Biography of William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898) was Rector of the University from 1877 until 1880.
Born in Liverpool, Gladstone was a graduate of Christ's Church Oxford. Initially intending to become a lawyer, he was elected an MP in 1832 and chose a career in politics instead. Originally a Tory, he became a member of the Liberal Party in 1859. He held many of the highest government offices, including those of Chancellor of the Exchequer and President of the Board of Trade. Gladstone became one of the most famous Prime Ministers in British history, serving from 1868 until 1874; 1880 to 1885; in 1886, and from 1892 to 1894.
Gladstone lost the 1865 rectorial election to Lord Glencorse. In 1877 he defeated Sir Stafford Northcote, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Conservative governemnt of the day. More than 2,000 people attended his installation at the Kibble Palace in 1878, when Gladstone delivered an address lasting more than an hour and a half. That day he also addressed audiences at a special lunch arranged by the Senate; at St Andrew's Hall, and at the City Hall.
After his death in 1898, a bronze statue of Gladstone wearing his Rector's robes was erected in George Square by public subscription.