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The Right Honourable
 The Viscount Brentford 

In office
7 November 1924 – 5 June 1929
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by Arthur Henderson
Succeeded by J. R. Clynes

Born 23 June 1865 (2010-01-13T19:18:40)
Plaistow Hall, Kent
Died 8 June 1932 (2010-01-13T19:18:41)
Nationality English
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Grace Lynn Johnson
(d. 1952)

William Joynson-Hicks, 1st Viscount Brentford PC, PC (NI), DL (23 June 1865 – 8 June 1932), known as Sir William Joynson-Hicks, Bt, from 1919 to 1929 and popularly known as Jix, was an English solicitor and Conservative Party politician, most known for his tenure as Home Secretary from 1924 to 1929, during which he gained a reputation for strict authoritarianism.


Early life and election

Born William Hicks, he was the son of Henry Hicks, of Plaistow Hall, Kent, and his wife Harriett, daughter of William Watts. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, London. On 12 June 1895 he legally assumed the additional surname of Joynson, which was that of his father-in-law (see below). He practised as a solicitor.

He joined the Conservative Party, and unsuccessfully contested seats in Manchester in the general elections of 1900 and 1906, but was elected in a by-election in 1908. The Ministers of the Crown Act 1908 required newly appointed Cabinet ministers to recontest their seats, and the President of the Board of Trade Winston Churchill was obliged to re-stand in Manchester North West. As Churchill had defected from the Conservatives to the Liberals, the Conservatives were disinclined to allow him an uncontested return. Joynson-Hicks was adopted against him and in a high profile campaign defeated Churchill. This provoked a strong reaction across the country with The Daily Telegraph running the front page headline "Winston Churchill is OUT! OUT! OUT!"

Joynson-Hicks lost the seat in the January 1910 general election but was elected for the seat of Twickenham in 1911, a seat that he continued to hold until 1929. He was created a Baronet, of Holmbury in the County of Surrey, in 1919.[1] By 1922, he had established a reputation as one of the "die-hards" on the right-wing of the party, and in that year he emerged as a strong critic of the party's participation in a coalition government with the Liberal David Lloyd George.

Entering government

When the coalition fell in October 1922, he entered government for the first time as Secretary for Overseas Trade. In the fifteen-month Conservative administration of first Andrew Bonar Law and then Stanley Baldwin, Joynson-Hicks was rapidly promoted, often filling positions left vacant by the promotion of Neville Chamberlain. In 1923, he became Paymaster-General then Postmaster General. When Stanley Baldwin became Prime Minister, he initially also retained his previous position of Chancellor of the Exchequer whilst searching for a permanent successor. To relieve the burden of this position, he promoted Joynson-Hicks to Financial Secretary to the Treasury and included him in the Cabinet. In this role, Joynson-Hicks was responsible for making the Hansard statement, on 19 July 1923, that the Inland Revenue would not prosecute a defaulting taxpayer who made a full confession and paid the outstanding tax, interest and penalties. Joynson-Hicks had hopes of eventually becoming Chancellor himself, but instead Neville Chamberlain was appointed to the post in August 1923. Once more Joynson-Hicks filled the gap left by Chamberlain's promotion, serving as Minister of Health until the government fell in January 1924. He became a Privy Counsellor in 1923.[2]

Home Secretary

The Conservatives returned to power in November 1924 and Joynson-Hicks was appointed to arguably his most famous role, that of Home Secretary. Joynson-Hicks became popularly known as "Jix", and was seen as a reactionary for his attempts to crack down on night clubs and other aspects of the "Roaring Twenties". During the General Strike of 1926, he emerged as one of the "hawks" of the government, wishing to pursue a confrontational policy, though in the event Baldwin overruled this. In 1927 Joynson-Hicks turned his fire on the proposed new version of the Book of Common Prayer. The law required Parliament to approve such revisions, normally regarded as a formality, but when the Prayer Book came before the House of Commons Joynson-Hicks argued strongly against its adoption as he felt it strayed far from the Protestant principles of the Church of England. The debate on the Prayer Book is regarded as one of the most eloquent ever seen in the Commons, and resulted in the rejection of the revised Prayer Book. A further revised version was submitted in 1928 but rejected again. However, the National Assembly of the Church of England then declared an emergency, and this was argued as a pretext for the use of the 1928 Prayer Book in many churches for decades afterwards.

Joynson-Hicks was also responsible for piloting the Equal Franchise Act through Parliament in 1928, which allowed women to vote on the same terms as men. He made a strong speech in support of the Bill, and was blamed for the Conservatives' unexpected electoral defeat the following year, which the right of the party attributed to newly-enfranchised young women (referred to derogatorily as "flappers") voting for the opposition Labour party. This led to the creation by Winston Churchill of the oft-repeated legend that Joynson-Hicks had committed the party to giving votes to young women with a parliamentary pledge to Lady Astor in 1925 - a claim that has entered popular mythology but has no basis in fact.[3]

The Conservatives lost power in 1929, and Joynson-Hicks was raised to the peerage as the Viscount Brentford, of Newick in the County of Sussex.[4] He remained a leading figure in the Conservative Party, but due to his declining health he was not invited to join the National Government in either August or November 1931.


Lord Brentford married Grace Lynn, only daughter of Richard Hampson Joynson, JP, of Bowdon Cheshire, on 12 June 1895 in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster. They had two sons and one daughter. He died in June 1932, aged 66, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Richard. His youngest son, the Hon. Lancelot (who succeeded in the viscountcy in 1958), was also a Conservative politician. The Viscountess Brentford died in January 1952.


  1. ^ London Gazette: no. 31587, p. 12418, 7 October 1919. Retrieved on 2008-12-11.
  2. ^ London Gazette: no. 32809, p. 2303, 27 March 1923. Retrieved on 2008-12-11.
  3. ^ H. A. Taylor, Jix, Viscount Brentford: being the authoritative and official biography of the Rt. Hon. William Joynson-Hicks, First Viscount Brentford of Newick (London 1933) pp282-285
  4. ^ London Gazette: no. 33515, p. 4539, 9 July 1926. Retrieved on 2008-12-11.


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Winston Churchill
Member of Parliament for Manchester North West
1908–January 1910
Succeeded by
George Kemp
Preceded by
Lord Alwyne Compton
Member of Parliament for Brentford
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Twickenham
Succeeded by
John Ferguson
Political offices
Preceded by
Archibald Boyd Boyd-Carpenter
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Walter Guinness
Preceded by
Neville Chamberlain
Paymaster General
Succeeded by
Archibald Boyd-Carpenter
Postmaster General
Succeeded by
Sir Laming Worthington-Evans, Bt
Minister of Health
Succeeded by
John Wheatley
Preceded by
Arthur Henderson
Home Secretary
Succeeded by
John Robert Clynes
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Brentford
Succeeded by
Richard Cecil Joynson-Hicks
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Holmbury) 
Succeeded by
Richard Cecil Joynson-Hicks


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