Norman, Henry (first baronet) 1858 - 1939

English; British

(1858-1939) 1st Baronet Journalist Politician Public Servant

Sir Henry Norman was born on the 19th September 1858 in Leicester and was educated at Leicester Collegiate School (1865-9) and Grove House School (1870-75). He was talent spotted at the age of 15 and was sent to Harvard University and the University of Leipzig, with a BA in Divinity. Norman joined the staff of the 'Pall Mall Gazette' and became a prominent journalist reporting on literary, theatrical and political matters, whilst working as a London correspondent for the 'New York Times'. In 1887 he went on a four-year world tour on behalf of several int6ernational newspapers, reporting from places such as Canada, Siberia, the Philippines, Siam and Japan. From this trip he wrote successful travel books, 'The Real Japan' (1892) and 'The Peoples and Politics of the Far East' (1895).

In 1895 Norman became the assistant and literary editor of the 'Daily Chronicle' and in 1900 he was elected to parliament as the Liberal member for Wolverhampton South, and was tipped as a future foreign secretary. Despite his retirement on journalism Norman started a magazine called 'The World's Work' and published a travel book called 'All the Russias' (1902).

In the 1890s Norman had been a strong press ally of Lord Rosebery during his brief term as prime minister, and shared his brand of Liberal Imperialism. He now became closely identified with David Lloyd George, and organized the budget league in support of the Liberals' radical reforming budget of 1909. Norman lost his seat in the first general election of 1910, but was returned as MP for Blackburn in the second general election of the same year. As a parliamentarian he chaired a select committee on patent medicines and was involved in legislation on broadcasting, women's suffrage, and daylight saving. He remained a supporter and confidant of Lloyd George, acting as a personal envoy to France for him several times during the First World War. He was awarded the cross of the Légion d'honneur by the French government in January 1917. He retired from parliament in 1923, having helped to run the coalition government's campaign in the ‘coupon election’ of December 1918. Knighted in 1906, he was created a baronet in June 1915.

Norman had one child with his first wife Ménie Muriel Dowie and a further three with his second wife (Florence) Priscilla (‘Fay’) McLaren. He died at his country house, Ramster, near Chiddingfold, in Surrey, on 4 June 1939.