grandson of the brother of one of my x10 great-grandparents was the USA president Abraham Lincoln. We were only able to work it out because the vicar recorded in the baptism register that my ancestress Katharine Mann (and her brother Peter) both bp 12 February 1873, were the children of Richard Lincoln and Elizabeth Mann and very kindly added "base child of theirs." Richard Lincoln was never referred to again in the PR, Elizabeth never married and died in 1802. She bequeathed her house and lands to her grandson William Finch, elder son of her deceased daughter Katherine (and my 3xgt grandfather) which enabled him to set up in farming. I think she herself had probably been set up by Mr Lincoln.

        One of William Finch's grandsons (Mark) emigrated to NZ in the late 1870's and a possible NZ descendant once contacted me. We were never sure whether or not his Finch ancestor was a grandson of Mark - I told him about the tenuous link with Abe Lincoln and joking added "we're all short to average height; how tall are you?" Contact was fascinated and said all his family members were of only average height, apart from his fourteen year old son, who was already six feet tall, with long arm and leg bones, big hands and feet and a "long" face!! He thought there might be something in the Abe tale
        Janet in Yorkshire

        Genealogists never die - they just swap places in the family tree