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John Anderson, 1st Viscount Waverley: Wikis


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The Right Honourable
 The Viscount Waverley 

In office
24 September 1943 – 26 July 1945
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Preceded by Kingsley Wood
Succeeded by Hugh Dalton

In office
4 September 1939 – 4 October 1940
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
Winston Churchill
Preceded by Samuel Hoare
Succeeded by Herbert Morrison

Born 8 July 1882(1882-07-08)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died 4 January 1958 (aged 75)
Political party National

John Anderson, 1st Viscount Waverley, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, PC (8 July 1882 – 4 January 1958) was a Scottish politician who served under Winston Churchill as Lord President of the Council, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Home Secretary, Due to his service to Government during the Second World War he was often dubbed as 'The Home Front Prime Minister'.


Early Life

He was born in Edinburgh and studied mathematics and geology at the University of Edinburgh and chemistry at the University of Leipzig where he wrote a thesis on the chemistry of uranium. He was a brilliant student, winning numerous prizes, but at the age of 22 he decided to forsake a career in science and sat for the British civil service examinations, coming first, while also taking a degree in economics. In later life he was elected an honorary Fellow of the Royal Society.[1]

He was appointed to the Colonial Office in 1905. Later, he served in Ireland as Under-secretary, and became Permanent Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office in 1922, where he had to deal with the General Strike of 1926. His career in the civil service was capped by a posting as Governor of Bengal from 1932 to 1937.

Political Career

In early 1938, Anderson was elected to the House of Commons as a National MP, a nominal non-party supporter of the National Government, for the Scottish Universities. In October that year he entered Neville Chamberlain's Cabinet as Lord Privy Seal. In that capacity, he was put in charge of air raid preparations. After the outbreak of war in 1939, Anderson returned to the Home Office as Home Secretary, a position in which he served until he entered Winston Churchill's War Cabinet as Lord President of the Council in October 1940, succeeding Chamberlain. Following the unexpected death of Sir Kingsley Wood, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Anderson was appointed to that office, in which he served until the Labour victory in the general election of 1945. The University constituencies were abolished at the 1950 general election, and so Anderson left the Commons. He turned down an offer to join Churchill's peacetime administration that was formed in 1951, and was created Viscount Waverley, of Westdean in the County of Sussex, in 1952, dying six years later. Waverley is associated with the novels of Sir Walter Scott and thence gave its name to Waverley Station in Anderson's Edinburgh birthplace. Scott chose Waverley as the name of a character who was said to come from the south of England. Waverley Abbey was a Cistercian abbey in a bend of the River Wey in Surrey. However, the Waverley novels involving this character describe his exploits in Scotland.

Anderson was in charge of preparing air-raid precautions immediately prior to the outbreak of World War II. He initiated the development of a kind of air-raid shelter named the "Anderson shelter". This was a small sheet metal cylinder made of prefabricated pieces that could be assembled in a garden. It was eventually replaced by a larger model and in parts of the capital by more organized mass sheltering in the London underground.

See also



  1. ^ Lord Bridges, Henry Dale: "John Anderson, Viscount Waverley. 1882-1958." Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 4, Nov., 1958 pp. 306-325.

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
James Macmahon
Macmahon also remained Joint Under-Secretary
Joint Permanent Under-Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Office abolished
Preceded by
Sir Edward Troup
Permanent Under-Secretary for the Home Department
Succeeded by
Sir Russell Scott
Preceded by
Sir Stanley Jackson
Governor of Bengal
Succeeded by
The Lord Brabourne
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Ramsay MacDonald
Member of Parliament for Combined Scottish Universities
Constituency abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl De La Warr
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
Sir Samuel Hoare
Preceded by
Sir Samuel Hoare
Home Secretary
Succeeded by
Herbert Stanley Morrison
Preceded by
Neville Chamberlain
Lord President of the Council
Succeeded by
Clement Attlee
Preceded by
Sir Kingsley Wood
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
Hugh Dalton
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Waverley
Succeeded by
David Alastair Pearson Anderson


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