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William Graham Nicholson, PC, JP (11 March 1862 – 29 July 1942)[1] was a British Liberal Unionist and later Conservative Party politician.

Nicholson was born into a famous family of distillers, the son of William Nicholson and brother of John Sanctuary Nicholson, a notable military figure in Imperial Africa.[2] He grew up in Basing Park at Froxfield, which later became his seat.[3] He was educated at Harrow School and at Trinity College, Cambridge.[4] Nicholson served as Director-General on Mobilisation in the Second Anglo-Boer War from 30 June 1901 and was promoted an Honorary Colonel commanding the 3rd Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment. In 1890 he married Alice Margaret Beach, daughter of Rt Hon. William Wither Bramston Beach MP.[5]

After the death of the Conservative MP William Wickham, he was elected at a by-election in June 1897 as the Liberal Unionist Member of Parliament (MP) for Petersfield in Hampshire,[6] a seat which had previously been held by his father. Nicholson sat as a Conservative after the Liberal Unionists and Conservatives merged in 1912,and held the seat until his retirement at the 1935 general election.[7] He resided under a lease for some time at Bentworth Hall, however, Basing Park was his main residence.[8][9][10] He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1925. He was an alderman of Hampshire County Council, a Justice of the Peace, and a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire.[11]

In his spare time he was a keen horticulturalist.[12]


  1. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "P" (part 1)
  2. ^ Wills, Walter H.; Barrett, R. J. (1905). The Anglo-African who's who and biographical sketch-book. George Routledge & Sons, Ltd. p. 121. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  3. ^ "PRIVETT AND THE NICHOLSONS". Simon Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Nicholson, William Graham (NCL881WG)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  5. ^ "The Second Anglo-Boer War Military Intelligence" (PDF). The Victorian military Society. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  6. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 292. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.
  7. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 367. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  8. ^ Cook, Chris; Ramsden, John (1997). By-elections in British politics. Psychology Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-85728-535-2. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  9. ^ Eggar, J. Alfred. Remembrances of life and customs in Gilbert White's, Cobbett's & Charles Kingsley's country. Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent. p. 188. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  10. ^ Griffith, Edward C. (1947). The Basingstoke & Alton Light Railway, 1901-1936. Langham. p. 4. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  11. ^ Hesilridge, Arthur G. M. (1922). Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench 1922. London: Dean & Son. p. 120.
  12. ^ Gardeners' chronicle, horticultural trade journal. Haymarket Publishing. 1932. p. 16. Retrieved 19 February 2012.

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Wickham
Member of Parliament for Petersfield
1897 – 1935
Succeeded by
Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith