Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman
Born: 07 Sep, 1836
Died: 22 Apr, 1908
Field: Politician; statesman
Location in the Abbey: Nave
Type of memorial: Bust
Type of material: Bronze

A monument to Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman, Prime Minister, was unveiled in the north nave aisle of Westminster Abbey on 12 January 1912. This shows an over life-size bust in bronze in the robes of a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. The architectural background is of black marble with bronze Ionic pillars framing a round-headed niche with an heraldic shield above. The sculptor was Paul Montford and the architect Maurice Webb. The inscription on the red marble base reads:

"Erected by Parliament to the Right Honourable Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. G.C.B. Prime Minister"

Within a bronze wreath:

"Born 1836. Died 1908".

The enamelled coat of arms shows Bannerman and Campbell of Stracathro. The general colour scheme was suggested by the Dean of Westminster, J.Armitage Robinson. The date of his birth was originally given as 1839, due to the last figure being inadvertently turned upside down but was corrected soon after the unveiling. Messrs Farmer and Brindley executed the marble work and Mr Burton cast the bronze work. In order to accommodate this memorial the monument to Penelope Egerton, by sculptor William Stanton, was taken down. Only the inscription tablet from this was retained and re-set in the floor of the north west chapel.

Sir Henry was born in Kelvinside, Glasgow, on 7 September 1836, a son of Sir James Campbell and his wife Janet (Bannerman) (taking the extra surname of Bannerman was a condition imposed for inheriting his uncle's estate). Henry was educated at Glasgow university and Trinity college Cambridge. He joined the family warehouse and drapery business and in 1860 married Sarah Charlotte Bruce. In 1868 he entered Parliament and represented Stirling Burghs. His country house was Belmont Castle at Meigle in Perthshire. He served in the War Office and the Admiralty and was Irish Chief Secretary. In Gladstone's government he served as a secretary of war and was later Liberal leader of the House of Commons. In 1905 he succeeded Balfour as Prime Minister. During his premiership self-government was granted to South Africa and his policy with regard to the reform of the House of Lords was later embodied in the Parliament Act of 1911. He died on 22 April 1908 and his funeral service was held in the Abbey on 27 April. He was buried next to his wife in Meigle churchyard.

A photo of the monument can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004.

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