First Commissioner of Works

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Lord John Manners, later 7th Duke of Rutland, who served thrice as First Commissioner of Works in the 1850s and 1860s

The First Commissioner of Works and Public Buildings was a position within the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It took over some of the functions of the First Commissioner of Woods and Forests in 1851 when the portfolio of Crown holdings was divided into the public and the commercial. The position was frequently of cabinet level. The office was renamed Minister of Works and Buildings and First Commissioner of Works in 1940, Minister of Works and Planning in 1942, Minister of Works in 1943 and finally Minister of Public Buildings and Works in 1962. On 15 October 1970 the Ministry was amalgamated in the Department of the Environment.

List of Works Commissioners and Ministers[edit]

First Commissioners of Works (1851–1940)[edit]

First Commissioner of Works
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Ministry
12th Duke of Somerset.png The Right Honourable
Edward Seymour
Lord Seymour

MP for Totnes
(1804–1885)
1 August
1851
21 February
1852
Whig Russell I
Lord John Manners.jpg The Right Honourable
Lord John Manners

MP for Colchester
(1818–1906)
4 March
1852
17 December
1852
Conservative Who? Who?
WilliamMolesworth.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir William Molesworth
Bt

MP for Southwark
(1810–1855)
5 January
1853
21 July
1855
Radical Aberdeen
(PeeliteWhig)
Sir Benjamin Hall, Bt.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir Benjamin Hall
Bt

MP for Marylebone
(1802–1867)
21 July
1855
21 February
1858
Whig Palmerston I
Lord John Manners.jpg The Right Honourable
Lord John Manners

MP for Leicestershire North
(1818–1906)
26 February
1858
11 June
1859
Conservative Derby–Disraeli II
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Henry FitzRoy

MP for Lewes
(1807–1859)
18 June
1859
17 December
1859
Liberal Palmerston II
William Cowper-Temple, Lock & Whitfield woodburytype, 1876-85.jpg The Right Honourable
William Cowper

MP for Hertford
(1811–1888)
9 February
1860
26 June
1866
Liberal
Russell II
Lord John Manners.jpg The Right Honourable
Lord John Manners

MP for Leicestershire North
(1818–1906)
6 July
1866
1 December
1868
Conservative Derby–Disraeli III
AustenHenryLayard.jpg The Right Honourable
Austen Henry Layard

MP for Southwark
(1817–1894)
9 December
1868
26 October
1869
Liberal Gladstone I
Acton Smee Ayrton, Vanity Fair, 1869-10-23.jpg The Right Honourable
Acton Smee Ayrton

MP for Tower Hamlets
(1816–1886)
26 October
1869
11 August
1873
Liberal
William Patrick Adam 27 June 1874.jpg The Right Honourable
William Patrick Adam
DL

MP for Clackmannanshire and Kinross-shire
(1823–1881)
11 August
1873
17 February
1874
Liberal
Henry GC Gordon-Lennox, Vanity Fair, 1870-07-30.jpg The Right Honourable
Lord Henry Lennox

MP for Chichester
(1821–1886)
21 March
1874
14 August
1876
Conservative Disraeli II
Gerard Noel Vanity Fair 18 March 1871.jpg The Right Honourable
Gerard Noel

MP for Rutland
(1823–1911)
14 August
1876
21 April
1880
Conservative
William Patrick Adam 27 June 1874.jpg The Right Honourable
William Patrick Adam
DL

MP for Clackmannanshire and Kinross-shire
(1823–1881)
3 May
1880
1880 Liberal Gladstone II
No image.svg The Right Honourable
George Shaw-Lefevre

MP for Reading
(1831–1928)
29 November
1881
13 February
1885
Liberal
Archibald-Philip-Primrose-5th-Earl-of-Rosebery (cropped).jpg The Right Honourable
Archibald Primrose
5th Earl of Rosebery
PC

(1847–1929)
13 February
1885
9 June
1885
Liberal
David Plunket Vanity Fair 29 May 1880.jpg The Right Honourable
David Plunket
QC

MP for Dublin University
(1838–1919)
24 June
1885
28 January
1886
Conservative Salisbury I
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Albert Parker
3rd Earl of Morley
PC DL

(1843–1905)
17 February
1886
16 April
1886
Liberal Gladstone III
9thEarlOfElgin.jpg The Right Honourable
Victor Bruce
9th Earl of Elgin
PC

(1849–1917)
16 April
1886
20 July
1886
Liberal
David Plunket Vanity Fair 29 May 1880.jpg The Right Honourable
David Plunket
QC

MP for Dublin University
(1838–1919)
5 August
1886
11 August
1892
Conservative Salisbury II
No image.svg The Right Honourable
George Shaw-Lefevre
DL

MP for Bradford Central
(1831–1928)
18 August
1892
10 March
1894
Liberal Gladstone IV
Herbert Gladstone.jpg The Right Honourable
Herbert Gladstone

MP for Leeds West
(1854–1930)
10 March
1894
21 June
1895
Liberal Rosebery
Aretas Akers-Douglas.jpg The Right Honourable
Aretas Akers-Douglas
JP DL

MP for St Augustine's
(1851–1926)
4 July
1895
11 August
1902
Conservative Salisbury
(III & IV)

(Con.Lib.U.)
Earl of Plymouth.jpg The Right Honourable
Robert Windsor-Clive
14th Baron Windsor
PC

(1857–1923)
11 August
1902
4 December
1905
Conservative Balfour
(Con.Lib.U.)
Lewis Viscount Harcourt by Solomon J Solomon.jpg The Right Honourable
Lewis Vernon Harcourt

MP for Rossendale
(1863–1922)
10 December
1905
3 November
1910
Liberal  
Campbell-Bannerman
 
Asquith
(I–III)
Earl beauchamp1900.jpg The Right Honourable
William Lygon
7th Earl Beauchamp
GCMG PC

(1872–1938)
3 November
1910
6 August
1914
Liberal
Alfred Emmott.jpg The Right Honourable
Alfred Emmott
1st Baron Emmott
GCMG PC

(1858–1926)
6 August
1914
25 May
1915
Liberal
Lewis Viscount Harcourt by Solomon J Solomon.jpg The Right Honourable
Lewis Vernon Harcourt

MP for Rossendale
(1863–1922)
25 May
1915
10 December
1916
Liberal Asquith Coalition
(Lib.Con.Lab.)
Alfred Mond.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir Alfred Mond
Bt

MP for Swansea West
(1868–1930)
[Note 1]
10 December
1916
1 April
1921
Liberal Lloyd George
(I & II)

(Lib.Con.Lab.)
Crawford27.JPG The Right Honourable
David Lindsay
27th Earl of Crawford
KT DL PC FSA

(1871–1940)
1 April
1921
19 October
1922
Conservative
Ac.stonehaven.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir John Baird
Bt GCMG DSO

MP for Ayr Burghs
(1874–1941)
31 October
1922
22 January
1924
Conservative Law
Baldwin I
Frederick William Jowett 1924.jpg The Right Honourable
Fred Jowett

MP for Bradford East
(1864–1944)
22 January
1924
3 November
1924
Labour MacDonald I
Earl Peel cropped.jpg The Right Honourable
William Wellesley Peel
2nd Viscount Peel
GCE PC TD

(1867–1937)
10 November
1924
18 October
1928
Conservative Baldwin II
Charles (Charlie) Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry.jpg The Most Honourable
Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart
7th Marquess of Londonderry
KG MVO PC

(1878–1949)
18 October
1928
4 June
1929
Conservative
Photo 7 Council 1938, WRI George Lansbury head crop.jpg The Right Honourable
George Lansbury

MP for Bow and Bromley
(1859–1940)
7 June
1929
24 August
1931
Labour MacDonald II
Charles (Charlie) Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry.jpg The Most Honourable
Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart
7th Marquess of Londonderry
KG MVO PC

(1878–1949)
25 August
1931
5 November
1931
Conservative National I
(N.Lab.Con.Lib.N.Lib.)
William Ormsby-Gore 1936.jpg The Right Honourable
William Ormsby-Gore

MP for Stafford
(1885–1964)
5 November
1931
16 June
1936
Conservative National II
(N.Lab.Con.Lib.N.Lib.)
National III
(Con.N.Lab.Lib.N.)
Stanhope7.JPG The Right Honourable
James Stanhope
7th Earl Stanhope
KG DSO MC PC

(1880–1967)
16 June
1936
27 May
1937
Conservative
Sir Philip Sassoon.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir Philip Sassoon
Bt GBE CMG

MP for Hythe
(1888–1939)
27 May
1937
7 June
1939
Conservative National IV
(Con.N.Lab.Lib.N.)
Herwald Ramsbotham, 1st Viscount Soulbury.jpg The Right Honourable
Herwald Ramsbotham
OBE MC

MP for Lancaster
(1887–1971)
7 June
1939
3 April
1940
Conservative
Chamberlain War
(Con.N.Lab.Lib.N.)
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Herbrand Sackville
9th Earl De La Warr
PC JP

(1900–1976)
3 April
1940
18 May
1940
National Labour
No image.svg The Right Honourable
George Tryon
1st Baron Tryon
PC

(1871–1940)
18 May
1940
3 October
1940
Conservative Churchill War
(All parties)

Ministers of Works & Buildings and First Commissioner of Works (1940–1942)[edit]

Minister of Works & Buildings and First Commissioner of Works
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Ministry
No image.svg The Right Honourable
John Reith
1st Baron Reith
GCVO GBE PC

(1889–1971) [Note 2]
3 October
1940
11 February
1942
Independent
(National)
Churchill War
(All parties)

Ministers of Works and Planning (1942–1943)[edit]

Minister of Works and Planning
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Ministry
No image.svg The Right Honourable
John Reith
1st Baron Reith
GCVO GBE PC

(1889–1971)
3 October
1940
11 February
1942
Independent
(National)
Churchill War
(All parties)
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Wyndham Portal
1st Baron Portal
MVO DSO PC

(1885–1949)
22 February
1942
February
1943
Conservative

Ministers of Works (1943–1962)[edit]

Minister of Works
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Ministry
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Wyndham Portal
1st Baron Portal
MVO DSO PC

(1885–1949)
February
1943
21 November
1944
Conservative Churchill War
(All parties)
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Duncan Sandys

MP for Norwood
(1908–1987)
21 November
1944
26 July
1945
Conservative
Churchill Caretaker
(Con.N.Lib.)
No image.svg The Right Honourable
George Tomlinson

MP for Farnworth
(1890–1952)
4 August
1945
10 February
1947
Labour Attlee
(I & II)
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Charles Key

MP for Bow and Bromley
(1883–1964)
10 February
1947
28 February
1950
Labour
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Richard Stokes
MC

MP for Ipswich
(1897–1957)
28 February
1950
26 April
1951
Labour
No image.svg The Right Honourable
George Brown

MP for Belper
(1914–1985)
26 April
1951
26 October
1951
Labour
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Sir David Eccles
KCVO

MP for Chippenham
(1904–1999)
1 November
1951
18 October
1954
Conservative Churchill III
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Nigel Birch
OBE

MP for West Flintshire
(1906–1981)
18 October
1954
20 December
1955
Conservative
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Patrick Buchan-Hepburn

MP for Beckenham
(1901–1974)
20 December
1955
16 January
1957
Conservative Eden
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Hugh Molson

MP for High Peak
(1903–1991)
16 January
1957
22 October
1959
Conservative Macmillan
(I & II)
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Lord John Hope

MP for Edinburgh Pentlands
(1912–1996)
22 October
1959
16 July
1962
Conservative

Ministers of Public Buildings and Works (1962–1970)[edit]

Minister of Public Buildings and Works
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Ministry
Geoffrey Rippon (1970).jpg The Right Honourable
Geoffrey Rippon
QC

MP for Norwich South
(1924–1997)
16 July
1962
10 October
1964
Conservative Macmillan
(I & II)
Douglas-Home
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Charles Pannell

MP for Leeds West
(1902–1980)
19 October
1964
6 April
1966
Labour Wilson
(I & II)
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Reg Prentice

MP for East Ham North
(1923–2001)
6 April
1966
29 August
1967
Labour
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Bob Mellish

MP for Bermondsey
(1913–1998)
29 August
1967
30 April
1969
Labour
No image.svg The Right Honourable
John Silkin

MP for Deptford
(1923–1987)
30 April
1969
19 June
1970
Labour
Julian Amery 1965-11-10 (cropped).jpg The Right Honourable
Julian Amery

MP for Brighton Pavilion
(1919–1996)
23 June
1970
15 October
1970
Conservative Heath

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ MP for Swansea until 1918; MP for Swansea West thereafter
  2. ^ MP for Southampton until 21 October 1940; elevated to the House of Lords as Baron Reith thereafter