David Eccles, 1st Viscount Eccles

David McAdam Eccles, 1st Viscount Eccles CH KCVO PC (18 September 1904 – 24 February 1999), was an English Conservative politician.

The Viscount Eccles
David Eccles by Stoneman.jpg
1953 photograph of Eccles by Stoneman.
Minister of State for the Arts
Paymaster General
In office
20 June 1970 – 5 June 1973
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
Preceded byJennie Lee
(Minister for the Arts)
Harold Lever
(Paymaster General)
Succeeded byNorman St John-Stevas
(Minister for the Arts)
Maurice Macmillan
(Paymaster General)
Minister of Education
In office
14 October 1959 – 13 July 1962
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterHarold Macmillan
Preceded byGeoffrey Lloyd
Succeeded byEdward Boyle
In office
18 October 1954 – 13 January 1957
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterAnthony Eden
Preceded byFlorence Horsbrugh
Succeeded byQuintin Hogg
President of the Board of Trade
In office
13 January 1957 – 14 October 1959
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterHarold Macmillan
Preceded byPeter Thorneycroft
Succeeded byReginald Maudling
Minister of Works
In office
1 November 1951 – 18 October 1954
MonarchElizabeth II
George VI
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byGeorge Brown
Succeeded byNigel Birch
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
13 July 1962 – 24 February 1999
Hereditary peerage
Preceded byPeerage created
Succeeded byThe 2nd Viscount Eccles
Member of Parliament
for Chippenham
In office
24 August 1943 – 13 July 1962
Preceded byVictor Cazalet
Succeeded byDaniel Awdry
Personal details
Born(1904-09-18)18 September 1904
Died24 February 1999(1999-02-24) (aged 94)
Political partyConservative
Hon. Sybil Dawson
(m. 1929; died 1977)

(m. 1984)
ChildrenJohn Eccles, 2nd Viscount Eccles
Hon. Simon Eccles
Selina Petty-FitzMaurice, Marchioness of Lansdowne
Alma materNew College, Oxford
OccupationPolitician, businessman

Education and early careerEdit

Eccles was educated at Winchester College and New College, Oxford, where he obtained a second-class degree in PPE. He worked with the Central Mining Corporation in London and Johannesburg. During the Second World War he worked for the Ministry of Economic Warfare from 1939 to 1940 and for the Ministry of Production from 1942 to 1943 and was Economic Adviser to the British ambassadors at Lisbon and Madrid from 1940 to 1942.

Political careerEdit

Eccles was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Chippenham in a wartime by-election in 1943, a seat he held until 1962. He served in the Conservative administrations of Churchill, Eden and Macmillan respectively as Minister of Works from 1951 to 1954 (in which position he helped organise the 1953 Coronation and was appointed KCVO), as Minister of Education from 1954 to 1957 and again from 1959 to 1962 and as President of the Board of Trade from 1957 to 1959. Eccles was also President of the Board of Trade in January 1957.[1]

In 1962 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Eccles, of Chute in the County of Wiltshire, and in 1964 he was created Viscount Eccles, of Chute in the County of Wiltshire. Lord Eccles returned to the government in 1970 when Edward Heath appointed him Paymaster-General and Minister for the Arts, a post he held until 1973. As Minister for the Arts he clashed with the Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain Arnold Goodman over the funding of controversial plays and exhibitions and introduced mandatory admission charges at public museums and galleries. Lord Eccles was made a Doctor of Science (DSc) in 1966 by Loughborough University.[2] He also received an Honorary Science Doctorate from the University of Bath in 1972.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Eccles married, firstly, the Hon. Sybil Frances Dawson (1904–1977), daughter of Bertrand Dawson, 1st Viscount Dawson of Penn, on 1 October 1929. They had three children:

A collection of the couple's wartime letters were published under the title By Safe Hand: Letters of Sybil & David Eccles 1939-42 (Bodley Head, 1983).

Widowed in 1977, he married again, this time to book collector and philanthropist Mary Morley Crapo Hyde (1912–2003) on 26 September 1984. He died in 1999 at the age of 94, at home of natural causes, leaving an estate of approximately £2.4 million.[4]

Styles and honoursEdit

  • Mr David Eccles (1904–1943)
  • Mr David Eccles MP (1943–1953)
  • Sir David Eccles KCVO MP (1953–1962)
  • The Rt. Hon. The Lord Eccles KCVO PC (1962–1964)
  • The Rt. Hon. The Viscount Eccles KCVO PC (1964–1984)
  • The Rt. Hon. The Viscount Eccles CH KCVO PC (1984–1999)
Coat of arms of David Eccles, 1st Viscount Eccles
A three-masted Ship sails furled pennons and flags flying Or between two Wings addorsed Sable
Chevronny Argent and Sable per pale counterchanged two Torches erect Or enflamed proper
On either side a Wolf Sable armed and langued Gules gorged with a Plain Collar attached thereto a Chain reflexed over the back and resting the interior hind paw on a Portcullis chained Or
Truth and Beauty [5]


  1. ^ List of Presidents/Secretaries of State (2007), Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, London, UK, viewed 8 May 2008, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Honorary Graduates and University Medallists since 1966 (2008), Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK, viewed 29 April 2008, http://www.lboro.ac.uk/service/publicity/degree_days/hon_grads_66to79.html
  3. ^ "Corporate Information". Archived from the original on 25 May 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  4. ^ "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/71965. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ "Eccles, Viscount (UK, 1964)".


External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Chippenham
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Paymaster General
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for the Arts
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Eccles
Succeeded by
Baron Eccles