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Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth, Bt

Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth, Bt
Born 20 July 1804 (2010-07-20T18:04)
Rochdale, Lancashire
Died 26 May 1877 (1877-05-27)
Nationality English
Parents Robert Kay

Sir James Phillips Kay-Shuttleworth, 1st Baronet (20 July 1804 – 26 May 1877) was an English politician and educationalist.


Early life

He was born James Kay at Rochdale, Lancashire, the son of Robert Kay.


At first engaged in a Rochdale bank, in 1824 he became a medical student at the University of Edinburgh. Settling in Manchester about 1827, he was instrumental in setting up the Manchester Statistical Society. He worked for the Ancoats and Ardwick Dispensary. While still known simply as Dr. James Kay, he wrote The moral and physical condition of the working-class employed in the cotton manufacture on Manchester (1832), which was cited by Friedrich Engels in Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844. The experience which he thus gained of the conditions of the poor in the Lancashire factory districts, together with his interest in economic science, led to his appointment in 1835 as poor law commissioner in Norfolk and Suffolk and later in the London districts. In 1839 he was appointed first secretary of the committee formed by the Privy Council to administer the Government grant for the public education in Britain.

He is remembered as having founded at Battersea, London, in conjunction with E. Carleton Tufnell, the first training college for school teachers (1839-1840); and the system of national school education of the present day, with its public inspection, trained teachers and its support by state as well as local funds, is largely due to his initiative.

Later life

A breakdown in his health led him to resign his post on the committee in 1849, but subsequent recovery enabled him to take an active part in the working of the central relief committee instituted under Lord Derby, during the Lancashire cotton famine of 1861-1865. He was created a baronet in 1849. Until the end of his life he interested himself in the movements of the Liberal Party in Lancashire, and the progress of education. His Physiology, Pathology and Treatment of Asphyxia became a standard textbook, and he also wrote numerous papers on public education. He was also one of the key figures in the foundation of the Girls' Public Day School Company and was a member of their Council until shortly before his death.

Funerary monument, Brompton Cemetery, London

He died in 1877 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.

Personal life

In 1842 he married Lady Janet Shuttleworth, assuming by royal licence his bride’s name and arms.

His son, Sir Ughtred James Kay-Shuttleworth (1844-1939), became a well-known Liberal politician, sitting in parliament for Hastings from 1869 to 1880 and for the Clitheroe division of Lancashire from 1885 till 1902, when he was created Baron Shuttleworth. He was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1886, and secretary to the Admiralty in 1892-1895.


Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New creation
(of Gawthorpe Hall)
1849 – 1877
Succeeded by
Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth


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