Edward Boyle, Baron Boyle of Handsworth

Edward Charles Gurney Boyle, Baron Boyle of Handsworth, CH, PC (31 August 1923 – 28 September 1981) was a British Conservative Party politician and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds.

The Lord Boyle of Handsworth
Sir Edward Boyle 1969.jpg
Minister of Education
In office
13 July 1962 – 1 April 1964
Preceded byDavid Eccles
Succeeded byQuintin Hogg
Personal details
Born31 August 1923
Died28 September 1981 (aged 58)
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford

Early life and careerEdit

Boyle was born in Kensington, London, the eldest son of Sir Edward Boyle, 2nd Baronet, and succeeded to his father's baronetcy in 1945.[1] He was educated at Eton College and graduated from Christ Church, Oxford, in 1949 with a third-class BA (later converted to an MA) in history.[2] From 1942 to 1945, he was a temporary junior administration officer at the Foreign Office. He worked at Bletchley Park in intelligence.[3]

Political careerEdit

Boyle entered Parliament in 1950 as MP for Birmingham Handsworth, a seat he would hold until his retirement in 1970. He served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Under-Secretary of State for Air from 1951 to 1952 and to the Under-Secretary of State for Defence in 1952, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Supply from 1954 to 1955, Economic Secretary to the Treasury from 1955 to 1956, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Education from 1957 to 1959, Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1959 to 1962, Minister of Education from 1962 to 1964 and Minister of State for Education and Science in 1964.[2] In 1957 he opened the new teaching block and science block extension at Abingdon School.[4]

University of LeedsEdit

The Edward Boyle library at the University of Leeds was named in his honour.

Boyle was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds in 1970. He was a Trustee of the British Museum from 1970 to 1981 and Chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of UK Universities from 1977 to 1979.

In 1977 he had been due to deliver the Reith Lectures for the BBC. Despite 2 years preparation time, he withdrew with 3 months notice.[5]

Boyle died from cancer in Leeds on 28 September 1981, aged 58. He was unmarried and childless and whilst his life peerage became extinct at his death, his baronetcy passed to his brother, Richard.[2]


On his retirement from parliament in 1970, Boyle was awarded a life peerage as Baron Boyle of Handsworth, of Salehurst in the County of Sussex.[6]

Boyle was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) by the following universities:[citation needed]

Boyle also received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 1977.[8]

Boyle was appointed a Companion of Honour (CH) on 13 June 1981.[9]

Flanders and Swann satirically cited "Edward Boyle's Law" : The greater the external pressure, the greater the volume of hot air.

Coat of arms of Edward Boyle, Baron Boyle of Handsworth
In front of a lion's head couped Argent a staff fesswise Gules.
Per bend raguly Gules and Argent two staves raguly in bend counterchanged.
Dexter an owl Proper, sinister a lion Argent.
God's Providence Is My Inheritance [10]

Edward Boyle Memorial Trust Foundation ScholarshipEdit

The Edward Boyle Memorial Trust was established in the wake of the death of the Lord Edward Boyle, in September 1981.

Its aims were the advancement of education, learning and music and its guidelines are as follows:

  • support will be given to talented young people at a time when they are in most need;
  • the Trust does not intend to do what institutions or individuals should do for themselves. It will help those with proven talent who have shown that they deserve help and are prepared to make their own substantial contribution;
  • the Trust will support originality and excellence;
  • administration costs will be kept to a minimum;
  • because some donors have indicated ways in which they wish their contributions to be used the Trustees will endeavor to meet their requests.

The Trust offered the following support:

  • Ove Arup/Edward Boyle Scholarships, intended for students from Hong Kong, Singapore or Malaysia following an undergraduate course in mechanical or electrical and electronic engineering, and
  • Medical Elective Bursaries intended for Commonwealth students.


  • The politics of education: Edward Boyle and Anthony Crosland in conversation with Maurice Kogan (Penguin education specials), ed. M. Kogan, Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1971.
  • The Bedside 'Guardian' 22 (1972-73). Introduction, London : Collins, 1973.


  1. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography accessed 26 July 2009
  2. ^ a b c Ramsden, John (2004). "Boyle, Edward Charles Gurney, Baron Boyle of Handsworth (1923–1981), politician". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/30844. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ University of Leeds Library Catalogue of Correspondence of Edward Boyle
  4. ^ "Founder's Day" (PDF). Abingdon School.
  5. ^ The Independent 4 June 2008 Robert Hanks: The Week in Radio
  6. ^ "No. 45142". The London Gazette. 3 July 1970. p. 7377.
  7. ^ "Graduation Ceremonies". www.bath.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh: Honorary Graduates". www1.hw.ac.uk. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  9. ^ "Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page - Companions of Honour". Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page - Companions of Honour. Archived from the original on 26 September 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  10. ^ Debrett's Peerage. 1973.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Birmingham Handsworth
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Economic Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Preceded by Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds
Succeeded by
William Walsh (acting)
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Baronet
(of Ockham)
Succeeded by