Frederick James Marquis Woolton, Lord

(b. 1883)

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(b. Salford, 23 Aug. 1883; d. Arundel, Sussex, 14 Dec. 1964)

British; chairman of the Conservative Party 1946–55, Lord President of the Council 1951–2, Chancellor of Duchy of Lancaster 1953–5; Baron 1939, Viscount 1953, Earl 1956 Woolton was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Manchester University. In early life he served as a warden of a settlement in Liverpool dockland. Unfit for service in the First World War, he served as an economist in the War Office. He later joined the Lewis's retail firm, becoming eventually managing director and then chairman. His administrative and propagandizing skills were recognized by Sir Horace Wilson and he was brought into government in April 1940 as Minister of Food. He proved highly effective and in 1943 was brought into the War Cabinet as Minister for Reconstruction.

Though initially a Fabian, and a non-party figure in the wartime government, he joined the Conservative Party after the 1945 defeat. Churchill in 1946 invited him to be party chairman. He proved an effective fund-raiser as well as recruiter: party membership doubled between 1947 and 1948. He also established the Maxwell-Fyfe committee which led to candidates being recruited from a wider social base. He was made Lord President of the Council in 1951, then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, while retaining the party chairmanship. He served until 1955.

Though prone to pomposity, he was one of the successes of the wartime administration and his being made Conservative Party chairman was to prove one of Churchill's best political appointments. Woolton was one of the pivotal figures in the rejuvenation of the post-war Conservative Party.

Subjects: Politics.

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