Leeds MPs

GOODMAN, Sir George (c.1792–1859) Whig/Liberal. Woolstapler.

A lifelong Baptist, he played a major part in the political life of Leeds. In 1836 he was elected as the first mayor of the reformed Leeds Council albeit it being the third choice. As the movement to extend the franchise developed in Leeds, he helped establish the Leeds Parliamentary Reform Association with leading Leeds Radicals in August 1840. Its aims were the ‘furtherance of reform and the improvement in our political institutions, and the extension of the franchise to the great mass of the people by all legal and constitutional means’. When Charles Maclea resigned the mayoralty in 1846 Goodman completed the term of office and was then further elected to the position in 1850 and 1851. After representing Leeds at the Great Exhibition, he was knighted in 1852. He topped the poll in the general election of that year and held the seat until 1857 when ill health forced him to retire. It was usually recognised that his temperate and reasonable approach helped to diffuse the tensions in Leeds between the Radicals and the Conservatives. He is usually remembered as the man who presented the town with the chain the mayor still wears at private parties. For further reading see Leeds Times, 15 October 1859; Leeds Mercury, 15 October 1859