Robert Hamilton

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Sir Robert Hamilton

Sir Robert William Hamilton (b. 26 August 1867, Mortlake, Surrey, d. 15 July 1944, University College Hospital, London) was elected as MP for the constituency of Orkney & Shetland on 15 November 1922, replacing Malcolm Smith. He served until 1935 when he was replaced by Basil Neven-Spence.


Hamilton was the second son of Sir Robert G. C. Hamilton who was Governor of Tasmania. He was educated at St Paul’s School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He was knighted in 1918. In 1925 he married Gertrude Williamson of Kirkwall, Orkney.

In 1905 Hamilton was appointed Principal Judge and Chief Justice of the East Africa Protectorate. He was appointed as Chairman of the Civil Service Commission in 1918. He retired from the civil service in 1920.[2]

Political Career

He served as a Parliamentary delegate to South Africa in 1924, to Canada in 1928 and to Iceland in 1930. From 1930-31 he was a member of the first Round Table Conference formed to discuss plans for Indian independence. In 1931 he served on the Joint Select Committee on East Africa. When the Liberal Party split in late 1931, Hamilton followed the group led by Sir Herbert Samuel and the official Liberal Party, in support of the National Government. He became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in the National Government in September 1931, working under the Conservative Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister. At the October general election he was returned unopposed. In 1932 he was replaced as Under-Secretary by the Conservative Ivor Windsor-Clive, 2nd Earl of Plymouth. When the Liberal Party decided to leave the National Government in 1933, he followed Samuel across to the opposition benches. He was appointed Scottish Liberal Whip in 1934. He lost his seat at the 1935 general election, to the Conservative Party candidate.

He was the first Shetland MP to have a Government position when he became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in the National Government in September 1931 until 1932 and was appointed Scottish Liberal Whip in 1934.

The Hamilton family had a number of political connections in Shetland. Robert's grandfather, Reverend Zachary Hamilton (b. 1805) was also the father to Zachary, a County Councillor (but to a different mother than Robert's father, Sir George Robert Cruickshank Hamilton). Zachary's son William was also a County Councillor.

External Links

External Links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Malcolm Smith
Member of Parliament for
Orkney and Shetland

Succeeded by
Basil Neven-Spence
Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom
MPs Robert Honyman (1801-1806) • Robert Honyman (1806-1807) • Malcolm Laing (1807-1812) • Richard Honyman (1812-1818) • George Dundas (1818-1820) • John Balfour (1820-1826) • George Dundas (1826-1830) • George Traill (1830-1835) • Thomas Balfour (1835-1837) • Frederick Dundas (1837-1847) • Arthur Anderson (1847-1852) • Frederick Dundas (1852-1873) • Samuel Laing (1873-1885) • Leonard Lyell (1885-1900) • Cathcart Wason (1900-1921) • Malcolm Smith (1921-1922) • Robert Hamilton (1922-1935) • Basil Neven-Spence (1935-1950) • Jo Grimond (1950-1983) • Jim Wallace (1983-2001) • Alistair Carmichael (2001-present)