Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane: Wikis


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The Right Honourable
 The Viscount Haldane 

In office
1924 – 1924
Preceded by The Viscount Cave
Succeeded by The Viscount Cave

In office
1912 – 1915
Preceded by The Earl Loreburn
Succeeded by The Lord Buckmaster

In office
10 December 1905 – 12 June 1912
Preceded by H. O. Arnold-Forster
Succeeded by J. E. B. Seely

Born 30 July 1856(1856-07-30)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died 19 August 1928 (aged 72)
Alma mater Göttingen University and University of Edinburgh
Profession Barrister
The Labour Lord Chancellor.
A forecast.
Lord Haldane.
Prescient cartoon from Punch magazine 3 March 1920, after Haldane's term as Liberal Lord Chancellor and three years before his term as Labour Lord Chancellor.

Richard Burdon Sanderson Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane, KT, OM, PC, KC FRS, FSA (30 July 1856 – 19 August 1928), was an important British Liberal and Labour politician, lawyer, and philosopher.




Childhood and Family Background

Lord Haldane was born in Edinburgh, the son of Robert Haldane and his wife Mary Elizabeth Burdon-Sanderson. He was the grandson of the Scottish evangelist James Alexander Haldane. His brother was respiratory physiologist John Scott Haldane, his nephew was JBS Haldane and his sister was the author Elizabeth Haldane.

Haldane received his first education at the Edinburgh Academy and at the Göttingen University and University of Edinburgh where he received first-class honors in Philosophy and as Gray scholar and Ferguson scholar in philosophy of the four Scottish Universities. After studying law in London, he was called to the bar in 1879 and was a very successful lawyer. Haldane remained a lifelong bachelor after his fiancée broke off their engagement.

In 1885 he was elected a Liberal member of Parliament for Haddingtonshire. In 1895, he helped found the London School of Economics. He was also a member of the Coefficients dining club of social reformers set up in 1902 by the Fabian campaigners Sidney and Beatrice Webb. In 1904 he was President of the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club and gave the Toast to Sir Walter at the clubs annual dinner. In 1905, he was appointed Secretary of State for War in Henry Campbell Bannerman's administration. Haldane, a prominent Liberal Imperialist and close associate of Herbert Henry Asquith, was a strong advocate of British commitments on the continent, and implemented the "Haldane Reforms", a wide-ranging set of reforms aimed at preparing the army for participation in a possible European war. The main element of this was the establishment of the British Expeditionary Force, along with the creation of the Imperial General Staff, the Territorial Force, the Officer Training Corps, and the Special Reserve. He was also instrumental in the creation the Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 1909, which provided the fledgling aircraft industry in the United Kingdom with a sound body of science on which to base the development of aircraft for the next seventy years (it was disbanded in 1979). This institution was soon copied by many other major developed countries.

He was given a peerage in 1911, becoming the Viscount Haldane. Upon Lord Loreburn's retirement in 1912, Haldane succeeded him as Lord Chancellor, but was forced to resign in 1915, after being falsely accused of pro-German sympathies. The accusations were widely believed, even being echoed in a popular music hall song ("All dressed up and nowhere to go") in the revue "Mr Manhattan".

As the war progressed, Haldane moved increasingly close to the Labour Party but he was held back by his ties to the Liberal Party and to Asquith. It was not until the general election of 1923 that Haldane formally sided with Labour, and made several speeches on behalf of Labour candidates. When the Labour government was formed by Ramsay MacDonald, Haldane was recruited to serve once again as Lord Chancellor. He was also joint Leader of the Labour Peers with Lord Parmoor. Haldane was a vital member of the Cabinet as he was one of only three members who had sat in a cabinet before; the other two had sat only briefly and for junior posts.

Haldane also served as second Chancellor of the University of Bristol, and was elected Chancellor of the University of St Andrews shortly before his death. He died suddenly of heart disease at his home in Auchterarder, Scotland, on 19 August 1928.[1]


He co-translated the first English edition of Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation, published between 1883 and 1886. He wrote several philosophical works, the best known of which is The Reign of Relativity (1921), which dealt with the philosophical implications of the theory of relativity.

He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1907 to 1908.


Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane's ancestors in three generations
Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane Father:
Robert Haldane
Paternal Grandfather:
James Alexander Haldane
Paternal Great-Grandfather:
Captain James Haldane of Airthrey House
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Paternal Grandmother:
Mary Joass
Paternal Great-Grandfather:
Paternal Great-Grandmother:
Mary Elizabeth Burdon-Sanderson
Maternal Grandfather:
Richard Burdon Sanderson of West Jesmond and Otterburn Dene
Maternal Great-Grandfather:
Maternal Great-Grandmother:
Maternal Grandmother:
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Maternal Great-Grandmother:


  1. ^ "Ex-War Secretary and Lord Chancellor Succumbs Suddenly to Heart Disease. Charges of Pro-Germanism Made Him Unpopular in 1914. Was Labor Cabinet Minister. Haldane Active in Many Fields. Became an M.P. in 1885.". New York Times. 20 August 1928. Retrieved 2008-08-15. "Lord Haldane, veteran statesman and philosopher, who will be remembered as one of the greatest of British War Ministers and who was twice Lord Chancellor of England, died suddenly today of heart disease at his home in Auchterarder, Scotland."  

External links

See also

Lyman, Richard W. (1957). The First Labour Government. London: Chapman & Hall. ISBN 0846217847.  

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Lord Elcho
Member of Parliament for Haddingtonshire
1885 – 1911
Succeeded by
John Deans Hope
Political offices
Preceded by
Hugh Oakeley Arnold-Forster
Secretary of State for War
Succeeded by
John Seely
Preceded by
The Earl of Loreburn
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
The Lord Buckmaster
Preceded by
The Viscount Cave
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
The Viscount Cave
Preceded by
The Marquess Curzon of Kedleston
Leader of the House of Lords
Succeeded by
The Marquess Curzon of Kedleston
Academic offices
Preceded by
Robert Finlay
Rector of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
George Wyndham
Preceded by
Henry Overton Wills III
Chancellor of the University of Bristol
Succeeded by
Winston Churchill
Preceded by
The Earl Haig
Chancellor of the University of St Andrews
Succeeded by
The Earl Baldwin of Bewdley
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New Creation
Viscount Haldane
Succeeded by


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