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The Right Honourable
 The Viscount Chilston 

In office
12 July 1902 – 5 December 1905
Monarch Edward VII
Prime Minister Arthur Balfour
Preceded by Charles Ritchie
Succeeded by Herbert Gladstone

Born 21 October 1851 (2010-01-15T07:35:38)
West Malling, Kent
Died 15 January 1926 (2010-01-15T07:35:39)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Adeline Austen-Smith
(d. 1929)
Alma mater University College, Oxford

Aretas Akers-Douglas, 1st Viscount Chilston GBE PC (21 October 1851 – 15 January 1926), born Aretas Akers, was a British Conservative statesman and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1880 until he was raised to the peerage in 1911. He notably served as Home Secretary under Arthur Balfour between 1902 and 1905.


Background and education

Akers-Douglas was born in West Malling, Kent, the son of Reverend Aretas Akers, parson of West Malling, and his wife Frances Maria, daughter of Francis Holles Brandram. He was educated at Eton and University College, Oxford, before being called to the Bar, Inner Temple, in 1875. That same year he took the additional surname of Douglas under royal licence in accordance with a relative's will. He was a DL and J.P. Kent, Edinburgh, and Dumfries. He was a lieutenant in the East Kent Yeoman Cavalry. [1]

Political career

In 1880, Akers-Douglas was elected as Conservative Member of Parliament for East Kent and held it until it was divided under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885. In 1883, Akers-Douglas was appointed whip to the Conservatives. In the 1885 general election, he was elected MP for St Augustine's in the county of Kent.[2] He became Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, and retained this post (with a short interval in 1886 when Gladstone returned to power) for the next seven years. He became a Privy Counsellor in 1891.[3]

In 1895, Akers-Douglas was appointed First Commissioner of Works, with a seat in the Cabinet. Seven years later, when Arthur Balfour became Prime Minister, he became Home Secretary, and resigned three and a half years later when the Liberals took power.

In 1911, Akers-Douglas was created Viscount Chilston, of Boughton Malherbe in the County of Kent, and Baron Douglas of Baads, in the County of Midlothian.[4] During the First World War, Lord Chilston was Chief County Director for the British Red Cross Society and St John Ambulance, in recognition of which he was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in the 1920 civilian war honours.[5]


Lord Chilston married Adeline Mary, daughter of Horatio Austen-Smith, in 1875. They had two sons and five daughters. He died at his London home in January 1926, aged 74, and was buried at Boughton Malherbe, Kent. He was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son, Aretas, who became British Ambassador to Russia. Lady Chilston died in February 1929.[6]


  1. ^ Debretts Guide to the House of Commons 1886
  2. ^ Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Aretas Akers-Douglas
  3. ^ London Gazette: no. 26176, p. 3367, 26 June 1891. Retrieved on 2008-12-11.
  4. ^ London Gazette: no. 28512, p. 5168, 11 July 1911. Retrieved on 2008-12-11.
  5. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31840, p. 3757, 26 March 1920. Retrieved on 2008-12-11.
  6. ^ the


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward Leigh Pemberton
William Deedes
Member of Parliament for East Kent
With: Edward Leigh Pemberton
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for St Augustine's
Succeeded by
Ronald John McNeill
Political offices
Preceded by
Lord Richard Grosvenor
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Arnold Morley
Preceded by
Arnold Morley
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Hon. Edward Marjoribanks
Preceded by
Herbert John Gladstone
First Commissioner of Works
Succeeded by
The Lord Windsor
Preceded by
Charles Ritchie
Home Secretary
Succeeded by
Herbert Gladstone
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Chilston
Succeeded by
Aretas Akers-Douglas


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