Huskisson, William 1770 - 1830

William Huskisson, statesman, was born on 11 March 1770 at Birtsmorton Court, near Malvern in Worcestershire. He was educated in England until 1783 when, after his father’s second marriage, he moved to Paris to be educated by his mother’s uncle, Richard Gem, a doctor who had settled there in 1762. Huskisson was living in Paris when the French Revolution broke out, and witnessed many of the key events, including the fall of the Bastille. In late 1790 he became private secretary to the British ambassador in Paris, Earl Gower. He returned to London in September 1792, where Gower’s patronage provided him with an entrée into political circles. He held various government offices from 1795, including President of the Board of Trade from 1823 to 1827. At the time of his death he was Member of Parliament for Liverpool. He died on 15 September 1830 as a result of injuries received at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, when he was knocked over by the Rocket. His death is generally recognised as the first railway fatality.