George Riddell, 1st Baron Riddell
Background and education
Riddell was born in Brixton Heath, London, the son of James Riddell, a photographer, and Isabel (née Young). His education was funded by one of his mother's five sisters and her husband. He became a clerk in a solicitor's office, and qualified as a solicitor himself in 1888, being placed first in all of England in his final exams.
After making a fortune Riddell left the law and went into the newspaper business. By 1903 he was managing director of the News of the World and also owned other newspapers. A close friend and ally of David Lloyd George, he was knighted in 1909, on the recommendation of H. H. Asquith. During the First World War, he liaised between the government and the press and represented the British press barons at the Paris Peace Conference and later peace conferences. For these services he was created a Baronet, of Walton Heath in the County of Surrey, in 1918 and raised to the peerage as Baron Riddell, of Walton Heath in the County of Surrey, in the 1920 New Year Honours. He appointment almost foundered—he had been secretly divorced in 1900 and that would have disqualified him in the king's view.
 He was the author of several books, among them Some Things that Matter (1922), Lord Riddell's War Diary, 1914–18, and Lord Riddell's Intimate Diary of the Peace Conference and After. He was not impressed by his contemporary, Winston Churchill.
Ridell was a close confidant and financial angel of David Lloyd George from 1908 to 1922, and Riddell's highly perceptive diary have made him, "Lloyd George's Boswell." During Lloyd George's first year as prime minister, in summer 1917, Riddell assessed his personality:
- His energy, capacity for work, and power of recuperation are remarkable. He has an extraordinary memory, imagination, and the art of getting at the root of a matter....He is not afraid of responsibility, and has no respect for tradition or convention. He is always ready to examine, scrap or revise established theories and practices. These qualities give him unlimited confidence in himself.... He is one of the craftiest of men, and his extraordinary charm of manner not only wins him friends, but does much to soften the asperities of his opponents and enemies. He is full of humour and a born actor....He has an instinctive power of divining the thoughts and intentions of people with whom he is conversing. His chief defects are: (1) Lack of appreciation of existing institutions, organisations, and stolid, dull people...their ways are not his ways and their methods are not his methods. (2) Fondness for a grandiose scheme in preference to an attempt to improve existing machinery. (3) Disregard of difficulties in carrying out big projects...he is not a man of detail.
Riddell married his cousin Annie, daughter of David William Allardice, in 1900. They had no children. He died in December 1934, aged 69, when the baronetcy and barony became extinct.
- thepeerage.com George Allardice Riddell, 1st and last Baron Riddell
- "No. 28275". The London Gazette. 30 July 1909. p. 5805.
- "No. 30527". The London Gazette. 15 February 1918. p. 2068.
- John Grigg, Lloyd George: war leader, 1916-1918 (2002) p 216.
- "No. 31712". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1919. p. 1.
- "No. 31761". The London Gazette. 30 January 1920. p. 1258.
- Riddell, George Allardice Riddell. 1922. Some Things That Matter. New York: Reynolds Pub. Co.
- John Grigg, "Lloyd George's Boswell" in Lloyd George: war leader, 1916-1918 (2002) pp 220-21.
- John Grigg. Lloyd George: war leader, 1916-1918 (2002) passim.
- A. J. A. Morris (September 2004; online edition, October 2006). "‘Riddell, George Allardice, Baron Riddell (1865–1934)’". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/35749. Retrieved 2007-11-28. (Subscription required (. )) Check date values in:
- Obituary, The Times, 6 December 1934
- Works by or about George Riddell, 1st Baron Riddell in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Europeana Collections 1914-1918 makes 425,000 First World War items from European libraries available online, including the Riddell Diaries
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|New creation||Baron Riddell