Percy John Pybus was born in 1880 and was, by profession, an electrical engineer. During the First World War he served with the Ministry of Munitions and was made a Commander of the British Empire. Having made two unsuccessful attempts to secure a seat in Parliament he was adopted as Liberal candidate for Harwich Division at the 1929 General Election.
Unlike Sir Frederick Rice, the Conservative member, and Albert Hillary who had been his Liberal opponent, Pybus had no association with the Clacton district, but neither had the new Conservative candidate, Lt Col Mayhew. It was a close contest between two newcomers to the local political scene, but on the day Pybus secured a majority of 2,700. It may have been the swing of the political pendulum, but there is little doubt that his personal charm exerted its influence and the “flapper vote” had introduced a new element into the electorate.
The new member was a bachelor and had, at the time of his election, resided at Frederick House, Russell Road. Shortly afterwards he was able to acquire Tudor House, which stands rather incongruously on the corner of Marine Parade and Albany Gardens West, and renamed it the Moot Hall; this was to be his home until his death.
In the crisis of 1931, when the Labour government had shown itself incapable of dealing with the catastrophic effects of the world depression, Pybus supported a National Government and in the General Election that followed he was returned as a National Liberal with an overwhelming majority of 22,589. Shortly after this, while on his way to Canada, he accepted a radio invitation from the Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, to become Minister of Transport. The following year he brought the National Liberal Conference to the Town Hall at Clacton where it was addressed by Sir Herbert Samuel, Home Secretary.
Pybus was quiet and conscientious and, feeling unable to meet the exacting demands of his office, he resigned from the Ministry in January 1933 in order to return to his many business interests. Throughout he took an active part in local affairs and patronised several of its institutions. He died suddenly, only a few weeks before the General Election in 1935, aged 55.
The Tudor House, itself, started life as a barn and stood at Hammond’s Farm in Hawstead near Bury St. Edmunds, being constructed in 1490. In 1910 it was carefully demolished, all the timberwork being numbered, and rebuilt at Clacton as a private residence.