Baron Rea, of Eskdale in the County of Cumberland, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1937 for the businessman and Liberal politician Sir Walter Rea, 1st Baronet, who had earlier represented Scarborough, Bradford North and Dewsbury in the House of Commons. He had already been created a Baronet, of Eskdale in the County of Cumberland, in 1935. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the second Baron. During the Second World War he served as personal staff officer to Brigadier Colin Gubbins, the Head of SOE, a key British intelligence and guerrilla operations agency. Lord Rea served as Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords from 1955 to 1967. His daughter, the Right Hon. Ann Felicity Rea, married SOE veteran Malcolm Munthe in 1945. As of 2010[update] the titles are held by the second Baron's nephew, the third Baron, who succeeded in 1981. He is a physician. Lord Rea is one of the ninety elected hereditary peers that remain in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999, and sits on the Labour benches.
Russell Rea, father of the first Baron, was also a Member of Parliament and had been admitted to the Privy Council in 1909. The sculptor Betty Rea was the wife of the Hon. James Rea, younger son of the first Baron. They were the parents of the third Baron.
The family surname and the title of the barony, Rea, is pronounced "Ree".
Barons Rea (1937)
- Walter Russell Rea, 1st Baron Rea (1873–1948)
- Philip Russell Rea, 2nd Baron Rea (1900–1981)
- (John) Nicolas Rea, 3rd Baron Rea (b. 1928)
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Hon. Matthew James Rea (b. 1956).
- Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.
- Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]
- Lord Rea, Biography of Phillip Russell Rea: Journal of Liberal History, Issue 27, Summer 2000