Leeds & West Yorkshire

PM Herbert Asquith's birthplace for sale with 'Downing Street' door

Croft House, Morley, Leeds Image copyright Manning Stainton
Image caption Croft House's front door is a replica of Number 10 Downing Street's entrance, in a nod to the house's political history

The birthplace of the British Prime Minister who took the country to war in 1914 has gone on sale in West Yorkshire.

Herbert Henry Asquith was born at Croft House in Morley, Leeds in 1852, the son of a cloth merchant.

The Grade II-listed house is on the market for £435,000.

The house's front door, which replicates 10 Downing Street's entrance, can only be opened from the inside.

Image caption Herbert Henry Asquith in 1908, the year he became Prime Minister
Image copyright Manning Stainton
Image caption The formal lounge at Croft House, which has many period features

Asquith became Liberal Prime Minister in 1908, until December 1916 when he resigned amid political unrest and was succeeded by his war secretary David Lloyd George.

Paul Cooke of estate agents Manning Stainton said the current owner is selling the building on on Church Street because she is downsizing but is "passionate about the house's political history."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Herbert Asquith in 1923, with his daughter Lady Violet Bonham-Carter. Asquith's great-granddaughter is the actress Helena Bonham-Carter
Image caption The dining room at Croft House was the location for the first Morley town council meeting before the council moved to its purpose-built town hall in 1895

Who was Herbert Henry Asquith?

  • Born in Morley on 12 September 1852, son of a clothing manufacturer
  • Educated in London and Oxford
  • Became a lawyer in 1876, elected as Liberal MP for East Fife in 1886 - despite the limitations of being a young widower with five children (his first wife, Helen Kelsall Mellard, died from typhoid)
  • Appointed home secretary by William Gladstone in 1892
  • Married Margot Tennant of Peebleshire in 1894
  • Became chancellor of exchequer in 1905 after a year out of politics - introduced higher taxes on unearned income to help pay for pensions for over 70s
  • Became Prime Minister 1908
  • Period of national upheaval, including Irish Home Rule, women's suffrage and World War One in 1914
  • Resigned 1916, succeeded by David Lloyd George
  • Became Earl of Oxford in 1925 and died in Oxfordshire in 1928

Image copyright Manning Stainton
Image caption The four bedroomed semi-detached house, with separate coach house and substantial gardens, is in need of modernisation
Image caption The dining room at Croft House was the location for the first Morley town council meeting before the council moved to its purpose-built town hall in 1895
Image copyright Manning Stainton
Image caption The front door is a replica of Number 10 Downing Street

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