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28 Jan 2022
updated 28 Jan 2022

Sir Albert Kaye Rollit
(1842 – 12 Aug 1922)


Born in Hull, he became a solicitor and went on to become president of the Law Society. He later became a shipowner. He was Mayor of Hull from 1883-1885. In 1886 he was elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament for the South Islington constituency ....

Rollit married twice. His second wife was Mary, dowager Duchess of Sutherland. He was her third husband. In 1898 her jewellery, then valued at £30,000, was stolen by international jewel-thief William Johnson, known as 'Harry the Valet'. Johnson stole the jewellery while she was travelling by train from Paris to London with her husband, (Rollit), her brother, his wife and the Duchess's footman and maid ...

The Rollit steam pumping engine, built in 1883, and which formerly pumped sewage at Hull [how appropriate], was named in his honour ...


Sutherland's widow, known as Duchess Blair, married thirdly on 12 November 1896 (separated 1904), as his second wife, Sir Albert Kaye Rollit (1842–1922) MP for Islington South. She enjoyed an income of £100,000 until her death according to one source.

[Oddly enough, the 5th Duke of Sutherland's second wife suffered a jewellery theft of similar if not greater magnitude on the morning of the Coronation in 1953.]

There is a play on words here, as 'The Mayor and Corporation' doesn't simply mean the chief executive officer of a town, city or other municipality, plus his aldermen or other, lesser, civic dignitaries – it also implies the self-important ditto with rather a fat stomach. And when this cartoon was published in 1886, Rollit had just completed 3 years as Mayor of Hull and become elected as Conservative Member of Parliament for South Islington (rather a long way down from Hull geographically, in fact very close to Hampstead, whither his long-standing friend "Lieut Col" Saner had just relocated ).

As he would doubtless prefer to be remembered