After attending the Universities of St Andrew and Cambridge, he became an enthusiastic author of popular science.
In the meantime he became a Progressive Party member of the London County Council. He was an alderman from 1890-98, a councillor representing Hackney Central from 1898-1901 and for Shoreditch, Haggerston from 1901-07.
He returned to the House of Commons as member of parliament for Sunderland from 1906-10.
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