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By: Alexander S. Waugh

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman - A Scottish Life and UK Politics 1836-1908

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Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman’s brief tenure as British Prime Minister between 1905 and 1908 represents an important transition in the history both of the country and of the Liberal Party, where he might be said to have bridged the gap between the party of Gladstone and that of Asquith and Lloyd George. As Liberal Leader from 1899 to 1908, he was widely credited with the restoration of the fortunes of his party, and his time in office includes one of the greatest landslide victories in British politics, when the Liberals won almost 400 seats in the election of 1906. 

Sir Henry’s distinguished political career included nearly forty years as the MP for the Scottish seat Stirling Burghs, Chief Secretary for Ireland, Secretary of State for War and, uniquely, ‘Father of the House’ (as the longest-serving MP in the House of Commons) at the same time that he was Prime Minister. 

This is the first major biography of Sir Henry for forty years. It is also the first to be written by a Scot since 1914; indeed, it has been written about one former pupil of the High School of Glasgow by another. 


‘Truly this is an intensively scholarly work which will do much to elevate Campbell-Bannerman’s reputation.’ – from the Foreword by David Steel (Lord Steel of Aikwood), Liberal Party leader, 1976-1988

Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Somerville Waugh was born in Dumbreck, Glasgow, in 1934. He attended The High School of Glasgow in 1939-1951 – some 100 years after Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman – and had degrees in Economics (1955), Divinity (1999) and Scottish Church History (PhD, 2003). He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and a Member of the Glasgow High School Club, the Scottish Church History Society, the Scottish Place-Name Society, the Liberal International (British Group) and the Liberal Democrat History Group, and was also a contributor to the Journal of Liberal History.


After National Service, he worked in general publishing, in the iron and steel industry and in newspaper publishing, mainly in personnel and training roles. He joined the old Scottish Liberal Party (SLP) in 1951, serving for some years on its National Executive, convening its Housing Policy and Structure of Government Committees and making a major contribution to the development of SLP policy for an integrated income tax/social security system. He also held a range of offices in the former Glasgow Pollok, West Aberdeenshire and North Angus & Mearns (Kincardineshire) Constituency Liberal Associations and was the unsuccessful Liberal/Alliance candidate for Kincardine and Deeside at the 1983 General Election. In 1954-1955, he was a Vice-President of the old Scottish Union of Students and in 1957-1964, he was Liberal Whip and then Leader in the Glasgow Parliamentary Debating Association. He was latterly a member of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.


As a school pupil and then as a student, he had leadership roles in the Scottish Schoolboys Club (SSC) and the Student Christian Movement (SCM). In later years, as an ordained Elder of The Church of Scotland, he was Session Clerk of Banchory-Ternan West Parish Church for eleven years, a Commissioner at a number of General Assemblies and a member of a number of General Assembly Boards and associated Committees. He was also Convener of the Business Committee of the Presbytery of Kincardine and Deeside, and Convener of Christian Aid Banchory.


Sandy and his wife, Sheila, lived in North-East Scotland after their marriage in 1965 and specifically in Banchory (Banchory-Ternan), Kincardineshire, from 1975. They have two children and four grandchildren, who live in Edinburgh and Newcastle.


Sandy Waugh died at home in Banchory in July 2017.

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