Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
NameWilliam BIGGS, 11633
FatherJohn BIGGS , 11637 (1774-1827)
MotherElizabeth HEGGS , 11638 (1780-1862)
FatherJohn WORTHINGTON , 11636
ChildrenArthur Worthington , 11599 (1846-1928)
 Mary W , 11634
Notes for William BIGGS

He was a hosier and political reformer, was born in Leicester on 18th January 1805, the third child of John Biggs and Elizabeth Heggs. On 26th May 1837, he married Mary Deborah, daughter of John Worthington, yarn merchant, of Leicester. This allied him with a family of distinguished Unitarian ministers; and in her he found a wife who, the few surviving letters suggest, shared the excitement of his political career, and communicated it to their children.

An active partner in the family firm, William, like his brother John, also pursued a political career. Elected to Leicester town council in 1836, he served it continuously for thirty years, was elected mayor in 1842, 1848, and 1859, and appointed JP in 1850. In July 1852, he was elected MP for Newport, Isle of Wight and represented it until his resignation in December 1856.

As a councillor, Biggs got rid of the old corporation’s historic regalia, organized the police force, and supported John’s proposals for extensive improvements. As mayor in 1859, he welcomed the volunteer movement and secured the formation of a company of the rifle corps in Leicester.

William Biggs’s speech to the 1841 Derby commercial convention won him a regional reputation; and although his midland counties charter of 1842 failed to rally Chartists to his middle-class leadership, his initiative helped secure the invitation to stand for Newport. He spoke twenty times in the house, mostly in support of progressive or charitable causes, notably the Homes for Penitent Females, the Leicester branch of which he had helped to found; but his didactic style did not please.

The sale of the family firm forced William Biggs’s sons to seek careers elsewhere. After 1866 he followed three of them to Liverpool. He died there on 8th October 1881 at his house in Upper Parliament Street. He was buried in Welford Road cemetery, Leicester, beside his brother John. Biggs was survived by his wife, daughter, and four sons, of whom the third, Arthur Worthington Biggs, was knighted in 1906.
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