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Special Collections & Archives: Hugh Reynolds Rathbone (4 Apr 1862 - 19 Jan 1940)accredited archive service logo

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Hugh Reynolds Rathbone (4 Apr 1862 - 19 Jan 1940) & Emily Evelyn Rathbone (1865-1953)

[He was] "one who upheld the finest type of citizenship and well maintained the great traditions of the family to which he belonged" - Sir Sydney Jones, Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Liverpool Daily Post, 22 Jan 1940

Hugh and Emily Rathbone at GreenbankEldest son of Richard Reynolds Rathbone and Frances Susannah (née Roberts)

m. (20 Oct 1888) Emily Evelyn Rathbone (1865-1953), his cousin, daughter of William Rathbone VI and Emily (née Lyle).

Four children:
Hannah Mary ('Nancy', later Warr 1889-1995)
Richard Reynolds (1891-1962)
Edward Reynolds ('Teddy' 1892-1913)
Hugo Ponsonby (1895-1969)

Hugh was educated at Eton and Trinity College Oxford, BA 1884, MA 1888. He was a grain merchant, becoming a partner of the Liverpool firm of Ross T. Smyth and Co. in 1889, until his retirement in 1924. He served as a member of the Royal Commission on Wheat Supplies during the First World War, involved in the purchase and distribrution of large supplies of grain for the use of Great Britain and the Allies. He represented the Liverpool Corn Trade Association on the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, 1905-1933.

He also maintained a keen interest in higher education and was closely involved with the University of Liverpool. On the founding of the University in 1903 he became its first treasurer, was President of the Council from 1918-1924, and in 1920 was elected Pro-Chancellor. He made many gifts to the University, including parts of the family Liverpool estate, Greenbank, to provide student accomodation.

He was an active Liberal, elected M.P. for Wavertree in 1923, and was a Member of the Departmental Committee on Superannuation of Teachers, 1922-1923. He and his wife Emily founded the Liberal Party Garmoyle Institute in Smithdown Road, Liverpool.

Hugh was a leading figure in the Ancient Chapel of Toxteth (Unitarian). He died in Jan 1940.

Emily Rathbone was also active in public service, presenting a mansion at Aigburth to the Liverpool Hospital Saturday Fund in 1922, which was opened as the Crofton Convalescent Hospital for Women. She served as chairman of its committee from 1930-1943. She was also keenly interested in District Nursing, being responsible for a district for many years, and was an active member of the Ladies' Committee. She owned a cottage, 'Manadwyn', on the Menai Straits, which she made available to nurses and their friends as a holiday home.

She was a committed supporter of the Home for Crippled and Invalid Children in Liverpool, or 'Children's Rest', serving as treasurer, then president in 1918. She was also president of the Robert Jones Memorial Workshops for Cripples, 1918-1939. She worked with her husband in his Liberal campaign work, and was from 1941-1945 a member of the University of Liverpool council. Her life was recalled in a tribute in the Liverpool Daily Post at her death as being: "in the highest tradition of public service. She loved the city of Liverpool".

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