Charles Higham (publicist)

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Charles Frederick Higham
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Islington South
In office
Preceded by Thomas Wiles
Succeeded by Charles Samuel Garland
Personal details
Born (1876-01-17)17 January 1876
Walthamstow, London, England
Died 24 December 1938(1938-12-24) (aged 62)
Godstone, Surrey, England
Political party Conservative
Occupation Publicist, advertising consultant

Sir Charles Frederick Higham (17 January 1876 – 24 December 1938) was a British publicist, advertising consultant prominent in World War I and a Conservative Party politician elected as the Member of Parliament for Islington South in the County of London for one term, from 1918-22.

Background, upbringing and emigration

Born in Walthamstow, he was the eldest son of Charles and Emily Higham. His father, a solicitor's clerk, died when he was nine years old. Along with his mother and two brothers he emigrated to the United States shortly after his father's death. Leaving home aged 13, he had a series of varied jobs including chemist's assistant, newspaper reporter and assistant hotel manager.[1][2][3]

Advertising in Britain

In 1906 he returned to England, eventually establishing his own advertising agency, Charles F. Higham Limited.[1][2]

During the First World War the importance in waging a successful war against Germany and Austria-Hungary of advertising for army recruitment was realised by the government and Higham was appointed a member of the Committee on Recruiting Propaganda.[1][2] He was later appointed Director of Publicity for the National War Savings Committee.[1][2] He was knighted in 1921 for his wartime creativity and services.[1][3]

Term in the House of Commons for Islington South

At the 1918 general election that followed the war, Higham was elected Coalition Conservative MP for Islington South. He chose to only serve a single term, standing down at the 1922 general election.[1][2] In 1924–25 he visited America to popularise tea-drinking, also publicising the British Empire Exhibition.[1] He was also made a Freeman of the City of London, and in 1930 was presented with the Publicity Cup by the Lord Mayor.[1]

Publications and personal life

He was the author of a number of books on advertising including Scientific Distribution (1918), Looking Forward: Mass Education Through Publicity (1920), Advertising and the Man-in-the-street (1929) and Advertising: Its Use and Abuse (1931).[1]

Higham married five times.[2] He died at his home in South Godstone, Surrey, on Christmas Eve, 1938, of pneumonia and cancer of the mouth.[1][2] A son, also Charles Higham, from his fourth marriage (to Josephine Janet Keuchenius Webb), became a biographer and writer[4] and his other daughter, Anna Higham went on to become a teacher.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Obituary: Sir Charles Higham Development Of Advertising". The Times. 27 December 1938. p. 10.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Simkin, John. "Charles Frederick Higham". Spartacus Educational. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Higham, Sir Charles Frederick". Who Was Who. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  4. ^ Charles Higham In and Out of Hollywood: A Biographer's Memoir

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Sir Charles Higham
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thomas Wiles
Member of Parliament for Islington South
Succeeded by
Charles Samuel Garland
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