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Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe KG, PC (12 January 1858–20 June 1945), known as The Lord Houghton from 1885 to 1895 and as The Earl of Crewe from 1895 to 1911, was a Britishmarker statesman and writer.

Background and education

Crewe was the son of Richard Monckton Milnes, 1st Baron Houghton by his wife the Hon. Annabella, daughter of John Crewe, 2nd Baron Crewe, and was educated at Harrowmarker and Trinity College, Cambridgemarker.

Political career

A Liberal in politics, Crewe became private secretary to Lord Granville when Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1883–84), and in 1886 he was made a Lord-in-Waiting. In the Liberal administration of 1892–1895 he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with John Morley as Chief Secretary. In 1894 he succeeded to the estates of his uncle, Hungerford Crewe, 3rd Baron Crewe, and assumed the same year the additional surname of Crewe by Royal license. In 1895 he was created Earl of Crewe, in the County Palatine of Chester. From 1905 to 1908 he was Lord President of the Council in the Liberal government; in 1908, in Asquith's cabinet, he became Secretary of State for the Colonies (1910–15) and Liberal leader in the House of Lordsmarker. In this latter role, he played a key part in bringing the Parliament Act 1911 (depriving the Lords of its veto) to the statute book. His colonial responsibilities included terms as Secretary of State for India (1910–11 and 1911–15). He was further honoured in 1911 when he made Earl of Madeley, in the County of Stafford, and Marquess of Crewe.

Crewe served as Lord President of the Council again in 1915–16. He maintained a leading role in the education sector, serving as Chaiman of the Governing Body of Imperial College Londonmarker (1907–22), President of the Board of Education (1916) and Chancellor of Sheffield University. He was also chairman of London County Council in 1917. He was later Ambassador to Francemarker (1922–28), and Secretary of State for War in 1931. As Ambassador to France he launched a fund for the creation of a British Institute in Paris which has since developed into the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP).

Literary work

Crewe inherited his father's literary tastes, and published Stray Verses in 1890, besides other miscellaneous literary work. He also wrote a biography on his father-in-law, Lord Rosebery, published in 1931.

Family

Crewe married firstly Sibyl Marcia, daughter of Sir Frederick Graham, 3rd Baronet of Netherby, in 1880. They had three daughters and one son:

  • Lady Annabel Crewe-Milnes (1881-1948). In 1903 she married Arthur O'Neill (1876–1914), later Unionist MP for Mid Antrim. Their third son, Terence O'Neill, served as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.
  • Hon. Richard Charles Rodes Milnes (1882-1890).
  • Lady Celia Hermione Crewe-Milnes (b. 1884). She married Sir Edward Clive Milnes-Coates, 2nd Baronet.
  • Lady (Helen) Cynthia Crewe-Milnes (1884-1958). She married the Hon. George Charles Colville (1867-1943) and was mother of the Cabinet Secretary Sir John Colville.


After his first wife's death in 1889 he married secondly Lady Margaret, daughter of the 5th Earl of Rosebery, in 1899. They had a son, Richard George Archibald John Lucian Hungerford Crewe-Milnes, Earl of Madeley (1911-1922), and a daughter, Lady Mary Evelyn Hungerford Crewe-Milnes, first wife of the 9th Duke of Roxburghe. Lord Crewe died in June 1945, aged 87. As he had no surviving male heir his titles became extinct.

Trivia

His father-in-law, Lord Rosebery, had been Liberal Leader six years before he himself became Leader in the House of Lords of that party. Rosebery thought Crewe a reliable politician but a poor speaker. When it was announced to him that his daughter, the Marchioness of Crewe, was in labour, Rosebery quipped, "I hope that her delivery is not as slow as Crewe's".

Notes

References

  • Lord Crewe, 1858-1945. The likeness of a Liberal, James Pope Hennessy (Constable & Co, London, 1955).
  • Ian Packer, The Earl of Crewe in Brack et al. (eds.) Dictionary of Liberal Biography; Politico's, 1998 pp87–88



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