Thomas Milner Gibson

The Right Honourable
Thomas Milner Gibson
President of the Board of Trade
In office
6 July 1859  26 June 1866
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Viscount Palmerston
The Earl Russell
Preceded by The Earl of Donoughmore
Succeeded by Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt
Vice-President of the Board of Trade
In office
8 July 1846  8 May 1848
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Lord John Russell
Preceded by Sir George Clerk, Bt
Succeeded by The Earl Granville
Personal details
Born 3 September 1806 (1806-09-03)
Port of Spain, Trinidad
Died 25 February 1884 (1884-02-26) (aged 77)
Nationality British
Political party Tory
Spouse(s) Susannah Cullum
Children Thomas Gibson Bowles
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

Thomas Milner Gibson PC (3 September 1806 25 February 1884) was a British politician.

Background and education

Thomas Milner Gibson came of a Suffolk family, but was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, where his father was serving as an officer in the army. He was educated in Trinidad, in a school at Higham Hill also attended by Benjamin Disraeli, at Charterhouse, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1830.[1]

Political career

In 1837 Gibson was elected to parliament as Conservative member for Ipswich, but resigned two years later, having adopted Liberal views, and became an ardent supporter of the free-trade movement. As one of Cobden's chief allies, he was elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Manchester in 1841, and from 1846 to 1848 he was Vice-President of the Board of Trade in Lord John Russell's ministry. Though defeated in Manchester in 1857, he found another seat for Ashton-under-Lyne, and sat in the cabinet under Lord Palmerston and then Russell from 1859 to 1866 as President of the Board of Trade. In 1846 he was sworn of the Privy Council.[2]

Gibson was the leading spirit in the movement for the repeal of taxes on knowledge, and his successful efforts on behalf of journalism and advertising were recognized by a public testimonial in 1862. He retired from political life in 1868, but he and his wife, whose salon was a great Liberal centre, were for many years very influential in society. Milner Gibson was a sportsman and a typical man of the world, who enjoyed life and behaved liberally to those connected with him.


Milner Gibson married Arethusa Susannah, daughter of Revd. Sir Thomas Gery Cullum of Hardwick House, Suffolk, in 1832.[1] They resided at Theberton House, Suffolk.

Gibson also had a relationship with Susannah Bowles, a servant girl. Their son, Thomas Gibson Bowles, became a noted publisher and was the maternal grandfather of the Mitford sisters.

Milner Gibson died in February 1884, aged 77.


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Morrison
Rigby Wason
Member of Parliament for Ipswich
With: Henry Tufnell, 18371838
Fitzroy Kelly, 18381839
Succeeded by
Fitzroy Kelly
Sir Thomas John Cochrane
Preceded by
Mark Philips
Robert Hyde Greg
Member of Parliament for Manchester
With: Mark Philips, 18411847
John Bright, 18471857
Succeeded by
Sir John Potter
James Aspinall Turner
Preceded by
Charles Hindley
Member of Parliament for Ashton-under-Lyne
Succeeded by
Thomas Walton Mellor
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir George Clerk, Bt
Vice-President of the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
The Earl Granville
Preceded by
The Earl of Donoughmore
President of the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt
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