OSBORN, John (1922-2015).



Sheffield Hallam
8 October 1959 - 11 June 1987


John Holbrook Osborn was born on 14 December 1922 in Sheffield. He was educated at Rugby School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and served in the war in West Africa. He married three times: Molly Suzanne in 1952; Joan Mary MacDermot in 1976; and Patricia Hine in 1989.

Osborn worked in the family business. Chairman of Hillsborough Divisional Young Conservative and Liberal Association from 1949 to 1953, he became Conservative MP for Sheffield Hallam in 1959 and held the seat until 1987. He served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies from 1963 to 1964. From 1975 to 1979 he was a Member of the European Parliament. During his time as an MP he was a member of several Select Committees, including Science and Technology and Education, Science and Arts. He was knighted in 1983, and retired from Parliament in 1987.

John Osborn died on 2 December, 2015.

Transcript of clip

My decision to retire from Parliament? Oh, my Constituency Association had enough of me. Roland Jenkings, before me, didn’t get the support of the Association and I didn’t get the support of the Association. I could have fought my Association and stood with their candidate as an independent and I might have gone back to Parliament on that basis. But I got advised to give up politics while the going is good. It’s no good being a Member of Parliament if your constituency is against you. Some people tried that, but usually burned their fingers and I was able to revert to old interests and old recreations. I played much more golf, much more tennis. And I retired properly.

Summary of interview

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Track 1 [42:34][Session One: 5 December 2012] Sir John Holbrook Osborn (JHO) born Sheffield 14 December 1922. Describes father [Samuel Eric Osborn]’s work as Director of Samuel Osborn & Co ltd. Mentions working as a Director of the company before and after time in Parliament. Describes being born in Sheffield and growing up in the Peak District [Fulwood, Sheffield]. Mentions attending a preparatory school in Fulwood [Miss Naylor’s School at Ashdell, Sheffield] and a boys’ school in Sheffield [Birkdale School aka Griffiths’] before being sent to board at Rugby School. Mentions having little choice over choice over schooling. Mentions continued connection to Birkdale. [05:42] Describes activities of Rugby’s Local Defence Volunteers [LDV – ‘Home Guard’] at the outbreak of the Second World War. Mentions being active in LDV. Describes i