Robert William Perks 1st Baronet 1849 – 1934

Robert William PerksSir Robert William Perks 1st Baronet 1849 – 1934 was a British politician, the Liberal M.P for Louth in Lincolnshire, and one of the most important lay Methodists of his generation, who wrote widely about the Methodist Church, and who was the Treasurer of the Wesleyan Methodist Twentieth Century Million Fund, and President of his local homeopathic committee (Anon, The British Homoeopathic Review, Volume 34, (1890). Pages 245 and 247).

Robert William Perks was a major advocate and sponsor (Anon, The Critique, Volume 16, (Denver Journal Publishing Company, 1909). Page 177) of homeopathy, and he was a friend of George Taylor Stewart, and John Henry Clarke, John Pakenham Stilwell, George Wyatt Truscott, Margaret Lucy Tyler, John Weir, Charles Edwin Wheeler, Dudley d’Auvergne Wright,

Robert William Perk’s wife Lady Perks, was Chairman [Chairperson] of the Manor House Hospital (Samuel James Woodall, The Manor House Hospital: a personal record, (Routledge & K. Paul, 1966). Multiple pages) and she was also President of a local support council and Ladies Guild for homeopathy (Anon, The Journal of the British Homoeopathic Society, Volume 15, (British Homoeopathic Society, 1907). Page iv), and in 1914, she raised funds to support Dudley d’Auvergne Wright‘s hospital in France during World War I, and she also arranged for the hospital to be fully equipped. Lady Perks was a friend of Margaret Lucy Tyler, and John Weir, and she was present with her husband when George Wyatt Truscott laid the Cornerstone of the Henry Tyler Wing of the London Homeopathic Hospital on 30.6.1909 (http://homeoint.org/morrell/londonhh/cornston.htm The History of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital by Peter Morell and Sylvaine Cazalet).

Robert William Perks lived in ‘Millionnaire’s Row’ at 11, Kensington Palace Gardens, graduating as a solicitor, he became a very successful businessman specialising in transport infrastructure projects.

Robert William Perks was the son of George Thomas Perks 1819 – 1877 (a Weslyan Methodist preacher),

The Wesleyan Church was by far the largest of all the Methodist groups and in 1897 Mr Robert William Perks, Liberal M.P for Louth in Lincolnshire, a leading Wesleyan layman, proposed the setting up of a Fund to raise One Million Guineas from One Million Wesleyans [even though membership of the Wesleyan Church at that time was approximately 420,000] to finance a huge programme of evangelical work and social action and to build a headquarters memorial building in the heart of London to be the world centre of Wesleyan Methodism.

The Fund was officially launched in 1898. Initially no one was allowed to donate more than One Guinea [£1.05] but donors could make additional donations “In Memoriam” for loved ones who had died or moved away from home.

Robert William Perks was educated at Kingswood School, and at King’s College London (1867–71), where he gained honours in classics, English, and modern languages and won many open prizes.

He qualified as a solicitor in 1875, and later became the partner in London of Henry Fowler, 1st Viscount Wolverhampton.

Perks was elected to Parliament at the 1892 general election, being elected Liberal Member of Parliament for Louth, Lincolnshire. He retired at the 1910 general election, somewhat disillusioned with the House of Commons, stating that “there was no period of his life so fruitlessly spent, no time so absolutely wasted”.

Perks was created a baronet in 1908, but is believed to have declined a peerage as he disliked pomp and ceremony. He was succeeded as second baronet by his son, Robert Malcolm Mewburn (1892–1979).

Of interest:

Robert H Perks MD was an orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy, and who was the homeopathic physician of Edith Anna Œnone Somerville,

Robert Malcolm Mewburn 1892 – 1979, son of Robert William Perks, was a sponsor of the Anglo French Hospital at Neuilly sur Seine.

Covick, Owen. ‘R W Perks and the Barry Railway Company, Part 2 : enter R W Perks‘. Journal of the Railway & Canal Historical Society, 203 (2008), 141-152. Publisher: Railway and Canal Historical Society. ISSN 00338834.

George Thomas Perks had 2 brothers and one sister. The elder of the 2 brothers (Charles Thomas Perks) became a clergyman in the Anglican church, and was for many years Canon of the Anglican Cathedral in Melbourne.

2 thoughts on “Robert William Perks 1st Baronet 1849 – 1934”

  1. In the early nineteen hundred, my mother, then Edith Beatrice Francis from Chalfont St. Peter, worked for a Lady Perks as her lady in waiting. Lady Perks had two daughters and my sister has their photo, but I do not know if she had sons. She used to tell stories of her life with them, travelling to France and Switzerland, and eating before some of the staff were allowed to eat because they served her. I do not know if this is the same Sir, I thought he was Lord, Perks or not. Mother left to come to see her sister, who had emigrated to Canada, in 1913, and because of the war she was unable to return until 1919 or 20. It could be the same, but I don’t see any reference to two sisters born to them. Very interesting.

  2. Sir R. W. Perks and his wife Lady Edith had 4 daughters and one son. One daughter married in 1908 and another in July 1911. So after that latter date there were just 2 daughters in the household. The reference to Switzerland here supports it being this family that Edith Beatrice Francis worked for. The Perks family were very fond of Davos Platz for the winter sports season. They were there during winter of 1911/1912 and at Pau in the Pyrenees in January 1913. Would it be possible for the photograph to be made available on this website? That would probably enable confirmation. My name is Owen Covick and I have been working on a biography of RWP for some years now!

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