Lord Randolph Henry Spencer-Churchill

In May of 1895, Lord Randolph Churchill along with Lady Churchill, journeyed to Bradford to officiate at the opening of  the new Constitutional Club at Clayton.  At the close of  the ceremony,  the party attended the complimentary luncheon at the Midland Hotel, laid on in their honour.

Lord Randolph (Henry Spencer) Churchill (1849-95)

The third son of the seventh Duke of Marlborough, first entered the House of Commons in 1874–the same year he married Jennie–when he was just 25 years old. From 1876 to 1880 he was unofficial private secretary to his father, Lord Lieutenant (Viceroy) of Ireland, actively supporting local self-government (but not Home Rule) for Ireland. In 1885 he was appointed Secretary of State for India, and in 1886 Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons. In December of that year, his resignation (a political ploy to push through his budget) was unexpectedly accepted. Illness in his last years resulted in a painful death at age 45.

His son, Winston, later became Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Bradford, Daily  Telegraph, May 27, 1893



This morning Lord Randolph Churchill journeyed to Clayton and opened the new Constitutional Club, a description of which appeared in the “Telegraph” on Thursday.He was accompanied by Lady Churchill, Viscount Curzon, M.P., and Alderman Hammond, J.P. The carriage containing the party stopped at Lane Ends, where the Clayton Subscription Band headed a procession, and led the way to the club.

Arriving there, Lieut- Col. Hirst C.B. and other gentleman met the visitors, and the Lieut- Col presented his Lordship with a key as a memento of the day’s proceedings. It bears the inscription – “From the Clayton Constitutional Club, May 27th 1893,” and is prettily ornamented. It was designed and prepared by Messrs Manoah Rhodes and Sons, Bradford. The village was tastefully decorated, and the thoroughfares were crowded and lively.

Shortly after twelve o’ clock the distinguished party reached the club. They were cheered by a large number of ladies and gentlemen assembled outside. Before entering the building Miss Irene Benn presented Lady Churchill with a beautiful bouquet, and Miss Hilda Benn handed a lovely button hole to his lordship. This ceremony ended, Lord Randolph in a word declared the club open, and there after accompanied by Lady Randolph, he made an inspection of the premises.

The band outside played the National Anthem, and at twelve thirty the company adjourned to a large marquee erected in an adjacent field. Colonel Hirst presided, and besides being supported by Lord and Lady Churchill, there were on the platform, Bart. M.P. Mr Byron Reed, Alderman E.W Hammond, Mr Theo Peel, etc.

The Chairman briefly introduced Lord Randolph, who was loudly cheered on rising to speak. Lord Randolph said that the experience of this morning had been to him most pleasant. He had had the honour of opening a Constitutional Club, which in his opinion equalled and even surpassed almost any club of its kind that he had ever seen in England. (Hear, hear and cheers.) He thought it was a club which did credit to those who got up the idea of founding it and to those who had constructed it.

The growth and progress of Constitutionalism and of Unionism in Yorkshire had been most remarkable. (Hear, hear). Of course he knew that they were technically outside the borough of Bradford, and the increase that had taken place in the numerical strength of the Constitutional party since the year 1885 in Bradford was something most remarkable. He had hardly ever known such a rapid increase take place in the ranks of a political party, and he was sure that the increase was to be traced in just the same proportion in the Parliamentary division adjoining Bradford.

In Bradford alone, where they were closely connected with between 1885 and 1892 the supporters of Mr Gladstone had lost 5,820 voters and the Unionists or Constitutionalists gained 3,436. That was a most tremendous gain for a party and nothing could be more encouraging, considering the great cause they had to defend at the present moment, and he was certain it would inspire and inspirit them to do their utmost to carry out all the objects, of this club and to strengthen the Unionist party in this Shipley division. He should like to draw a contrast between the political life of the English people and the political life of the Irish people. What were these clubs to the English people?

They were places where political friends came together, where they constitutionally diffuse amongst themselves all kinds of information on electoral matters and in political matters, and where all such work was carried on in an amicable and friendly and thoroughly harmonious manner. And that was not common to one party, but, thank Heaven, both parties had a very attractive form of organisation to guide them in the work of their party. (Cheers).

In England, likewise, they had got most complete freedom of judgement in electoral matters. Nobody could dictate to them. They wrought by agreement amongst themselves and no bad influence could ever come in and turn either one party or the other from its legitimate party object. But that was not so in Ireland.

On the motion of the Chairman, seconded by Mr Theo. Peel, a hearty vote of thanks was accorded Lord and Lady Churchill. Col. Hirst was also thanked for presiding the proceedings then terminating.

In the afternoon and evening sports were indulged in, and the entertainment was concluded by a grand display of fireworks.


In the afternoon a complimentary luncheon was given in the Midland Hotel, Bradford in honour of Lord and Lady Churchill’s visit.

Mr Milthorp presided and he was supported by Mrs Jeffrey, Mrs Reed, Lady Powell, Lady Randolph Churchill, Miss Hammond, Mrs Milthorp, Mrs F Ripley, and Mrs Dickson, Alderman Hammond, Viscount Curzon, Mr. C. H. Milthorp, Lord Randolph Churchill, Sir F S Powell, and Mr Byron Reed. Amongst the other ladies and gentleman present were Mr and Mrs Cass, Major and Mrs Shepherd, Mr Harrison Benn, Dr A Bronner, Rev Mr Crowther, Mr Theo Peel and Mrs Peel, Col Hirst. C.B and Miss Hirst, Dr Hirst, Mr and Mrs W.C. Lupton, Mr and Mrs J.B Popplewell.

The Chairman gave the toast of Lady Churchill, who had to leave by an early train, and also the health of Viscount Curzon. Lord Curzon made a suitable reply. Sir F. S .Powell. Bart., M.P. proposed “Lord Randolph Churchill,” remarking that he was one of the most distinguished of Her Majesty’s subjects – a man who had a quick eye for dashing movement, and for knowing the moment of action, and also for appreciating at a glance how to act. (Hear, hear). These appeared to be the characteristics of Lord Randolph Churchill in Parliament as they were the characteristics which led the Duke of Marlborough to the success which rendered his name immortal and his fame imperishable.

In reply, Lord Randolph Churchill, who was received with applause, expressed his appreciation and gratitude for the most hearty reception given to his wife and himself on their visit to the town. Everything he had seen at Bradford had filled him with conviction that at any rate this part of Yorkshire would know what part to take in the coming conflict. Among the things which struck him was the sight of the hall packed with all classes in Bradford – the silence, indulgence, and attention of the audience through what must have been to them a very lengthy speech. Another thing which impressed him was the fact that they now had a Unionist Press established in their midst. His visit to Bradford made him look forward with the brightest anticipations to the future.

Mr Byron Reed proposed the “Four Local Habitations of the Primrose League.” coupling it with the name of Mr Jeffrey, who in turn gave “The Chair.”