John Barnes, Historian

Sir Frank Sanderson 1st Baronet of Malling Deanery (1880 – 1965)

Frank Sanderson was an active and successful businessman and a long-serving backbench Conservative MP. He received his baronetcy in 1920 for his war service at the Ministry of Munitions. He first entered the House of Commons as the Conservative MP for Darwen in 1922, but not altogether surprisingly was defeated by a Liberal in the Tariff election of December 1923. Regaining his seat in 1924, he lost it again to Herbert Samuel in 1929. He did not contest the seat in 1931, but was elected for Ealing and remained in the Commons until 1950.

He was a constructive critic of Chamberlain’s proposal for a National Defence Contribution and part architect of the amendments to the proposition successfully moved in the Commons in 1937.

Frank Bernard Sanderson was born on 4 October 1880, the seventh son of John Sanderson. He married Edith Amy Wing , daughter of David Wing of Scarborough, in 1904 and they had two sons, Lieutenant Commander Frank Philip Bryan Sanderson (1910-92), who succeeded his father in the Baronetcy, and Derek Maxwell Sanderson, and a daughter, Pearl, who was married first to G.M.Donner and then to Alan Shearman. His son Bryan married Annette Korab-Laskowska in 1932 and a grandson was born in 1933. Sir Frank Sanderson’s first wife died on 13 September 1949 and he was married again in 1951 to Miss Joan Cubberley.

During the First World War he was Controller of Trench Warfare, National Shell Filling Factories and Stores 1915-19 and also of Aircraft Ammunition Filling and Chemical Ammunition Filling 1916-19.

Sanderson was the founder of Wray, Sanderson & Co Ltd., which became the nucleus of The United Premier Oil and Cake Company in 1919: in 1940 he was elected as the Chairman of the latter, with which he had remained associated throughout, in succession to Herbert Guedalla, its founder Chairman, and he conducted its activities throughout the war years. As a result of its activities, he had a continuing interest in trade with Egypt, joined the Council of the Anglo-Egyptian Chamber of Commerce in 1940 and subsequently chaired it from 1949 until 1954. He was known to claim that he was one of the first, if not the first to import the soya bean into Britain. He was also the Chairman of Humber Fishing Co Ltd from 1924 until his death and the Chairman of Salts (Saltaire) Ltd, worsted spinners and manufacturers, and a director of its subsidiary company, J & J Crombie Ltd, whose Board he chaired from 1923 until 1958. He was responsible for the reconstruction of Salts in the early 1930s and determined that the village of Saltaire should be sold to those who lived there. In addition he was a member of Lloyds.

He was elected to the Commons in 1922 as the MP for Darwen but lost to a free trade Liberal in December 1923. He stayed as candidate, regaining the seat in 1924 but in 1929 he faced a more prominent Liberal in Sir Herbert Samuel and suffered a second defeat. On this occasion he sought a safer seat and was elected for East Ealing in 1931, retaining the seat in 1945, but before the 1950 election he decided not to contest the seat again. From 1942 until 1950 he served as a member of the Public Accounts Committee.

He was active in the International Parliamentary Union and travelled extensively on its behalf. He took part in the official delegations to Poland in 1925 and Canada in 1928, and after the war he was a member of delegations to Stockholm 1949, Dublin 1950, Berne 1952 and Washington 1953. He was a member of the British Group at the Hague Conference in 1938, St Moritz 1946 and Cairo 1947. He became a member of its Council in 1947, was Vice Chairman 1948-50 and Chairman of the Standing Finance Committee from 1949 on. He was elected a permanent member of the IPU in 1950.

For many years he lived at Lewes and it was there in 1927 that he made an unsuccessful attempt to rescue a three year old boy from drowning in an artificial lake. As a result of this episode, three years later, he offered the National Playing Fields Association a plot of land nearby for a recreation ground where children could play safely.

He was also a Trustee of Stowe School and President of the King Edward Memorial Hospital.

He died in the Middlesex Hospital on 18 July 1965.