Douglas Clifton Brown, 1st Viscount Ruffside

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The Viscount Ruffside
Clifton Brown in 1925
Speaker of the House of Commons
of the United Kingdom
In office
3 March 1943 – 31 October 1951
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Clement Attlee
Preceded byEdward FitzRoy
Succeeded byWilliam Morrison
Member of Parliament
for Hexham
In office
14 December 1918 – 16 November 1923
Preceded byRichard Durning Holt
Succeeded byVictor Finney
In office
29 October 1924 – 4 October 1951
Preceded byVictor Finney
Succeeded byRupert Speir
Personal details
Born16 August 1879 (1879-08-16)
Died5 May 1958 (1958-05-06) (aged 78)
Violet Arbuthnot Wollaston
(m. 1907)
RelationsHoward Clifton Brown (brother)
ChildrenAudrey Clifton Brown
Parent(s)James Clifton Brown
Amelia Rowe Brown
EducationEton College
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge

Douglas Clifton Brown, 1st Viscount Ruffside, PC, JP, DL (16 August 1879 – 5 May 1958) was a British politician who represented the Conservative Party (UK). He served as Speaker of the House of Commons from 1943 to 1951. Upon stepping down as Speaker he became the Viscount Ruffside; the peerage became extinct with his death.

Early life[edit]

Clifton Brown was born on 16 August 1879. He was the fifth of ten children born to Amelia (née Rowe) Brown and Colonel James Clifton Brown, a Liberal Party Member of Parliament.[1] His maternal grandparents were Charles Rowe, who was mixed race, due to being of African descent, and his Lima-born wife Sarah.[2][3] His elder brother was Howard Clifton Brown[citation needed]

His paternal grandparents were Alexander Brown and his wife Sarah Benedict Brown. His great-grandfather was the banker and merchant Sir William Brown, 1st Baronet, and his uncle was Liberal politician Sir Alexander Brown, 1st Baronet.[citation needed]

Clifton Brown was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge.[4]


Clifton Brown was a lieutenant in the Lancashire Artillery when on 26 March 1902 he was commissioned a second-lieutenant in the 1st Dragoon Guards,[5] serving in South Africa during the end of the Second Boer War. He advanced to major in the regiment, and later became a lieutenant-colonel in the Volunteer force.

Political career[edit]

Clifton Brown was the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Hexham from 1918 to 1923 and from 1924 to 1951.[6] He was a Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons from 1938 to 1943 and Speaker of the House of Commons from 1943 to 1951.[citation needed] He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1941[7] and raised to the peerage as Viscount Ruffside, of Hexham in the County of Northumberland, in 1951.[8] A private act of Parliament was passed to provide him with a pension as former Speaker.[9]

Personal life[edit]

In 1907, Ruffside was married to Violet Cicely Kathleen Wollaston (1882–1969), daughter of Frederick Eustace Arbuthnot Wollaston.[10] They were the parents of one child:[11]

Ruffside died in May 1958, aged 78. As there were no surviving male issue from the marriage, the viscountcy became extinct. His widow, the Viscountess Ruffside, died in November 1969, aged 87.[citation needed]


Coat of arms of Douglas Clifton Brown, 1st Viscount Ruffside
Lord Ruffside was an agnate of the Brown baronets of Richmond hill. His arms, as displayed in the speaker's chamber, are the same as those in the baronets' arms.[citation needed]
Gules a Chevron Or between two Bear's Paws erased in chief and four hands conjoined in saltire of the second in base on a Chief engrailed Or an Eagle displayed Sable


  1. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. pp. 155–156. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
  2. ^ Ulrich Muecke (ed.), The Diary of Heinrich Witt Archived 25 September 2020 at the Wayback Machine (Vol. 1, pp. 101, 156–157 and 190.)
  3. ^ Alfonso W. Quiroz, Corrupt Circles: A History of Unbound Graft in Peru (pp. 105–106)
  4. ^ "Brown, Douglas Clifton (BRWN898DC)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  5. ^ "No. 27419". The London Gazette. 25 March 1902. p. 2076.
  6. ^ " House of Commons: Hertford to Honiton". Archived from the original on 11 February 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ Privy Counsellors 1915–1968[usurped]
  8. ^ "No. 39408". The London Gazette. 14 December 1951. p. 6523.
  9. ^ Mr. Speaker Clifton Brown's Retirement Act, 1951; "Written Answers: Pensioners (Statistics)". Hansard. UK Parliament. 7 March 1952. HC ser 5 vol 497 col 93W. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  10. ^ "d". Archived from the original on 10 March 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  11. ^ a b "Lady Hylton-Foster". The Telegraph. 5 November 2002. Retrieved 12 June 2019.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Hexham
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Hexham
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairman of Ways and Means
Succeeded by
Preceded by Speaker of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Ruffside