Henry Slesser


1883 – 1979


Who was Henry Slesser?

Sir Henry Herman Slesser, KC was a barrister and Labour Party politician in the United Kingdom, and later a senior judge.

He was born in London as Henry Herman Schloesser, the son of a leather merchant and a concert pianist; he changed his name in 1914, preferring the Anglicised form when Britain went to war with Germany. After an apprenticeship in railway engineering, his health collapsed, and when he recovered he trained as a barrister. He also joined the Fabian Society, and his legal and political careers became entwined; much of his casework involved defending workers, and in 1912 he was appointed standing counsel to the Labour Party.

He was adopted by the York Labour Representation Committee to run as their candidate at the General Election expected to occur in either 1914 or 1915. The Fabian Society had agreed to finance his campaign. York was a two-member seat which had returned one Conservative and one Liberal MP in 1910. The Liberal and Labour parties had agreed to only put forward one candidate each, against two Conservatives, which would have given Schloesser a good chance of victory. However, due to the outbreak of war in Europe, the election did not take place.

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Jul 12, 1883
  • United Kingdom
Dec 3, 1979

on July 23, 2013


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