Sir Arthur Lawrence Hobhouse (15 February 1886 – 20 January 1965) was a long-serving English local government Liberal politician, who is best remembered as the architect of the system of National parks of England and Wales.
Sir Arthur Hobhouse
Arthur Hobhouse, circa 1922
Arthur Lawrence Hobhouse
15 February 1886
|Died||20 January 1965(aged 78)|
|Alma mater||St Andrews University|
Trinity College, Cambridge
|Known for||MP, Chairman, National Parks Committee|
|Spouse(s)||Konradin Huth Jackson|
|Children||5, including Henry Hobhouse and Hermione Hobhouse|
Margaret Heyworth Potter
|Relatives||Stephen Henry Hobhouse (brother)|
Hobhouse was the son of the prominent Liberal politician and MP Henry Hobhouse and the brother of peace activist, prison reformer, and religious writer Stephen Henry Hobhouse. Arthur Hobhouse was educated at Eton College, St Andrews University and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated in Natural Sciences. At Cambridge, he was a Cambridge Apostle and a member of the Cambridge University Liberal Club, becoming Secretary in 1906 and was also the lover of John Maynard Keynes and Duncan Grant.
Hobhouse practised as a solicitor until the outbreak of World War I, when he joined the British Expeditionary Force. After the War he joined the Claims Commission, dealing with claims against Allied forces in the Abbeville area, and rose to the rank of Staff Captain. Returning to civilian life, Hobhouse took to farming on a family estate Hadspen house and garden in Somerset.
He stood as Liberal candidate for Wells at the 1922 General Election when he finished a strong second. He was elected Member of Parliament for Wells at the 1923 General Election but lost the seat in 1924. He failed to regain Wells in 1929.
|Liberal||Arthur Lawrence Hobhouse||7,156||33.4|
|Liberal||Arthur Lawrence Hobhouse||10,818||48.2||+14.8|
|Labour||Charles Henry Whitlow||1,713||7.6||-11.3|
|Liberal gain from Unionist||Swing||+9.1|
|Unionist||Rt Hon. Robert Arthur Sanders||12,642||52.6||+8.4|
|Liberal||Arthur Lawrence Hobhouse||8,668||36.1||-12.1|
|Labour||Wilfred Thomas Young||2,726||11.3||+3.7|
|Unionist gain from Liberal||Swing||+10.2|
|Unionist||Anthony John Muirhead||13,026||43.6||-9.0|
|Liberal||Arthur Lawrence Hobhouse||12,382||41.4||+5.3|
|Labour||Mrs R D Q Davies||4,472||15.0||+3.7|
In 1945 he was appointed by Lewis Silkin, the Minister of Town and Country Planning, to chair the National Parks Committee. The resulting Hobhouse Report was the basis for the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. Of the twelve parks it proposed, ten were implemented in the 1950s, while the remaining two, the New Forest and the South Downs, were proposed in 1999 and finally designated in 2005 and 2009 respectively.
Hobhouse was knighted in 1942. Sir Arthur also served as Chairman of the Rural Housing Committee 1942–1947, was pro-chancellor of Bristol University, and was both Chairman and President of the County Councils Association (now part of the Local Government Association). For many years he was President of the Open Spaces Society, till his resignation in 1955.
In his youth, Hobhouse's affairs were exclusively homosexual. He had long-standing affairs with the Bloomsbury Group members Lytton Strachey, Duncan Grant, and John Maynard Keynes. Hobhouse was considered extremely desirable in Edwardian gay circles, and was the subject of much infighting amongst the men of Bloomsbury.
Hobhouse married Konradin Huth Jackson, daughter of Frederick Huth Jackson, and they had five children together:
- Elizabeth Hobhouse (1921–1995)
- Henry Hobhouse (1924–2016)
- Paul Rodbard Hobhouse (1927–1994)
- Mary Hermione Hobhouse (1934–2014)
- Anne Virginia Hobhouse (1936–)
Hobhouse's eldest daughter married firstly Michael Francis Eden later Lord Henley, and secondly Michael King, son of Cecil Harmsworth King. Hobhouse's eldest son, Henry, wrote Seeds of Change: Five Plants That Transformed Mankind. Henry was married three times, and had a daughter, Janet, who died in 1991. A younger son, Paul, married Penelope Chichester-Clark.
- Obituary: 'Sir Arthur Hobhouse: A long record of public service', The Times, 21 January 1965
- "Secretaries | Keynes Society". Keynessociety.wordpress.com. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- "From Clapham to Bloomsbury: a genealogy of morals, by Gertrude Himmelfarb". Facingthechallenge.org. Archived from the original on 7 June 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- Holroyd, Michael (1995). Lytton Strachey. Vintage. pp. 108–110.
- 'HOBHOUSE, Sir Arthur Lawrence', Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2016; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, April 2014 accessed 18 May 2016
- Strachey, Lytton (1994). Michael Holroyd, ed. Lytton Strachey by Himself: A Self-portrait. Vintage. ISBN 978-0-09-945941-5. Pages 101-110, 181-183
- "Janet Hobhouse, 42, A Novelist and editor". The New York Times. 4 February 1991. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- Vidal, John (10 April 2016). "Henry Hobhouse obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- "Henry Hobhouse, author – obituary". The Telegraph. 25 March 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.