Encyclopedia Titanica


New York Times

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Regarded as the Grand Old Man of the English Legal Profession
Presided at Investigation into the Lusitania, Titanic and Other Disasters
LONDON, Sept. 3---Lord Mersey, formerly Mr. Justice Bigham, died suddenly in his ninetieth year today at his country home in Littlehampton, Sussex. He had appeared in excellent health, having just planned to return to London. He was regarded as the grand old man of the English legal profession.

Lord Mersey, who was 89 last month, took special interest in commercial and shipping matters, having presided at courts of inquiry in several notable sea disasters, including the Titanic and Lusitania. He was active to the end, his wonderful memory never was impaired and he loved to watch a cricket match.

Lieut. Col. the Hon. Charles Clive Bigham, 59, who has had a distinguished diplomatic and military career, is heir to the title.
John Charles Bigham, who was created the first Viscount Mersey in 1916, was the son of John Bigham, a Liverpool merchant. He started work in his father’s firm and might have continued in business had not a local solicitor urged him to try the law. He was admitted to the bar in 1870 and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1883. He sat in Parliament, 1895-97, as a Unionist, for the Exchange Division of Liverpool.

For twelve years, from 1897 to 1909, Lord Mersey was a judge of the King’s Bench Division, and he was chief judge in bankruptcy from 1904 to 1910. During the next year he presided over the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice.

He was a member of the court of inquiry in Canada that investigated the loss of the Empress of Ireland in 1914, and he was Wreck Commissioner in the case of the destruction of the Falaba the next year. He acted as sole arbitrator of the claims that followed the sinking of the American steamship Wilhelmina in the harbor of Rio de Janerio [sic] on April 21, 1915.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) LORD MERSEY DIES IN HIS 90TH YEAR (New York Times, Wednesday 4th September 1929, ref: #3663, published 3 September 2004, generated 21st May 2024 10:35:52 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/lord-mersey-dies-his-90th-year.html