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Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax: Wikis


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The Right Honourable
 The Viscount Halifax 

In office
6 July 1846 – 21 February 1852
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Lord John Russell
Preceded by Henry Goulburn
Succeeded by Benjamin Disraeli

Born 20 December 1800(1800-12-20)
Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England
Died 8 August 1885 (aged 84)
Hickleton Hall, Doncaster, England
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Lady Mary Grey (d. 1884)
Alma mater Oriel College, Oxford

Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax GCB PC (20 December 1800 – 8 August 1885), known as Sir Charles Wood, Bt between 1846 and 1866, was a British Liberal politician and Member of Parliament. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1846 to 1852.



Halifax was the son of Sir Francis Wood, 2nd Baronet, and his wife Anne, daughter of Samuel Buck. He was educated at Eton and Oriel College, Oxford, where he studied classics and mathematics.

Political career

A Liberal and Member of Parliament from 1826 to 1866, Wood served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Lord John Russell's government (1846–1852), as President of the Board of Control under Lord Aberdeen (1852–1855), as First Lord of the Admiralty in Lord Palmerston's first administration (1855-1858), and as Secretary of State for India in Palmerston's second government (1859–1866). He succeeded to his father's baronetcy in 1846, and in 1866 he was elevated to the peerage as Viscount Halifax, of Monk Bretton in the West Riding of the County of York.

Wood's despatch

As the President of the Board of Control, Wood did a yeoman's job in spreading education in India when in 1854 he sent a despatch to Lord Dalhousie, the then Governor-General of India. It was recommended therein that:

  1. An education department was to be set in every province.
  2. Universities on the model of the London university be established in big cities such as Bombay, Calcuta and Madras.
  3. At least one government school be opened in every district.
  4. Affiliated private schools should be given grant in aid.
  5. The Indian natives should be given training in their mother tongue also.

In accordance with Wood's despatch, Education Departments were established in every province and universities were opened at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras in 1857 and in Punjab in 1882 and at Allahbad 1887.


Lord Halifax married Lady Mary, daughter of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, in 1829. They had four sons and three daughters. Lady Halifax died in 1884. Lord Halifax survived her by just over a year and died in August 1885, aged 84. He was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son Charles, who was the father of E. F. L. Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax.


An 1873 portrait of Lord Halifax by Anthony de Brie.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Duncombe
Charles Tennyson
Member of Parliament for Great Grimsby
Served alongside: George Heneage 1826–1830
George Harris from 1830
Succeeded by
John Villiers Shelley
George Harris
Preceded by
John Calcraft
James Ewing
Member of Parliament for Wareham
Succeeded by
John Hales Calcraft
New constituency Member of Parliament for Halifax
Served alongside: Rawdon Briggs to 1835
James Stuart-Wortley 1835–1837
Edward Protheroe 1837–1847;
Henry Edwards 1847–1852
Francis Crossley 1852–1959
James Stansfeld from 1859
Succeeded by
Edward Akroyd
James Stansfeld
Preceded by
John Greenwood
Reginald Vyner
Member of Parliament for Ripon
Served alongside: Robert Kearsley
Succeeded by
Robert Kearsley
Lord John Hay
Political offices
Preceded by
Edward Ellice
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Sir George Clerk, Bt
Preceded by
George Robert Dawson
First Secretary of the Admiralty
Succeeded by
Richard More O'Ferrall
Preceded by
Henry Goulburn
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
Benjamin Disraeli
Preceded by
John Charles Herries
President of the Board of Control
Succeeded by
Robert Vernon Smith
Preceded by
Sir James Graham, Bt
First Lord of the Admiralty
Succeeded by
Sir John Pakington, Bt
Preceded by
Lord Stanley
Secretary of State for India
Succeeded by
The Earl de Grey
Preceded by
The Earl of Kimberley
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Earl of Malmesbury
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Halifax
Succeeded by
Charles Lindley Wood
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Francis Wood
(of Barnsley) 
Succeeded by
Charles Lindley Wood


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