William Rathbone V

William Rathbone V (17 June 1787 – 1 February 1868) was an English merchant and politician, serving as Lord Mayor of Liverpool.

William Rathbone

William Rathbone in Sefton Park.jpg
his statue in Sefton Park
Born17 June 1787 (1787-06-17)
Died1 February 1868 (1868-03) (aged 80)
OccupationMerchant, politician


Statue in Sefton Park
Frederick Street wash house

The notability and prosperity of the Rathbone family of Liverpool was tied to the growth of that city as a major Atlantic trading port. William was the eldest son of William Rathbone IV and Hannah Mary (née Reynolds). He was born in 1787, although the statue of him in Sefton Park erroneously gives his birth year as 1788. William went into partnership as a merchant with his brother Richard.

William Rathbone was elected a Reformer (Liberal) councillor for the Pitt Street ward in Liverpool in the first ever Council election in 1835,[1] subsequently re-elected in 1837,[2] for the Vauxhall ward in 1845,[3] Mayor of the town in 1837, and fought for social reforms. He supported Kitty Wilkinson in establishing wash-houses and public baths following the 1832 cholera epidemic, was an active supporter of the Municipal Reform Act 1835, was responsible for the distribution of New England Relief funds during the Irish famine of 1846-1847 (see British Relief Association). a Rathbone died on 1 February 1868 at Greenbank House, with over 1000 mourners attending his funeral.


Rathbone married Elizabeth (1790–1882), daughter of Samuel Greg of Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire and Hannah (née Lightbody) in 1812. Their children included:

He was the great-grandfather of the actor Basil Rathbone.[6]


  1. ^ Pitt Street
  2. ^ Pitt Street
  3. ^ 1845 Liverpool Town Council election#Vauxhall
  4. ^ Kirby, M. W. "Rathbone, William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23160. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ "Thom, John Hamilton" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  6. ^ The Rathbone Register by Dorcas Rathbone, indicating that William Rathbone's son, Philip Henry Rathbone, was Basil Rathbone's grandfather

External linksEdit