Gerald Loder, 1st Baron Wakehurst

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Loder in 1895

Gerald Walter Erskine Loder, 1st Baron Wakehurst, JP DL LLB (25 October 1861 – 30 April 1936) was a British barrister, businessman and Conservative politician. He is best remembered for developing the gardens at Wakehurst Place, Sussex.

Background and education[edit]

The fourth son of Sir Robert Loder, 1st Baronet, Member of Parliament for New Shoreham, Loder was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1] He became a barrister at the Inner Temple in 1888.


Loder was Conservative Member of Parliament for Brighton from 1889-1905. He was private secretary to the President of the Local Government Board (Charles Ritchie) from 1888-92 and to Lord George Hamilton (the Secretary of State for India) from 1896-1901. He served briefly under Arthur Balfour as a Lord of the Treasury in 1905.[citation needed]

A keen gardener, Loder purchased the Wakehurst Place estate in 1903 and spent 33 years developing the gardens, which today cover some two square kilometres (500 acres) and are owned by the National Trust. He was President of the Royal Arboricultural Society from 1926-27 and President of the Royal Horticultural Society from 1929 to 1931. He was a Director of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway from 1896,[2] and served as its last Chairman in December 1922.[3] He was a director of its successor, the Southern Railway, and later Chairman from 1934 until his resignation in December 1934.[4] In June 1934 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Wakehurst, of Ardingly in the County of Sussex.


Lord Wakehurst married Lady Louise de Vere Beauclerk, eldest daughter of William Beauclerk, 10th Duke of St Albans, in 1890. The couple had one son and four daughters:[5]

  • John de Vere Loder, 2nd Baron Wakehurst (born 5 February 1895, died 30 October 1970)
  • Hon Dorothy Cicely Sybil Loder (born 1896, died 1986)
  • Hon Victoria Helen Loder (born 1899, died Nov 1979)
  • Hon Diana Evelyn Loder (born 1899, died 1985)
  • Hon Mary Irene Loder (born 1 May 1902, died 7 January 1970)


Lord Wakehurst died in April 1936, aged 74, and was succeeded in the barony by his only son, John. The Loder Cup, New Zealand's oldest conservation award, is named after Lord Wakehurst.[6]


  1. ^ "Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine (LDR881GW)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ Searle, Dave. "LB&SCR Directors". LB&SCR online. Archived from the original on 6 July 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  3. ^ Searle, Dave. "LB&SCR Chairmen". LB&SCR online. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
  4. ^ Bonavia, Michael R. (1987). The History of the Southern Railway. London, UK: Unwin Hyman. ISBN 0-04-385107-X. pp. 24–25, 29.
  5. ^ The Peerage, entry for 1st Lord Wakehurst
  6. ^ New Zealand Department of Conservation; accessed 5 April 2014.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir William Thackeray Marriott
Sir William Tindal Robertson
Member of Parliament for Brighton
1889 – 1905
With: Sir William Thackeray Marriott 1889–1893
Bruce Canning Vernon-Wentworth 1893–1905
Succeeded by
Bruce Canning Vernon-Wentworth
Ernest Amherst Villiers
Party political offices
Preceded by
Sir Benjamin Stone
Chairman of the National Union of
Conservative and Constitutional Associations

Succeeded by
Lord Windsor
Business positions
Preceded by
Charles C. Macrae
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the
London, Brighton and South Coast Railway

December 1922
Company merged into
Southern Railway
Preceded by
Hon. Everard Baring
Chairman of the Board of Director of the
Southern Railway

Succeeded by
Robert Holland-Martin
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Wakehurst
1934 – 1936
Succeeded by
John de Vere Loder