Edward Boyle, Baron Boyle of Handsworth

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For other people named Edward Boyle, see Edward Boyle (disambiguation).

Edward Charles Gurney Boyle, Baron Boyle of Handsworth, Bt, CH, PC (31 August 1923 – 28 September 1981) was a British Conservative Party politician and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds.

Early life & career[edit]

Boyle was born in Kensington, London, the eldest son of Sir Edward Boyle, 2nd Baronet, and succeeded to his father's baronetcy in 1945.[1] He was educated at Eton and graduated from Christ Church, Oxford, in 1949 with a third-class BA (later converted to an MA) in history.[2] From 1942 to 1945, he was a temporary junior administration officer at the Foreign Office. He worked at Bletchley Park in intelligence.[3]

Political career[edit]

Boyle entered Parliament in 1950 as MP for Birmingham Handsworth, a seat he would hold until his retirement in 1970. He served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Under-Secretary of State for Air from 1951–52 and to the Under-Secretary of State for Defence in 1952, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Supply from 1954–55, Economic Secretary to the Treasury from 1955–56, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Education from 1957–59, Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1959–62, Minister of Education from 1962–64 and Minister of State for Education and Science in 1964.[2]

University of Leeds[edit]

The Edward Boyle library at the University of Leeds was named in his honour.

Boyle was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds in 1970. He was a Trustee of the British Museum from 1970 to 1981 and Chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of UK Universities from 1977 to 1979.

In 1977 he had been due to deliver the Reith Lectures for the BBC. Despite 2 years preparation time, he withdrew with 3 months notice.[4]

Boyle died from cancer in Leeds on 28 September 1981, aged 58. He was unmarried and childless and whilst his life peerage became extinct at his death, his baronetcy passed to his brother, Richard.[2]


On his retirement from parliament in 1970, Boyle was awarded a life peerage as Baron Boyle of Handsworth, of Salehurst in the County of Sussex.

Boyle was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) by the following universities:[5]

Boyle was appointed a Companion of Honour (CH) on 13 June 1981.[7]

Flanders and Swann satirically cited "Edward Boyle's Law" : The greater the external pressure, the greater the volume of hot air.


  • The politics of education: Edward Boyle and Anthony Crosland in conversation with Maurice Kogan (Penguin education specials), ed. M. Kogan, Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1971.
  • The Bedside 'Guardian' 22 (1972-73). Introduction, London : Collins, 1973.


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Harold Roberts
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Handsworth
Succeeded by
Sydney Chapman
Political offices
Preceded by
Reginald Maudling
Economic Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Derek Walker-Smith
Preceded by
Jocelyn Simon
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Anthony Barber
Academic offices
Preceded by
Roger Stevens
Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds
Succeeded by
William Walsh (acting)
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward Boyle
(of Ockham)
Succeeded by
Richard Boyle