• A
  • A
  • A

Sir Percy Alfred Harris

10 Adar 5636 (06 March 1876)
5 Tammuz 5712 (28 June 1952)

Basic Information

Unique reference:


Date of birth:
10 Adar 5636 (06 March 1876)
Place of birth:
Kensington, London


Date of death:
5 Tammuz 5712 (28 June 1952)
Died in combat?:
Burial place:
St Nicholas' Churchyard, Chiswick, London



Percy Villas Kensington (1911)


Harrow School
Trinity House
 < Close personal journey map
Personal Journey map
Sir Percy Alfred Harris


In 1915 Harris was elected Deputy Chairman of the London County Council. In the meantime, the health of the Liberal MP for Harborough deteriorated and he resigned from parliament causing the Harborough by-election, 1916. Harris was re-adopted by the local Liberals and his candidacy was also officially endorsed by both the Unionist and Labour parties, due to the wartime electoral truce.


He was created 1st Baronet Harris, of Bethnal Green, co. of London [U.K.] on 14 January 1932.1 He was appointed Privy Counsellor (P.C.) in 1940. He held the office of Deputy Lieutenant (D.L.) He held the office of Member of the London County Council between 1946 and 1952.

London Jewry and London Politics, 1889-1986. By Geoffrey Alderman, P72

It would be false, however, to conclude ..... that Harris was active, either locally or nationally, in Promoting Jewish causes or defending Jewish interests. In his pursuit of housing and educational matters he was generally indifferent to any special claims that the Jews of Bethnal Green – or of London – might have had. When, in December 1932, Nettie Adler (now no longer a county er councillor and therefore feeling freer, perhaps, to speak her mind) published in the Jewish Chronicle outspoken condemnation of the anti-alien housing policies of the Municipal Reformers, she was supported by fellow Liberals Miriam Moses, Barnet Janner and Ida Samuel, but from Percy Harris there was total silence. His autobiography contains not a single reference to Jews or Jewish issues. When he died, the Jewish Chronicle paid him a fulsome tribute but recorded that his funeral service as held at St Nicholas’ Church, Chiswick.

JC Obituary, P25, 04 July 1952

SIR PERCY HARRIS Sir Percy Alfred Harris. Bart, whose death occurred in London on Saturday at the age of 76, was a former Liberal Chief Whip, Liberal Leader in the House of Commons and a leading member of the London County Council. Sir Percy, who was the younger son of the late Mr. Wolf Harris (a Warden of the New West End Synagogue and a Vice-President of the Jewish Orphanage), began his active political career when he contested the Ashford Division of Kent in the Liberal interest in 1906 as Member for the Harborough Division of Leicester, lost the seat two years later, and in 1922 was elected MP for South-West Bethnal Green, which he continued to represent till 1945. Throughout its changing fortunes Sir Percy remained a leading member of the Liberal Party, serving as Chief Whip for ten years and as leader in the House for some time.
In 1907 he started a long career of Metropolitan service with his election as representative of S.W. Bethnal Green. He was Deputy Chairman of the Council m 1915-16; and for a short time after the 1949 election was known as “the most important man in London” he was the only Liberal and held the balance between the two main parties, Labour and Conservative, who held the same number of seats. The funeral of Sir Percy Harris, on Wednesday, was at St. Nicholas



Margureite Frieda Bloxam (female)
Other surname / Maiden name:


Sir Jack Wolfred Ashford Harris (male)
Thomas Nicholas Robinson Harris (male)


Father: Woolf Harris (male)
Mother: Elizabeth Nathan (female)


Reserved occupation:
Deputy Chairman of the London County Council
What was the impact of this:
During the First World War, he worked at the War Office and tried to ensure that the families of married men in the services were better able to cope with the absence of the main breadwinner.
From: Jewish Parliamentarians, Greville Janner & Derek Taylor. P60

Other Occupations

Type of employment:
Member of Parliament
Date started:
Date left:
Member for Harborough and later Bethnal Green South
Liberal Member

Contact the Author

Any messages sent via this facility are not the responsibility of the WWTT site and are simply passed onto the account holder’s contact and not stored here. Should the author choose to reply to you, all further contact made will not be transmitted through the site but independently through your own email or the details you leave here.


Contact the Author

Please note that the recipient will be provided with the email address linked to your account, and any response will not be transmitted through the site but independently through your own email.

Give us your feedback

Please tell us what you think to help us develop and progress this vital resource

London Jews in the First World War - We Were There Too

Follow us on social media:

© London Jewish Cultural Centre 2018

Website : beachshore