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The Seventh Earl Beauchamp

A Victim of His Times

Peter Raina

The 7 th Earl Beauchamp was a prominent figure in English public life in the years 1900–30, but his career ended in scandal. He was barred from English soil, his reputation was destroyed and his papers were withheld from public view. In this book, Peter Raina uses previously unreleased documents to reassess Beauchamp’s life and legacy.
Born into the aristocracy, Beauchamp was driven by a sense of noblesse oblige and devoted his life to public service. Though some of this was ceremonial, Beauchamp was keen to involve himself in practical politics, where he showed his independence of mind. He joined the Liberals as they pushed through change against obstruction from his own landowning class. He championed Irish Home Rule. In 1914 he opposed entry into the war and lost any chance of promotion. However, he remained deeply loyal to his party even after its split and decline, and worked tirelessly in its cause.
His life touched on great events such as the formation of Australia and, in Britain, the great reforms of 1906–9, the 1911 Parliament Act, the crisis of 1914, the creation of the Irish Free State, the Liberal collapse, the first Labour government and the economic slump. Through all these, he busied himself in party affairs, but one aspect of his private life worked against him and, in a Sophoclean twist, he fell from grace.
This book documents the Earl’s involvement in politics, explores his personality and looks carefully at the issues that brought him down. In the light of this analysis, it is hoped that historians will recognize his significant contribution to the events of his day.
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Chapter 19: Chancellor of the University of London

Extract

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CHAPTER 19

Chancellor of the University of London

The chancellorship of the University of London has been the domain of eminent British statesmen. More recently, however, members of the royal family have also been elected as Chancellors. The first Chancellor was Sir William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire (1836–56). He was followed by Granville George-Leveson Gower, 2nd Earl of Granville (1856–91), Edward Henry Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby (1891–3), Farrer Herschell, 1st Baron Herschell (1893–99), John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley (1899–1902), and Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery & 1st Earl of Midlothian (1902–29). Rosebery died in May 1929, and Earl Beauchamp was elected as the next Chancellor. The role of the Chancellor is largely ceremonial. He is required to attend conferment of degrees, and other ceremonies of the colleges and institutes of the university.

Election and installation

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