The Returning Officers: Warrington

Arthur Crosfield was Liberal MP for Warrington (1906-10), his fortune coming from the family soap firm that had been the first to licence Persil in the UK.

Harold Smith was Tory MP from 1910-22. He was an amateur actor and during his first contest was appearing in the a local production of George Du Maurier’s Trilby playing Dr Svengali. Speakers at his public meetings had to keep going until the night’s performance had finished. The famous actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree called him “the only amateur I have ever advised to take to the stage as a profession”.

Smith was succeeded in 1922 by the First World War pilot Alec Cunningham-Reid, who later returned to the Commons in 1932 for St Marylebone at a by-election with a rival Tory, neither of them officially endorsed by the party.