Aretas Akers-Douglas, 1st Viscount Chilston

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The Right Honourable
The Viscount Chilston
GBE PC DL JP
Aretas Akers-Douglas.jpg
Home Secretary
In office
12 July 1902 – 5 December 1905
Monarch Edward VII
Prime Minister Arthur Balfour
Preceded by Charles Ritchie
Succeeded by Herbert Gladstone
Personal details
Born 21 October 1851 (2014-04-20UTC13:56:20)
West Malling, Kent
Died 15 January 1926 (2014-04-20UTC13:56:21)
London
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Adeline Austen-Smith
(d. 1929)
Alma mater University College, Oxford

Aretas Akers-Douglas, 1st Viscount Chilston GBE PC (21 October 1851 – 15 January 1926), born Aretas Akers and known as Aretas Akers-Douglas between 1875 and 1911, was a British Conservative statesman and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1880 until he was raised to the peerage in 1911. He notably served as Home Secretary under Arthur Balfour between 1902 and 1905.

Background and education[edit]

Akers-Douglas was born in West Malling, Kent, the son of Reverend Aretas Akers, parson of West Malling, and his wife Frances Maria, daughter of Francis Holles Brandram. He was educated at Eton and University College, Oxford, before being called to the Bar, Inner Temple, in 1875. That same year he took the additional surname of Douglas under royal licence in accordance with a relative's will.

Political career[edit]

"The Kent Gang"
As depicted by "Ape" (Carlo Pellegrini) in Vanity Fair, 26 September 1885

In 1880, Akers-Douglas was elected as Conservative Member of Parliament for East Kent and held it until it was divided under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885. In 1883, Akers-Douglas was appointed whip to the Conservatives. In the 1885 general election, he was elected MP for St Augustine's in the county of Kent.[1] He became Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, and retained this post (with a short interval in 1886 when Gladstone returned to power) for the next seven years. He became a Privy Counsellor in 1891.[2]

In 1895, Akers-Douglas was appointed First Commissioner of Works, with a seat in the Cabinet. Seven years later, when Arthur Balfour became Prime Minister, he became Home Secretary, and resigned three and a half years later when the Liberals took power.

In 1911, Akers-Douglas was created Viscount Chilston, of Boughton Malherbe in the County of Kent, and Baron Douglas of Baads, in the County of Midlothian.[3] The viscountcy was named for his country house at Chilston Park. During the First World War, Lord Chilston was Chief County Director for the British Red Cross Society and St John Ambulance, in recognition of which he was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in the 1920 civilian war honours.[4] Apart from his political career he was a Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for Kent, Edinburgh and Dumfries and a lieutenant in the East Kent Yeoman Cavalry.[5]

Family[edit]

Lord Chilston married Adeline Mary, daughter of Horatio Austen-Smith, in 1875. They had two sons and five daughters. He died at his London home in January 1926, aged 74, and was buried at Boughton Malherbe, Kent. He was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son, Aretas, who became British Ambassador to Russia. Lady Chilston died in February 1929.[6]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward Leigh Pemberton
William Deedes
Member of Parliament for East Kent
18801885
With: Edward Leigh Pemberton
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for St Augustine's
18851911
Succeeded by
Ronald John McNeill
Political offices
Preceded by
Lord Richard Grosvenor
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
1885–1886
Succeeded by
Arnold Morley
Preceded by
Arnold Morley
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
1886–1892
Succeeded by
Hon. Edward Marjoribanks
Preceded by
Herbert John Gladstone
First Commissioner of Works
1895–1902
Succeeded by
The Lord Windsor
Preceded by
Charles Ritchie
Home Secretary
1902–1905
Succeeded by
Herbert Gladstone
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Chilston
1911–1926
Succeeded by
Aretas Akers-Douglas