Image of Henry W. Lucy


Lifetime: 1842 - 1924 Passed: ≈ 100 years ago




United States

Henry W. Lucy

Sir Henry William Lucy was a famed English political journalist of the Victorian era, acknowledged as the first great lobby correspondent. He wrote for Punch, Strand Magazine, The Observer, The New York Times and many other papers. He also wrote books, detailing the workings of the Houses of Parliament and two autobiographies. He was knighted in 1909. Lucy was widely known also in North America. President Woodrow Wilson said Lucy's articles in The Gentleman's Magazine inspired his mind and propelled him into public life. Lucy was a serious parliamentary commentator, but also an accomplished humorist and a parliamentary sketch-writer. His friend, the explorer Ernest Shackleton, named a mountain in Antarctica after him.

Henry Lucy was born in Crosby, near Liverpool in 1842, the son of Robert Lucy, a rose-engine turner in the watch trade, and his wife, Margaret Ellen Kemp. He was baptised, William Henry on 23 April 1843 at St. Michael's Church, Crosby. While he was still an infant the family removed to Everton, Liverpool, where he attended the private Crescent School until August 1856; thereafter until 1864 he was junior clerk to Robert Smith, hide merchant, of Redcross Street, Liverpool.

While working as a clerk he had poetry published in the Liverpool Mercury; taught himself shorthand. Worked for the Shrewsbury Chronicle as chief reporter from 1864, and for Shrewsbury's local Observer, and the Shropshire News. Before giving notice to the Chronicle he wrote leader articles for the other Shrewsbury papers, which mostly replied to his own leaders in the Chronicle the week before, besides writing "penny-a-liners" of Shropshire news for London newspapers.

Lucy married on 29 October 1873 Emily Anne daughter of his old schoolmaster at Liverpool, John White. There were no children of the marriage.

Lucy lived in Paris during 1869 and learned French. After returning to England he wrote for Pall Mall Gazette from 1870 and as parliamentary reporter for Daily News from 1873. He stayed with the Liberal newspaper, for which he was promoted the editor. He was a parliamentary sketch writer for Punch from 1881. In 1880, Lucy began writing for The Observer's Cross Bench column. This he continued to do for 29 years. He used the pseudonym "Toby, M.P." from 1881 to 1916. He wrote the weekly column "The Essence of Parliament" in Punch magazine for 35 years. When not writing under one of his pseudonyms, he was usually styled Henry W. Lucy.

Books by Henry W. Lucy

East by West, Vol. 2  Cover image

East by West, Vol. 2

Influential Isolation America Civil War Geography Modern United States British

East by West: a Journey in the Recess is an account of British journalist Henry Lucy's travels across America and on to the Far East in 1883, within two or three decades of the American Civil War, the Indian Mutiny and the end of Japan's isolation fr...

East by West, Vol. 1  Cover image

East by West, Vol. 1

America Civil War Geography Modern Parliament Pacific United States

East by West: a Journey in the Recess is an account of British journalist Henry Lucy's travels across America and on to the Far East during the parliamentary recess in 1883.

Faces and Places Cover image

Faces and Places

19th century Travel Humorous Fiction Short Works

Faces and Places is a collection of articles on nineteenth century travel, events and personalities by the British journalist Henry Lucy, who wrote for the Daily News, a London newspaper. His open letter To Those About to Become Journalists rings as...