Three Prime Ministers - St James's Square, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.457 W 000° 08.166
30U E 698739 N 5710165
Quick Description: A blue plaque in St James's Square indicating that three Prime Ministers lived in this property.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 4/15/2012 2:05:48 AM
Waymark Code: WME7NR
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member Marky
Views: 1

Long Description:

The plaque reads:



Here lived
Three Prime Ministers
William Pitt
Earl of Chatham
1708 - 1778
Edward Geoffrey Stanley
Earl of Derby
1799 - 1869
William Ewart
1809 - 1898


The BookRags webiste (visit link) tells of William Pitt the Elder:

"The British statesman William Pitt the Elder, 1st Earl of Chatham (1708-1778), was one of the most striking political figures of the 18th century. Known as the Great Commoner, he served as war minister under George II and led Britain to victory over the French.

William Pitt was born on Nov. 15, 1708, the son of a Cornish member of Parliament. Educated at Eton and at Oxford, in 1735 he entered Parliament. Pitt immediately showed himself to be a violent opponent of Sir Robert Walpole. His opposition to Hanoverian policy also lost him the favor of George II, a factor which prevented his obtaining office after Walpole's fall in 1742. In 1746 Pitt was appointed paymaster general, but this office carried little political influence.

Intensely ambitious, conscious of his power in the Commons, and impatient in his secondary role, Pitt aimed at supreme power. In September 1755 he gained admission to the Cabinet and dominated the great debate (November 13-14) on the war with France. His speech on this occasion, wrote Horace Walpole, "like a torrent long obstructed, burst forth with more commanding impetuosity." Dismissed because of his opposition, Pitt set out to rouse popular enthusiasm for the war, pressing for increases in the army and navy, for more troops to be sent to America, and for the establishment of a national militia. In December 1756 Pitt became secretary of state under the nominal leadership of the Duke of Devonshire; this ministry was replaced in July 1757 by a coalition between Pitt and Lord Newcastle. They worked well together and were responsible for England's victories in the Seven Years War.

The Spartacus Schoolnet website (visit link) tells the following about Edward Geoffrey Stanley:

"Edward Stanley, the son of the 13th Earl of Derby, was born at Knowsley Park, Lancashire in 1799. He was educated at Eton and Christ College, Oxford and entered parliament for Stockbridge in 1820. The seat had been purchased for him by his father from Joseph Barham, a West Indian planter who was in financial difficulties.

Stanley supported the Whigs in Parliament but did not make a speech during his four years in the House of Commons. In 1826 he moved from Stockbridge to Preston, a constituency where one of the candidates was selected by the Derby family and the other by the people of the town.

Although a supporter of the Whigs, Stanley agreed in 1827 to join the Tory government led by George Canning. Stanley became under secretary of the colonies and retained the post under the next Prime Minister, Lord Goderich. However, Stanley considered the Duke of Wellington too reactionary and refused to serve in his administration (1828-1830).

Stanley returned to government in 1830 when he accepted the post of chief secretary of Ireland under the Whig Prime Minister, Earl Grey. Stanley did not share Grey's enthusiasm for parliamentary reform and was one of the main reasons why he was defeated at Preston by Henry Orator Hunt in the election that was held that year. He was not out of the House of Commons for long and he returned as MP for Windsor in February 1831.

Stanley's views become more conservative as he grew older and by 1833 considered Earl Grey to be too radical. In May of that year he left the government and became the leader of a group of about fifty independent MPs who obtained the name Stanleyites.

In 1841 Stanley agreed to join the Conservative government led by Robert Peel. Stanley became colonial secretary and was responsible for the Canadian Corn Bill. However, he disagreed with the policy of Sir Robert Peel to repeal the Corn Laws in Britain. Stanley now became one of the leader of the group that became known as the Protectionists.

In 1851 Stanley succeeded his father as 14th Earl of Derby. When the leader of the Whigs, Lord John Russell, resigned as Prime Minister in 1852, the Earl of Derby tried to form a government. Several leading figures, including Lord Palmerston and the Duke of Wellington refused to join the administration. One man who did accept a post was his son, Edward Stanley, who became under secretary for foreign affairs. When the House of Commons defeated his budget proposals in December 1852, he resigned.

Six years later the Earl of Derby returned as head of a minority government. Benjamin Disraeli, Derby's Chancellor of the Exchequer, suggested that Conservatives should extend the franchise. Disraeli told Derby that "our party is now a corpse, but it appears to me that, in the present perplexed state of affairs, a Conservative public pledge to parliamentary reform, a bold and decided course, might not only put us on our legs, but greatly help the country." Derby rejected the idea and as his own son, Edward Stanley, said to Disraeli, "he does not care for office, but wishes to keep things as they are and impede progress." In February 1858, Derby's government resigned after losing a vote of no confidence.

In 1866 the Earl of Derby became Prime Minister for a third time. Benjamin Disraeli, the new leader of Hose of Commons, pointed out that although attempts by Lord John Russell and William Gladstone to extend the franchise had failed, he believed that if the Liberals returned to power, they would certainly try again. Disraeli argued that unless the Conservatives took action they were in danger of being seen as an anti-reform party. This time Derby accepted Disraeli's arguments and in 1867 his government proposed a new Reform Act. Although some members of the Cabinet such as Lord Carnarvon and Lord Cranborne (later the Marquis of Salisbury) resigned in protest against this extension of democracy, the 1867 Reform Act was passed.

By 1868 the Earl of Derby was in poor health and he was forced to retire from office and was replaced by Benjamin Disraeli. Edward Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, died later that year.

The BBC website (visit link) tells us of Gladstone:

"Four-times Liberal prime minister of Great Britain, Gladstone was one of the dominant political figures of the Victorian era and a passionate campaigner on a huge variety of issues, including home rule for Ireland.

William Ewart Gladstone was born on 29 December 1809 in Liverpool, the son of a prosperous merchant. He was educated at Eton and Oxford University and was elected to parliament in 1832, as a Tory. He made his mark from the start and held junior offices in Robert Peel's government of 1834 - 1835. Although he was slowly moving towards liberalism, in 1843 Gladstone entered Peel's Conservative cabinet. When the Conservatives split in 1846, Gladstone followed Peel in becoming a Liberal-Conservative. Between 1846 and 1859 Gladstone was politically isolated, although he held some cabinet posts, including chancellor of the exchequer, a position he would ultimately hold three times.

In 1859, he joined the Liberals, becoming their leader in 1867 and the following year, prime minister for the first time. His government created a national elementary programme and made major reforms in the justice system and the civil service. Ireland was always a focus for Gladstone. In 1869 he disestablished the Irish Protestant church and passed an Irish Land Act to rein-in unfair landlords. A heavy defeat in the 1874 general election led to Gladstone's arch-rival Benjamin Disraeli becoming Conservative prime minister, and Gladstone retired as Liberal leader. He remained a formidable government opponent, attacking the Conservatives over their failure to respond to Turkish brutality in the Balkans - the 'Eastern Crisis'.

In 1880, Gladstone became prime minister for the second time, combining this with the office of chancellor for two years. His failure to rescue General Charles Gordon from Khartoum and slow reaction to other imperial issues cost him dear, and in 1885 the government's budget was defeated, prompting him to resign.

Gladstone's third (1886) and fourth (1892 - 1894) terms as prime minister were dominated by his crusade for home rule in Ireland. The years he was out of office were devoted to the issue as well. His first home rule bill in 1886 split the Liberal Party and was rejected. In 1893, another home rule bill was rejected by the House of Lords. Gladstone found himself increasingly at odds with his cabinet and, in 1894, he resigned. He died of cancer on 19 May 1898 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Blue Plaque managing agency: LCC

Individual Recognized: William Pitt / Esward Geoffrey Stanley / William Ewart Gladstone

Physical Address:
Chatham House
10 St James's Square
London, United Kingdom

Web Address: [Web Link]

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