Chambers, Thomas (DNB01)

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CHAMBERS, Sir THOMAS (1814–1891), recorder of London, son of Thomas Chambers of Hertford, by Sarah, his wife, was born on 17 Dec. 1814. He was educated at Clare Hall, Cambridge, where he received the degree of LL.B. in 1846. On 28 April 1837 he was admitted student at the Middle Temple, and was there called to the bar on 20 Nov. 1840, and elected bencher on 7 May 1801 and treasurer in 1872. He had for many years a lucrative practice in the common law courts, and on 25 Feb. 1861 took silk. He was elected common serjeant in 1857, and in 1878 recorder of the city of London, having received the honour of knighthood on 15 March 1872. In 1884 he was elected steward of Southwark.

Chambers was returned to parliament in the liberal interest for Hertford on 7 July 1852, but lost his seat at the general election of March 1857. Returned on 12 July 1865 for Marylebone, he continued to represent that constituency until the general election of November 1885. As a reformer he was best known for his persistent advocacy of the inspection of convents and of the legalisation of marriage with a deceased wife's sister. By his death, at his residence in Gloucester Place, Portman Square, on 24 Dec. 1891, London lost an assiduous public functionary. His remains were interred (30 Dec.) in the family vault in All Saints' Church, Hertford.

Chambers married on 7 May 1851 Diana (d. 1877), daughter of Peter White of Brighton, by whom he had issue.

An 'Address on Punishment and Reformation,' delivered by Chambers at the London meeting of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science in 1862, is printed in the 'Transactions' of the association. He was joint author with George Tattersall of ' The Laws relating to Buildings; comprising the Metropolitan Buildings Act, Fixtures, Insurance,' &c., London, 1845, 12mo; also, with A. T. T. Peterson, of 'A Treatise on the Law of Railway Companies in their Formation, Incorporation, and Government, with an abstract of the statutes and a table of forms,' London, 1848, 8vo.

[Foster's Men at the Bar and Baronetage; Grad. Cant.; Gent. Mag. 1861, ii. 79; Cussans's Hertfordshire ('Hertford'), ii. 84; Members of Parliament (official lists); Hansard's Parl. Deb. 3rd ser. cxxiv–cxliii., clxxxi–ccxcv.; Vanity Fair, 22 Nov. 1884; Times, 25 Dec. 1891; Ann. Reg. 1872 ii. 268, 1891 ii. 211; Law Times, 2 Jan. 1892; Law Journ. 2 Jan. 1892; London's Roll of Fame, pp. 345, 391.]

J. M. R.