Sir William Curtis, 1st Baronet

Sir William Curtis (25 January 1752 – 18 January 1829)[2] was an English businessman, banker and politician. Although he had a long political and business career (the two significantly intertwined), he was probably best known for the banquets he hosted.

Sir William Curtis
Cruikshank - Grand Expedition.png
Sir William Curtis (centre) in an 1809 caricature on the Walcheren Expedition, between military commanders John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham and Marshal Bernadotte
25 January 1752 Wapping, London, England, United Kingdom
18 January 1829 (aged 76) England, United Kingdom
OccupationBusinessman, banker, politician
Sir William Curtis, 1st Baronet as Bonnie Willie. George Cruikshank, 1822.[1]


Born in Wapping, London, Curtis was the son of a sea biscuit manufacturer, Joseph Curtis, and his wife Mary Tennant.[3]

The family business was making ship's biscuit and other dry provisions for the Royal Navy. They were also shipowners whose vessels carried convicts to Australia and engaged in South Sea whaling.[4]

A lifelong Tory, he was elected as a Member of Parliament for the City of London at the 1790 general election.[5] He held the seat continuously for 28 years until his defeat at the 1818 general election.[6] He was returned to the Commons in February 1819 at a by-election for Bletchingley,[7][8] and at the 1820 general election he was returned again for the City of London.[2][6] He did not contest London again at the 1826 election,[6] when he was returned for Hastings.[9][10] He resigned that seat later the same year.[10]

Curtis was also Alderman of the city, becoming Sheriff of London in 1788 and Lord Mayor in 1795–96. He was known for the lavish banquets he gave at his estate, Cullands Grove. He was created a Baronet of Cullonds Grove in 1802.[11]

Memorial to Sir William Curtis in St George's Church, Ramsgate, Kent

Curtis died in 1829. His estate sale ran for a week, and included 370 dozen bottles of wine, port, claret, East India Madeira, sherry (Wild's), Malaga, Hock, and beer.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sir William Curtis, 1st Bt. National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "L" (part 3)
  3. ^ "Curtis, William (1752–1829), of Culland's Grove, Southgate, Mdx., History of Parliament Online". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  4. ^ Jane M. Clayton & Charles A. Clayton, Shipowners investing in the South Sea whale fishery from Britain; 1775 to 1815, Hassobury, 2016, p.89.
  5. ^ "No. 13213". The London Gazette. 26 June 1790. p. 397.
  6. ^ a b c Stooks Smith, Henry. (1973) [1844-1850]. Craig, F. W. S. (ed.). The Parliaments of England (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. pp. 210–211. ISBN 0-900178-13-2.
  7. ^ "No. 17450". The London Gazette. 16 February 1819. p. 307.
  8. ^ Stooks Smith, page 545
  9. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "H" (part 2)
  10. ^ a b Stooks Smith, page 338
  11. ^ "No. 15536". The London Gazette. 27 November 1802. p. 1253.
  12. ^ Newby, Herbert W. (1949) "Old" Southgate. London: T. Grove. pp. 17–29.

External linksEdit

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by Member of Parliament for the City of London
With: John Sawbridge to 1795
Brook Watson to 1793
Sir Watkin Lewes to 1796
John Anderson from 1793
William Lushington from 1795
Harvey Christian Combe from 1796
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for the City of London
With: William Lushington to 1802
John Anderson to 1806
Harvey Christian Combe to 1817
Sir Charles Price, Bt 1802–12
Sir James Shaw, Bt 1806–18
John Atkins 1812–18
Matthew Wood
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Bletchingley
Feb 1819 – 1820
With: George Tennyson
Marquess of Titchfield
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for City of London
With: George Bridges
Thomas Wilson
Matthew Wood
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Hastings
Jun 1826Nov 1826
With: Sir Charles Wetherell
Succeeded by
Civic offices
Preceded by Lord Mayor of London
Succeeded by
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Cullands Grove)
Succeeded by
William Curtis