George Kemp, 1st Baron Rochdale

George Kemp

George Kemp, 1st Baron Rochdale, CB (9 June 1866 – 24 March 1945) was a British politician, soldier, businessman and cricketer.

Education and businessEdit

Kemp was born in Rochdale, Lancashire and educated at Shrewsbury. Matriculating at Balliol College, Oxford in 1883, aged 16, Kemp transferred to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1884, where he graduated B.A. in the Classical Tripos in 1888.[1] In business Kemp went into the woollen industry eventually becoming Chairman of Kelsall & Kemp, flannel manufacturers.


From 1885 to 1892, Kemp played first-class cricket with Lancashire. A batsman, he scored three centuries in his career and also represented Cambridge University.


In 1895, he was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Heywood as Liberal Unionist. He served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to William Ellison-Macartney, Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty, until January 1900, when he resigned to serve in the Second Boer War.[2] In 1904, along with Winston Churchill, Kemp was among a group of Conservative and Liberal Unionist Free Traders who crossed the floor to join the Liberals in response to Joseph Chamberlain's Tariff reform policies. In 1909, he was knighted for his war services and at the January 1910 general election he was elected MP for Manchester North West, this time as a Liberal. Kemp found himself increasingly out of step with the actions of the Liberal government. He was opposed to the Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer Lloyd George's financial policies. He also opposed Lloyd George's advocacy of Welsh disestablishment. His long standing opposition to Irish Home Rule had not diminished and he opposed the Liberal Government's Irish Home Rule bill. As he still felt out of step with the Unionist's advocacy of Tariff Reform, he decided to retire from the House of Commons.[3] He declared that he "loathed politics".[1] A year later he was raised to the peerage as Baron Rochdale, of Rochdale in the County Palatine of Lancaster.

Military careerEdit

Kemp had been a captain of the Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry since July 1891. In early February 1900, Kemp volunteered for active service in South Africa during the Second Boer War. He was appointed a captain of the Imperial Yeomanry,[4][5] in command of the 23rd company (the Yeomanry detachment of the Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry), to serve as part of the 8th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry. His company left Liverpool on the SS Africa on 12 February,[6] and arrived in Cape Town the following month. For his service he was mentioned in despatches. He left again for South Africa in May 1902, as temporary lieutenant-colonel in command of the 32nd Battalion of the Imperial Yeomanry, including a machine-gun section which he had helped raise.[7] The battalion arrived shortly after the war ended by the Treaty of Vereeniging on 31 May 1902, and never saw any fighting. Kemp obtained leave to return home before his regiment,[8] and left Cape Town on the SS Kildonan Castle in late September 1902, arriving at Southampton the following month.[9] He relinquished his commission with the Imperial Yeomanry and was granted the honorary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Army on 12 October 1902.[10]

Called to war again in 1914, Lord Rochdale was Lieutenant-Colonel in command the 1st/6th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, part of 125th (1/1st Lancashire Fusiliers) Brigade, and was temporarily Brigadier-general of 127th (1/1st Manchester) Brigade of the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division during the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915.[11]


Kemp married on 5 August 1896 Lady Beatrice Mary Egerton (1871-1966), third daughter of Francis Egerton, 3rd Earl of Ellesmere. Lady Beatrice Kemp joined her husband in South Africa in early 1900.[12]

They had three children. Lord Rochdale died in 1945 aged 88 and was succeeded by his eldest son, John.


  1. ^ a b "Kemp, George (KM884G)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ "Court Circular". The Times (36048). London. 25 January 1900. p. 9.
  3. ^ A Liberal Chronicle 1908-1910 by Jack Pease
  4. ^ "No. 27160". The London Gazette. 2 February 1900. p. 692.
  5. ^ "No. 27163". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 February 1900. p. 911.
  6. ^ "The War - Embarcation of Troops". The Times (36063). London. 12 February 1900. p. 10.
  7. ^ "The War - The reinforcements". The Times (36763). London. 9 May 1902. p. 10.
  8. ^ "Court Circular". The Times (36877). London. 19 September 1902. p. 7.
  9. ^ "The Army in South Africa - Return of Troops". The Times (36897). London. 13 October 1902. p. 8.
  10. ^ "No. 27491". The London Gazette. 4 November 1902. p. 7013.
  11. ^ Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 2a: the Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territoral Force Divisions (42–56), London: HM Stationery Office, 1935/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-84734-739-8
  12. ^ "Court Circular". The Times (36054). London. 1 February 1900. p. 9.
  • Who was Who, OUP 2007

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thomas Snape
Member of Parliament for Heywood
Succeeded by
Edward Holden
Preceded by
William Joynson-Hicks
Member of Parliament for Manchester North West
Jan. 1910–1912
Succeeded by
Sir John Randles
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Revelstoke
Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex
Succeeded by
The Lord Latham
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Rochdale
Succeeded by
John Durival Kemp