Saturday, 18 November 2006

Sir Thomas Brassey, Baron and Earl Brassey


Sir Thomas Brassey (1836 - 1918) KCB, KStJ, Baron Brassey, of Bulkeley

Sir Thomas was the son of Thomas Brassey - the famous Enginneer and railway contractor -and Maria Farringdon Harrison.

He m. 1stly Lady Anne Allnut, dau of John Allnut, Esq. and 2ndly Hon. Sybil de Vere Capell, dau of Lieut.-Colonel Arthur de Vere Capell, Viscount Malden.
Cr. Baron Brassey, of Bulkeley, co. Chester [U.K.] (1886) and Earl Brassey, of Bulkeley, Lancashire [U.K.] (1911) and 1st Viscount Hythe of Hythe, co. Kent [U.K.] (1911).
An M.A. (University Coll., Oxford), admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in 1864, M.P. (Liberal) for Hastings from 1868-1886, Lord of the Admiralty (1884-1885). He held the office of Lord-in-Waiting (1893-1895) and of Governor of Victoria between 1895 and 1901. Among his foreign decorations he was Commander of Legion d'Honneur and Grand Cross of Order of the Crown, of Italy.
Awarded honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Laws (D.C.L.) by Oxford University, in 1888 and honorary degree of Doctor of Law (LL.D.) by Dublin University, in 1903. He was invested as a Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Bath (G.C.B.) on 29 June 1906.
The bookplate must have been made after 1886 and before 1911. His first wife Lady Anne Brassey also used a bookplate which we will deal with in a separate post.

Sir Thomas had a passion for the sea and he travelled extensively in his steam yacht, the Sunbeam having made a round the world voyage with his family which lasted 11 months.

One of the curiosities of Lord Brassey was that he acquired the Durbar Hall – a house built for the Colonial and Indian Exhibition held in South Kensington in 1886 reproducing an Indian Palace, and had it rebuilt at the back of his London house to be used as a smoking room and as a Museum to house the valuable collection of ethnographic material acquired by Lady Anne Brassey.

After his death, his son and heir Lord Thomas Brassey, 2nd Earl, presented the building and many of its contents to the town of Hastings where it was re-erected as an extension to the Museum in 1931 (for the Brassey’s collections and Durbar Hall see, http://www.hmag.org.uk/durbarHall/).

Among his extravagancies, Lord Brassey built, in 1870, a house at Catsfield – the Normanhurst Court -, in the style of a French Chateau, which was used later partially used as a Hospital in WWI and as a prison camp during WWII and sademolished after the war ended, see, http://www.battle-abbey.co.uk/normanhurst.htm

Sources - Biography: see Peerage.com - http://www.thepeerage.com/p7766.htm; and
Australian Dicionary of Biography - http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A070399b.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Brassey,_1st_Earl_Brassey
Biography of Thomas Brassey his father http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Thomas_Brassey
and Sir A. Helps, Life and Labours of Mr. Brassey: 1805-1870, Second Edition, London, Bell & Daldy, 1872 and portrait at http://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk/results.asp?image=10199222&wwwflag=2&imagepos=1

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