Herwald Ramsbotham, 1st Viscount Soulbury

Herwald Ramsbotham, 1st Viscount Soulbury GCMG GCVO OBE MC PC DL (6 March 1887 – 30 January 1971) was a British Conservative politician. He served as a government minister between 1931 and 1941 and served as Governor-General of Ceylon between the years 1949 and 1954.

The Viscount Soulbury
Governor-General of Ceylon
In office
6 July 1949 – 17 July 1954
MonarchsGeorge VI
Elizabeth II
Preceded bySir Henry Monck-Mason Moore
Succeeded bySir Oliver Ernest Goonetilleke
President of the Board of Education
In office
3 April 1940 – 20 July 1941
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterNeville Chamberlain
Winston Churchill
Preceded byThe Earl De La Warr
Succeeded byR. A. Butler
First Commissioner of Works
In office
7 June 1939 – 3 April 1940
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterNeville Chamberlain
Preceded bySir Philip Sassoon, Bt
Succeeded byThe Earl De La Warr
Minister of Pensions
In office
30 July 1936 – 7 June 1939
MonarchsEdward VIII
George VI
Prime MinisterStanley Baldwin
Neville Chamberlain
Preceded byRobert Hudson
Succeeded bySir Walter Womersley, Bt
Personal details
Born6 March 1887 (1887-03-06)
Died30 January 1971 (1971-01-31) (aged 83)
Political partyConservative
ChildrenJames Ramsbotham, 2nd Viscount Soulbury
Peter Ramsbotham, 3rd Viscount Soulbury

Background edit

Ramsbotham was the son of Herwald Ramsbotham, of Crowborough Warren (son of James Ramsbotham and Jane Fielden), and Ethel Margaret Bevan.[1]

He went to Uppingham School, Uppingham, Rutland, England.

Military career edit

Ramsbotham was commissioned a Temporary Lieutenant in 1915 and was promoted to temporary Captain later the same year. He was promoted to temporary Major by 1918 and received the Military Cross. He was appointed an OBE in 1919 and relinquished his commission that year.[citation needed]

Political career edit

Early career edit

Ramsbotham was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Lancaster in 1929.[2] In 1931 he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education by Ramsay MacDonald, a post he retained when Stanley Baldwin became Prime Minister in June 1935, and then served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries between November 1935 and July 1936.[3] In September 1936 he was made Minister of Pensions by Baldwin.[4] He continued in this office when Neville Chamberlain became Prime Minister in May 1937. In June 1939 he was appointed First Commissioner of Works[5] and sworn of the Privy Council.[6]

President of the Board of Education edit

Ramsbotham entered the cabinet in April 1940 as President of the Board of Education. He remained in this office after Winston Churchill became Prime Minister in May 1940. In June 1940 Cardinal Arthur Hinsley, leader of the English Catholic Church, led a deputation to Ramsbotham to demand financial support for Catholic schools. Ramsbotham acknowledged that in principle the Catholic schools needed help but made no firm commitment, and stressed that greater state control over their schools, which the Catholic hierarchy did not want, would be the quid pro quo.[7]

Ramsbotham spoke to the Lancashire NUT in Morecambe (reported in The Times on 17 March 1941). He wanted the school leaving age raised to 15, and thereafter to 16, as soon as possible, and day continuation classes up to the age of 18 (classes of this kind had been proposed in the 1918 Fisher Act and in subsequent reform proposals, but had not been implemented due to cost constraints - the same was true of the raising of the leaving age). All depended on how quickly schools could be repaired (both from war damage, and the previous poor state of many church schools), which would mean competing with housing for building priorities.[8]

Ramsbotham's department produced a set of proposals for reform, called “The Green Book” after its cover, in June 1941.[9][10] The Green Book was supposedly confidential but was widely distributed among opinion formers, as Lester Smith put it, “in a blaze of secrecy”, and was later used as the basis for talks with Local Education Authorities (LEAs) and teaching unions.[11][12] Paragraph 137 proposed compensating for greater state control of church schools by partially lifting the 1870 Forster Act's ban on denominational instruction in state schools, to allow such teaching from the age of 11. Paradoxically this was not good enough for the churches, as the proposal for separate schools from the age of 11 would reduce their control over children aged 11–14, who up until that time had been educated in church schools.[13] R. A. Butler later wrote in his memoirs that the Green Book failed on the issue of denominational teaching in state schools.[14] The Roman Catholic hierarchy rejected the Green Book out of hand.[15] The Green Book was soon overshadowed by the Five Points, the Protestant Churches' proposals on Religious Education in state schools which had been issued in February.[16]

Although many of Ramsbotham's proposals would later be incorporated into Butler's 1944 Act, Churchill nursed memories of the controversy over the 1902 Act and did not favour major education reform at this stage. He used the March speech as an excuse to remove him – he was succeeded by Butler in July 1941 and sent to the House of Lords as a viscount.[17]

Peerage edit

In August Ramsbotham was raised to the peerage as Baron Soulbury, of Soulbury in the County of Buckingham,[18] and made Chairman of the Assistance Board, a post he held until 1948.[19] Chairman of the Soulbury Commission 1944–45. Between 1949 and 1954 he served as Governor-General of Ceylon. He was appointed a GCMG in 1949 and a GCVO on 20 April 1954. On 10 June of that year, he was further honoured when he was created Viscount Soulbury, of Soulbury in the County of Buckingham.[20]

Family edit

Lord Soulbury died in January 1971 at the age of 83.

He was succeeded in the viscountcy by his elder son James Ramsbotham, 2nd Viscount Soulbury. His younger son, Sir Peter Ramsbotham, notably served as British Ambassador to the United States from 1974 to 1977.[citation needed]

Coat of arms of Herwald Ramsbotham, 1st Viscount Soulbury
A Plate charged with a Ram's Head erased per pale Gules and Sable
Sable on a Chevron Or between three Plates each charged with a Cross Patty Gules a Ram's Head erased of the first
On either side a Raven proper charged with a Plate thereon a Cross Patty Gules

References edit

  1. ^ "Soulbury, Viscount (UK, 1954)". cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Archived from the original on 25 June 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  2. ^ "No. 33508". The London Gazette. 21 June 1929. p. 4110.
  3. ^ Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990, [page needed]
  4. ^ "No. 34324". The London Gazette. 18 September 1936. p. 5999.
  5. ^ "No. 34635". The London Gazette. 13 June 1939. p. 3971.
  6. ^ "No. 34633". The London Gazette. 6 June 1939. p. 3852.
  7. ^ Barber 1994, p.39
  8. ^ Jago 2015, pp155-6
  9. ^ Howard 1987, p. 113.
  10. ^ Jago 2015, pp155-6
  11. ^ Jago 2015, pp158-9
  12. ^ Butler 1971, p93
  13. ^ Jago 2015, pp158-9
  14. ^ Butler 1971, p100
  15. ^ Barber 1994, p.42
  16. ^ Howard 1987, p. 113.
  17. ^ Jago 2015, pp155-6
  18. ^ "No. 35241". The London Gazette. 8 August 1941. p. 4565.
  19. ^ "No. 35251". The London Gazette. 19 August 1941. p. 4808.
  20. ^ "No. 40232". The London Gazette. 16 July 1954. p. 4164.

Books edit

External links edit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Lancaster
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education
Succeeded by
Preceded by Parliamentary Secretary to the
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries

Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Pensions
Succeeded by
Preceded by First Commissioner of Works
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Board of Education
Succeeded by
Government offices
Preceded by Governor-General of Ceylon
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Soulbury
Succeeded by
Baron Soulbury