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Sir Edward Thomas Holden (10 September 1831 - 13 November 1926) was a British businessman and LIberal Party politician, who was briefly member of parliament for Walsall.

Holden was born in Walsall, Staffordshire, and was the son of Edward Holden and his wife Elizabeth née Mason of New York.[1] Following a private education, he joined the firm of tanners and curriers in the town founded by his father, eventually becoming the head of the company.[1] In 1854 he married Caroline Glass of Edinburgh.[2] They made their home at Glenelg, Great Barr, and had one son.[1][2]

He was elected to Walsall Borough Council, of which he was a member for more than sixty years.[1] He was mayor of Walsall on three occasions: in 1870/71, 1871/72 and 1904/05.[3] He was also a member of Walsall School Board and Board of Guardians, and a justice of the peace for the borough of Walsall and the county of Staffordshire.[4]

In July 1891 the sitting Liberal member of parliament for Walsall, Sir Charles Forster, died suddenly. Holden, who was a close friend of the late MP and president of Walsall Liberal Association, was unanimously adopted to contest the resulting by-election.[5][6] Holden campaigned on a platform of opposing the incumbent Conservative government and was in favour of Irish Home Rule, "one man - one vote" and the introduction of elected parish councils. He also had the support of the local temperence movement, as he was in favour the closure of licensed premises on Sundays. His Conservative opponent was Frank James, who was supported by the Licensed Vintners National Defence League.[7]

The by-election was held on 11 August, and Holden successfully held the seat for the Liberals with a majority of 539 votes.[8] It was believed he was helped by the presence of 1,000 Irish voters in the constituency.[4]

Holden's membership of the Commons was to be brief: a general election was held in 1892. Holden's opponent of the previous year, Frank James, was able to gain the seat for the Conservatives. Although James was subsequently unseated on petition in August 1892 due to breaches of Corrupt Practices Act 1883, Holden did not choose to claim the seat. Indeed, he stated that he would "not again offer himself for Walsall or any other place".[9] He continued to be involved in Walsall politics at a municipal level, however. He was knighted in 1907.[10][11]

E T Holden died in November 1926, aged 95.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Obituary: Sir E. T. Holden". The Times: p. 19. 15 November 1926.  
  2. ^ a b "Biographies of Candidates". The Times: p. 3. 1 July 1892.  
  3. ^ "Previous Mayors of Walsall". Walsall Council. 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-25.  
  4. ^ a b "Election Intelligence: Walsall". The Times: p. 10. 10 August 1891.  
  5. ^ "Election Intelligence". The Times: p. 8. 28 July 1891.  
  6. ^ "Election Intelligence". The Times: p. 4. 3 August 1891.  
  7. ^ "Election Intelligence: Walsall". The Times: p. 6. 11 August 1891.  
  8. ^ "Election Intelligence: Walsall, Result of the Polling". The Times: p. 3. 13 August 1891.  
  9. ^ "Election Intelligence". The Times: p. 4. 3 August 1892.  
  10. ^ "Birthday Honours". The Times: p. 6. 9 November 1907.  
  11. ^ London Gazette: no. 28092, p. 8979, 24 December 1907.

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Charles Forster, Bt.
Member of Parliament for Walsall
1891 - 1892
Succeeded by
Frank James


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