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Lord Aberconway

Charles Benjamin Bright McLaren, 1st Baron Aberconway, PC, QC, JP (12 May 1850 – 23 January 1934), known as Sir Charles McLaren, 1st Baronet between 1902 and 1911, was a Scottish jurist and Liberal Party politician. He was a landowner and industrialist.



Born in Edinburgh, McLaren was the son of the politician Duncan McLaren. The latter's third wife, his mother Priscilla, was the daughter of Jacob Bright and the sister of the Liberal statesman John Bright. McLaren was educated at Grove House School and studied then at the University of Heidelberg as well as the University of Bonn.[1] He finally graduated from the University of Edinburgh first class honours with a Master of Arts.

Political career

McLaren began his career in journalism, but turned to the law and in 1874, he was admitted to Lincoln's Inn as a barrister. In 1880, he was elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament (MP) for Stafford; he served that constituency until 1886. In 1892, he returned to the Commons as MP for Bosworth, which he represented until 1910.

McLaren's political career advanced during his second term. In 1897, he was appointed a Queen's Counsel[2] and in 1902 was created a Baronet, of Bodnant, in the County of Denbigh.[3] He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1908, and held the office of Justice of the Peace in Middlesex, Flint, Denbighshire, and Surrey. In 1911, a year after he had left the Commons (his son replaced him), he was raised to the Peerage of the United Kingdom with the title Baron Aberconway, of Bodnant, in the County of Denbigh.

McLaren was decorated with the 3rd class of the Japanese Order of the Sacred Treasure and received the Serbian Order of Takova. He was awarded a Commander of the Greek Order of the Redeemer.

Career in industry

His father-in-law, a noted industrialist, died in 1895, and McLaren became increasingly involved in the management of the companies inherited from him. He would become chairman of the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company and the British Iron Trade Association.[1] McLaren chaired also the London based Metropolitan Railway Company and the shipbuilding firm John Brown & Company.[1]


On 6 March 1877, McLaren married Laura, the daughter of the chemist Henry Davis Pochin, in Westminster; the couple had four children. He and his wife were neighbours and friends of James McNeill Whistler, owning several of his works.[4]

Laura died in 1933 and McLaren survived her until the following year. On his death in 1934, in Belgrave Square in London, the barony and baronetcy passed to his eldest son, Henry. His second son Francis sat also in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, however was killed during the First World War in his father's lifetime. The older daughter Florence was a socialite as well as activist and married the journalist Sir Henry Norman, 1st Baronet. Her younger sister Elsie was the wife of Sir Edward Johnson-Ferguson, 2nd Baronet.



  • Charles Roger Dod and Robert Philip Dod (1915). Dod's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland for 1915. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent and Co. Ltd..  

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thomas Salt
Alexander MacDonald
Member of Parliament for Stafford
2-seat constituency until 1885

With: Alexander Macdonald 1880–1881
Thomas Salt 1881–1885
Succeeded by
Thomas Salt
Preceded by
James Ellis
Member of Parliament for Bosworth
1892December 1910
Succeeded by
Henry McLaren
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Aberconway
1911 – 1934
Succeeded by
Henry McLaren
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Bodnant)
1902 – 1934
Succeeded by
Henry McLaren


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