Horace KING

Born: Horace Maybray King was born on 25th May 1901 in Grangetown. His parents were John King and Margaret Maybray. His father was a steelworker and later became an insurance agent. Horace had two sisters and an older brother.

Educated: Horace King was educated at state schools in Norton and Stockton and at King’s College, London. He graduated from King’s in 1922 and was awarded a Ph.D. in literature by King’s in 1940.

Married: On 21st December 1924 Horace King married Victoria Harris, the daughter of a London bookseller. She died in 1966. On 22nd July 1967 he married Una, daughter of William Porter, an industrial manager. She died in 1978. On 30th January 1981 he married Mrs. Ivy Forster, a widow from County Durham who was the daughter of a coal miner. This third marriage was dissolved in 1985 and on 29th March 1986 Horace married Sheila Atkinson.

Family: Horace King had one daughter by his first marriage.

Home: From 1922 Dr. King lived in Southampton.

Known for: Horace King is best known as being the first Speaker of the House of Commons who came from the ranks of the Labour Party, but in his early years, his interest lay in English literature. In 1940, Horace King was awarded a Ph.D. for his doctoral thesis on Shakespeare.  In 1950 Horace King was elected to Parliament as a Labour M.P. He represented the Southampton Test constituency until 1955 when he became M.P. for Southampton Itchen. For a time he was a British delegate to the Council of Europe. In 1965 he became Speaker of the House of Commons and a member of the Privy Council. He is remembered for speeding up Prime Minister’s Questions and for changing the dress code to allow women M.P.s to wear trousers in the House of Commons. In 1971 he was created a life peer as Baron Maybray-King. He was a regular attendee in the House of Lords where he became deputy speaker. 

Died: On 3rd September 1986 Horace King died in hospital in Southampton.

Further Information: Dictionary of National Biography