Intelligent Tory: Henry Worms, Lord Pirbright (1840-1903)


By: James Grimshaw
November 2014
Book Guild
Distributed by Trans-Atlantic Publications Inc.
ISBN: 9781909984417
199 Pages, Illustrated
$37.50 Hardcover


A divorcee in an age when divorce was not the done thing. A Conservative Jew, when all other Jews around him were Liberals. A man with high-flying ambitions to be a member of the British Cabinet, a lord of the manor, and one of the high-living great swells of his day. All these things Henry de Worms achieved in a relatively short life yet his humble background was as the son of a lowly Jewish immigrant from Frankfurt. Henry's colourful life reflected the changing times in which he lived, the staid Victorian era giving way to the much more flamboyant belle époque.

By the time he died in 1903 at the age of 62, Lord Pirbright, as he was by then, had turned his back on Judaism, was a multi-millionaire in today's terms, rubbed shoulders with royalty, and had achieved everything he had set out to achieve apart from being a member of the Cabinet. He had been a successful MP for Greenwich and later Liverpool Toxteth, an undersecretary of state dealing with political issues caused by the sugar crisis and two Boer Wars, and finally sat in the House of Lords. All of the ups and downs of the life of an unusual and truly self-made man are covered in this fully-rounded portrait.