Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Lusk, Andrew

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LUSK, Sir ANDREW, first baronet (1810–1909), lord mayor of London, born on 18 Sept. 1810 at Pinmore, in the parish of Barr, Ayrshire, was son of John Lusk, a small farmer and a strict presbyterian, by his wife Margaret, daughter of John Earl, of Knockdolian. Brought up at home in strong religious principles, Lusk was educated at the parish school. At twenty-five he left home with his brother Robert to start a small wholesale grocery business in Greenock, where he gained some experience in journalism. The business, helped by the rapidly expanding sugar trade of Greenock, greatly prospered, and Andrew, leaving it in charge of his brother, came to London. In 1840 he opened premises at 63 Fenchurch Street as a dealer, first in groceries for export (P.O. London Directory, 1846) and afterwards in ships' stores. A wide connection was soon built up, and the firm still exists under the style of Andrew Lusk & Co. Lusk was chairman of the Imperial Bank in Lothbury from its establishment in 1862 until its incorporation with the London Joint Stock Bank in 1893, when he joined the board of the last-named bank. He was for many years chairman of the General Life Insurance Company, which under his supervision became prosperous. In 1857 Lusk was elected common councilman for Aldgate ward, and on 8 Oct. 1863 alderman of that ward; he removed to Bridge Without on 12 Feb. 1892. In 1860-1 he served as sheriff, with alderman Abbiss as his colleague, and on Michaelmas Day 1873 was chosen lord mayor. During his mayoralty he raised a fund of 150,000l. for the relief of the Bengal famine; entertained Sir Garnet Wolseley at the Mansion House on his return from the Ashanti campaign; presided at the banquet given by the corporation at Guildhall on 18 May 1874 to the Tsar Alexander II, after his daughter's marriage with the Duke of Edinburgh; and on 4 Aug. 1874 received a baronetcy. As a City magistrate he was shrewd and genial. He was a prominent member of the Fishmongers' Company, then a stronghold of City liberalism, and served as prime warden in 1887. He was twice master of the Company of Spectacle Makers, in 1869-70 and 1870-1. He was also J.P. for Middlesex.

On 13 July 1865 Lusk was elected liberal M.P. for Finsbury, then one of the largest constituencies in London, as a colleague of William McCullagh Torrens [q. v.]. He retained the seat until the division of the constituency in November 1885, when he retired. Lusk was a useful member of committees and a critic of the estimates, but took little part in the debates. After the liberal split on the home rule question in 1886 he became a liberal unionist.

Lusk, who resigned bis alderman's gown on 24 Sept. 1895, died in his ninety-ninth year at his residence, 15 Sussex Square, Hyde Park, on 21 June 1909, and was buried in Kensal Green. He had no issue, and the baronetcy became extinct. Of his estate (96,659l. 13s. 1d, in gross value) be left over 15,000l. to charitable institution. He married on 24 Oct. 1848 Elisabeth, daughter of James Potter of Grahamstown, Falkirk, by Jane his wife, daughter of John Wilson of Falkirk. Lady Lusk died on 28 Jan. 1910.

In 1888 a marble bust of Lusk by H. McCarthy was placed at the expense of the corporation in the corridor of the Guildhall council chamber. A portrait by T. MacKinley, painted in 1868, belongs to Sir Andrew's nephew, Mr. Andrew Lusk. A cartoon portrait by 'Spy' appeared in 'Vanity Fair' in 1871.

[J. Ewing Ritchie, Famous City Men, 1884, 75-82; A. B. Beaven's Aldermen of the City of London, 1908; Corporation Pocket Book; Welch, Modern Hist. of the City of London; F. H. McCalmont, Parl. Poll Book; Burke's Peerage; Dod's Parl. Companion, 1884; Men of Note in Finance and Commerce, 1900; Bankers' Mag. 1887, xlvii. 1111-14 (with portrait); The Times, 22 and 25 June, and 5 Aug. 1909; J. R. Dicksee, Cat. of Works of Art belonging to the Corporation, 1893, p. 62; information from Mr. Andrew Lusk.]

C. W.