Obituary: Sir Maxwell Entwistle

John Nuttall Maxwell Entwistle, solicitor and local politician: born 8 January 1910; qualified as a solicitor 1931; Notary Public 1955; Councillor, Liverpool City Council 1938-63, Leader 1961-63; Kt 1963; Councillor, Cumbria County 1979-82; married 1940 Jean Penman (died 1993; two sons); died 10 February 1994.

MAXWELL ENTWISTLE was instrumental in assisting business development in Liverpool and, as leader of the City Council, he played a leading role in the approval of the development plan for the city centre which helped to pull Liverpool out of the planning morass from which it had suffered since the blitz.

Entwistle was born near Bolton in Lancashire in 1910. When he was seven his father moved his successful dog-food business to Liverpool. The family lived in New Brighton, where Maxwell recalled seeing a boat torpedoed in the Mersey and the local ferry changing course to collect the survivors. For most of his life he lived near the shore on Merseyside. This love of the sea never left him and during the last week of his life he asked to be taken to see it one last time.

Entwistle went to Merchant Taylors' School in Great Crosby near Liverpool, where he was a moderate scholar and not interested in sport except athletics, for which he won the one- and five-mile cross-country races when he was 16. When in later years his house was burgled, above anything else he was most relieved that his two running cups had not been stolen.

In 1926 he became articled to a solicitor in Liverpool and qualified with honours in 1931 at the age of 21. He became a partner in Gee, French & Entwistle in 1934 but on 1 April 1940 he set up in practice on his own under the name of John Maxwell Entwistle. Shortly afterwards the name of the firm was changed to Maxwell Entwistle & Byrne, which it remains today.

From dealing generally with all aspects of the law (one client still remembers with gratitude his help with her claim for injuries suffered when she was blown off her bicycle by a German bomb), Entwistle came to specialise in property law. His forte was his quick grasp of matters financial and arithmetic. He anticipated at an early date the need for solicitors to lose their 'ivory tower' image, in taking his practice to the public through branch offices.

Shortly before he married Jean Penman in 1940 Entwistle became interested in local politics and he won his first election as the Conservative candidate in the Low Hill Ward of Liverpool in 1938 by a margin of 141 votes out of an electorate of 15,000. After the Second World War he continued to serve on the council and eventually succeeded Sir Alfred Shennan as the Conservative leader in 1956. The leader of the Liverpool Council was then Jack Braddock, husband of Bessie Braddock MP. The city was at that time represented by nine MPs, of whom six were Conservatives. Today there are no Conservatives MPs in Liverpool.

Entwistle always got on well with Jack Braddock and away from the party-political forum they would often support each other if it was for the good of Liverpool. They both helped to ensure that Ford brought car production to Halewood, despite serious unofficial strikes; another car manufacturer, Standard, came to Liverpool at this time and both companies greatly helped ease the serious unemployment.

In May 1961 the Conservatives won control of the Liverpool City Council and Entwistle was elected an Alderman and became Leader of the Council. Most of his proposals were carried out but Entwistle was always disappointed that later City Councils never completed the proposed Inner City Ring Road.

After the Conservatives lost control in May 1963 Entwistle stepped down as leader of the Conservatives, having been on the council for 25 years. He was knighted in 1963 for services to Liverpool City Council.

His only further political position in Liverpool was being President for some years of the Edge Hill Liverpool Conservative Association. In 1966 the association chose Michael Howard, the present Home Secretary, as their parliamentary candidate. Howard was then only 25 and not even on the Conservative Central Office approved list of candidates, but greatly impressed the selection committee. (Since 1983 he has been MP for Folkestone and Hythe.)

Entwistle was considered by both main parties to be fair and honest. He was not a tub-thumping politician but earned respect and support by obviously doing his best for the people of Liverpool. He brought much-needed new industry and jobs to the city, improved housing conditions and initiated a master development plan. He avoided the religious element of Liverpool politics and retired without any hint of scandal or corruption during his 25 years on the council.

Before leaving Merseyside he gave some woodland at Formby to the National Trust to help preserve the red squirrels. In 1988 Maxwell and Jean Entwistle were the principal benefactors of the new European sculpture gallery at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. He was bereft after his wife's death six weeks before his own but never complained and kept his sense of humour and good company until his last day.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003