Background and early life
Charles Henry Mills was born on 26 April 1830 at Camelford House, Park Lane, London. He was one of six children (and the only son) of Sir Charles Mills and his wife Emily, daughter of Richard Henry Cox.
He was educated at Eton College and Christ Church College, Oxford.
Partner in Glyn, Mills & Co
Charles Henry Mills entered the family banking business of Glyn, Mills & Co as a partner in 1852.
For many years he divided his time between the banking house, his other business interests, his political career and fashionable society. After the deaths of his father in 1872 and George Carr Glyn in 1873, he became senior partner in the firm.
He remained actively involved in the bank until his death. After he died, an obituary recalled that ‘though not a man of striking brilliancy, his long experience and sound common sense gave him a good deal of influence in the banking world.’
Charles Henry Mills first (unsuccessfully) stood for parliament in 1859 as the Conservative candidate for Northallerton. In 1865 he was successfully elected to the same seat, but was unseated on petition the following year.
In 1868 he was elected Member of Parliament for West Kent. He continued to represent that constituency until 1885. He was also a prominent member of a number of parliamentary committees.
Other roles and interests
Charles Henry Mills’ other business roles included serving as chairman of the London Committee of the Imperial Ottoman Bank; chairman of Union Bank of Australia (a position he held for 28 years); and chairman of North British & Mercantile Insurance Company. He was involved in the management of Marine Insurance Company and was a member of the committee of Bank of Roumania.
He was treasurer of the Gold Standard Defence Association (source overview: PDF 109KB) from its foundation in 1895 until his death.
He was a Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for West Kent between 1868 and 1885, as well as a Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for Middlesex and a Justice of the Peace for Westminster.
He was appointed a cornet in the Uxbridge Yeomanry Cavalry in April 1852, eventually rising to the rank of captain.
He was interested in agriculture and his opinion on agricultural topics was often sought and valued in parliamentary circles. He was actively involved in his local Agriculture Association in Kent, acting as its president for a number of years. Their annual shows were held in the grounds of his country estate at Wildernesse, near Sevenoaks. He played cricket for the Lords and Commons team during his political career, and regularly invited the staff of Glyn, Mills, Currie & Co to cricket tournaments at Wildernesse.
He was interested in art, and added considerably to the collection he had inherited from his father, Sir Charles Mills.
Charles Henry succeeded to the baronetcy upon his father’s death on 4 October 1872, becoming the second baronet. He was elevated to the peerage by Queen Victoria during the first administration of Lord Salisbury in 1886, taking the title 1st Baron Hillingdon.
He was a member of the Carlton, White’s and Travellers’ clubs.
On 25 August 1853 Charles Henry Mills married Lady Louisa Isabella Lascelles, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Harewood. Charles and Louisa had six sons and four daughters:
- Charles William, born 1855
- Algernon Henry, born 1856
- Susan Emily, 1858-60
- Egremont John
- Kenelm James
- Everard Arthur
- Geoffrey Edward
- Isabel Mary
- Mabel Blanche
- Violet Louisa
In his later years Charles Henry Mills suffered from heart disease. When he left the office after attending to business at the bank, it became customary for one of the clerks to follow him to Cannon Street Station, walking a few paces behind in case he should be taken ill and need help on the way.
Charles Henry Mills died suddenly in church at Wilton, Wiltshire, on 3 April 1898, aged 67. He was buried at Seal, Kent. A memorial service was also held in London.
His eldest son Charles William Mills succeeded to his title.