Michael Arthur Bass (1837 – 1909)

In brief: Michael Arthur Bass, 1st Baron Burton KCVO was born in Burton upon Trent in 1837. He was a Brewer, Liberal Party politician and philanthropist and became Sir Michael Bass, 1st Baronet in 1882, but was always best known as simply, Lord Burton.

Bass was the elder son of Michael Thomas Bass and the great-grandson of William Bass who moved to Burton upon Trent from London in 1777 to found the brewery firm of Bass & Company.

His mother was Eliza Jane, daughter of Samuel Arden. Bass was educated at Burton Grammar School, Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was a Director of the family firm of Bass, Ratcliff, Gretton and Co from 1863, and Chairman of the Directors upon his father’s death in 1884. He also sat as a Member of Parliament for Stafford from 1865 to 1868, for East Staffordshire from 1868 to 1885 and for Burton from 1885 to 1886. As a brewer, it was uncomfortable to be a Liberal MP as there was a strong temperance element to the Liberal party at the time.

In 1882 he was created a Baronet, of Stafford in the County of Stafford, chiefly in honour of his father who was then still alive and who had declined every honour offered to him. Four years later, in 1886, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Burton, of Rangemore and of Burton-on-Trent in the County of Stafford, with remainder to heirs male. In 1897 he was created Baron Burton, of Burton-on-Trent and of Rangemore in the County of Stafford, with remainder, in default of male issue, to his daughter and her male issue. In 1904 he was further honoured when he was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.

Lord Burton married Harriett Georgina, daughter of Edward Thornewill, in 1869. He died in February 1909, aged 71. He was succeeded in the baronetcy according to the special remainder by his nephew William while the barony of 1886 became extinct. The peerage of 1897 passed according to the special remainder to his daughter Nellie Lisa. Lady Burton died in 1931.

King Edward VII visited Rangemore, the town and Bass Brewery in February 1902 and stayed with Lord Burton at the family home, Rangemore Hall.

Like his father, Michael Arthur Bass was a generous benefactor to Burton, making many fine contributions to the town, including the Ferry Bridge and, a few years later, the causeway, St. Chad’s church and St Paul’s Institute and Liberal Club, which was later to become Burton Town Hall

A bronze statue of Lord Burton, sculpted by F. W. Pomeroy, was erected in front of the Burton Town Hall in 1911.


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