Edward Gerald Strutt

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Edward Gerald Strutt CH (born 10 April 1854 in Witham, Essex, UK; died 8 March 1930 in Hatfield Peverel, Essex, UK) was a British agriculturist who played an important role in British food and agricultural planning during World War I, for which he received the Order of the Companions of Honour in 1917. As well as running his family's estates, advising on agriculture, and serving on various government committees, he co-founded the surveyors and land agents Strutt & Parker.[1][2]

Family and early life[edit]

He was the fifth son of John James Strutt, second Baron Rayleigh, born at the family estate, Terling Place, in Essex in 1854. He was educated at Winchester College and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was then apprenticed to a firm of land agents, Rawlence and Squarey.

He married Maria Louisa Tufnell (1854–1938) in 1878 and they had had five sons (two of whom died in infancy) and three daughters. One of his grandsons is Sir Nigel Strutt.

He was the brother of physicist John Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh (co-discoverer of argon and discoverer of Rayleigh scattering) and uncle of physicist Robert Strutt, 4th Baron Rayleigh.


In 1877 he cofounded the firm of Strutt & Parker, surveyors and land agents, with his childhood friend Charles Parker. Initially the firm acted as land agents for Guy's Hospital, London. He later became president of the Surveyors' Institute.

In 1876, he began the management of the family's estates in Essex, but initially most of the land was let out, requiring little work. However, from 1878 following bad harvests and a fall in the price of wheat, he took more direct control, switching to a system of arable and dairy farming. His improvements to dairy farming included the growing of lucerne (alfalfa) and other grasses as feed, increased hygiene measures, and testing for tuberculin to remove sickly cattle. He also founded Lord Rayleigh's Dairies Ltd to sell his milk.[1]

During World War I, he was involved in food and agricultural policy, serving as a member of Lord Milner's food production committee. Submarine warfare severely reduced food imports, meaning it was essential to maximise food production in the UK. He helped frame the Corn Production Act 1917 which encouraged ploughing up pasture and replacing with crops. He served on many government committees: on post-war agriculture policy, the Royal Commission on Oxford and Cambridge universities (1920–22) and the Royal Commission on tariffs (1923).[1] He also served as an honorary advisor to the Board of Agriculture, and was an alderman of Essex County Council.[3]

He also pioneered sugar-beet production in the UK.[1]


He died 8 March 1930 in Hatfield Peverel, Essex, UK, following heart trouble.[2] His estate had a gross value of GBP 170,636.[4]


He was made a Companion of Honour in 1917 for his wartime service.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Rayleigh, ‘Strutt, Edward Gerald (1854–1930)’, rev. John Martin, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  2. ^ a b "UNCLE OF LORD RAYLEIGH: Death of the Hon. Edward Gerald Strutt", The Scotsman; Mar 10, 1930; pg. 8
  3. ^ THE HON. E. G. STRUTT (Obituary), The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959); Mar 10, 1930; p 12
  4. ^ "RECENT WILLS: Suryeyor and Farmer's Will Altered: DEPRESSED AGRICULTURE", The Manchester Guardian; Apr 21, 1930; pg. 7

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