Banbury, Frederick George, first Baron Banbury of Southam 1850-1936, politician, was born in London 2 December 1850, the eldest son of Frederick Banbury, of Shirley House, Surrey, by his wife, Cecilia Laura, daughter of William Cox, of Woodford Hall, Essex. He was educated at Winchester and afterwards abroad. In 1872 he was elected a member of the Stock Exchange and was head of the firm of Frederick Banbury & Sons, stockbrokers, from 1879 until his retirement in 1906. At the general election of 1892 he entered the House of Commons as conservative member for the Peckham division of Camberwell and retained that seat until the liberal triumph of 1906: within six months of his defeat he was returned at a by-election for the City of London and retained his seat until he entered the House of Lords in January 1924 as Baron Banbury of Southam in Warwickshire. In 1903 he was created a baronet and was sworn of the Privy Council in 1916
Although Banbury never held office, he made for himself a unique position as an opponent of legislation which appeared to him unnecessary and of change which he did not regard as progress. This was facilitated by his ability to talk at any length at any moment on any subject. He declared that in his opinion there was too much legislation and he generally opposed bills proposed by private members. His long experience in the City made him an able critic of finance bills, on which he was an undoubted authority, and he also did much useful work for the Public Accounts Committee by carefully scrutinizing estimates. He was a member of the Select Committee on National Expenditure. He earned esteem by his technical knowledge, and his criticism of his own party was seldom resented. A master of House of Commons procedure, he was dexterous in raising points of order. Punctual in his attendance, he came to be regarded in his corner of a back bench as the uncompromising champion of the old order. — He was always most carefully dressed, and with his formal frock-coat and tall hat, and his slow dignified carriage he would walk to his seat and look round at the increasingly slipshod attire of his colleagues with sad disapproval. The advent of women members into the House he regarded as nothing short of an outrage. Banbury, in fact, became an institution
Banbury was for many years a member, and sometime chairman, of the council of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; was sometime a director and chairman of the Great Northern Railway, and a director of the London and Provincial Bank. He married in 1873 Elizabeth Rosa (died 1930), daughter and co-heir of Thomas Barbot Beale, of Brettenham Park, Suffolk, and had one son, who was killed in action in 1914, and one daughter. He died at Warneford Place, Highworth, Wiltshire, 13 August 1936, and was succeeded as second baron by his grandson, Charles William (born posthumously 1915)
There is a portrait of Banbury, by John Collier, in the board-room of the old London and North Eastern Railway Company, and a replica at Warneford Place, Wiltshire, in private possession.
The Times, 14 August 1936.
Contributor: E. I. Carlyle.