Geoffrey Howard (Liberal politician)

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For other people named Geoffrey Howard, see Geoffrey Howard (disambiguation).
The Honourable
Geoffrey Howard
Geoffrey Howard 1906 transparent.png
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
In office
6 February 1911 – 25 May 1915
Monarch George V
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by Sir John Fuller, Bt
Succeeded by Cecil Beck
Personal details
Born 12 February 1877
Died 20 June 1935 (1935-06-21) (aged 58)
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Hon. Ethel Methuen
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

The Honourable Geoffrey William Algernon Howard JP (12 February 1877 – 20 June 1935) was a British Liberal politician. He served as Vice-Chamberlain of the Household under H. H. Asquith between 1911 and 1915.

Background and education[edit]

Howard was the fifth son of The 9th Earl of Carlisle and The Honourable Rosalind Frances Stanley, daughter of The 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley.[1] He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a Master of Arts.[1][2] He was also joint Secretary of Cambridge University Liberal Club from 1897 to 1899.[3]

On the break-up of his father's estates (which had been left to his mother and subsequently to his sister Lady Mary, wife of Gilbert Murray), he was allocated Castle Howard.[4]

Political career[edit]

Howard was selected as Liberal candidate for the Eskdale division of Cumberland at the 1906 General Election. As part of the Liberal landslide victory he gained the seat for the party, ousting th sitting Conservative Claude Lowther with a wing of 6%. [5]

In 1909 he was appointed private secretary to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, Harold Tennant. The Liberal Party lost ground at the January 1910 general election, but Howard held his seat, and was appointed private secretary to the Prime Minister H. H. Asquith.

Another General Election followed 11 months later but this time Howard lost his Eskdale seat to Claude Lowther.[5]

Out of Parliament, he was keen to make a return as soon as possible. In 1911 a vacancy occurred in the Westbury division of Wiltshire when the sitting Liberal MP resigned to take up a diplomatic appointment. Howard was chosen as the Liberal candidate for the resulting by-election and retained the seat with a slightly-reduced majority.[6]

In 1911 Asquith appointed him Vice-Chamberlain of the Household,[7] a post he held until 1915.[8] He then served as a Junior Lord of the Treasury from 1915[9] to 1916.[1] In 1917 Asquith was replaced as Prime Minister by Lloyd George and went into opposition to the Coalition Government. Howard followed Asquith into opposition. As a result, when the Coalition was endorsing candidates for the 1918 General election, at Westbury, endorsement was given to his Unionist opponent George Llewellen Palmer, who defeated Howard by a margin of 17%.[10]

At the 1922 general election, he sought a return to Parliament in his old stomping ground of Cumberland when he contested the unionist-held North Cumberland. However, he was lost narrowly, by a margin of 1.6%.[11]

The next year, at the 1923 general election, Howard fought the Luton division of Bedfordshire. The Liberals were experiencing something of a revival nationally, which helped him win the seat from the sitting Unionist Sir John Prescott Hewett.

Another general election followed a year later in 1924, and with the Unionists in the ascendency, he lost his seat. This effectively ended Howard's parliamentary career as he did not contest another parliamentary seat.

Apart from his political career Howard was also a Justice of Peace and a temporary lieutenant in the Royal Naval Division in 1914.[1] In 1931 he became Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire,[12] which he remained until his death four years later.[13]


Howard married the Honourable Ethel Christian Methuen, daughter of the Field Marshal Paul Methuen, 3rd Baron Methuen, on 15 May 1915. They had five children, two daughters and three sons, including Dame Christian Howard and the life peer George Howard, Baron Howard of Henderskelfe. His other two sons, Mark and Christopher, were both killed in action in 1944. Ethel Howard died in April 1932, aged 43. Howard died in June 1935, aged 58.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Hon. Geoffrey William Algernon Howard
  2. ^ "Howard, the Hon. Geoffrey William Algernon (HWRT895GW)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ The Howard family
  5. ^ a b British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
  6. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885-1918, Craig, F. W. S. (1974)
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28463. p. 945. 7 February 1911.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29183. p. 5384. 4 June 1915.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29189. p. 5630. 11 June 1915.
  10. ^ British parliamentary election results 1918-1949, Craig, F. W. S. (1974)
  11. ^ British parliamentary election results 1918-1949, Craig
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33755. p. 6104. 22 September 1931.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34182. p. 4772. 23 July 1935.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Claude Lowther
Member of Parliament for Eskdale
1906Dec. 1910
Succeeded by
Claude Lowther
Preceded by
Sir John Fuller
Member of Parliament for Westbury
Succeeded by
George Llewellen Palmer
Preceded by
John Prescott Hewett
Member of Parliament for Luton
Succeeded by
Terence O'Connor
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir John Fuller, Bt
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Cecil Beck
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Bell, Bt
Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire
Succeeded by
The Lord Bolton