The decline and fall of the British aristocracy looked headlong and irreversible in the twentieth century yet many grandees tried to preserve their power, wealth and influence by every means - and with some success. There is no better example than the Seventh Marquess of Londonderry whose life from 1878 to 1949 spanned and mirrored the period. The Londonderrys had enjoyed immense wealth in land and minerals in Britain and Ireland for centuries, played leading roles in Parliament and the state, and in an earlier time the Seventh Marquess would have continued in the family tradition of patrician prominence. Drawing upon original state and family papers, N.C. Fleming places the Londonderrys in the context of the history and the political theory of aristocracy and shows the constant struggle - not without success - against marginalisation. The theme runs through Londonderry's career as Conservative MP, on the Irish Viceroy's Council, as a junior minister in Lloyd Geroge's coalition, at the Air Ministry with Trenchard - the 'father of the RAF' - and in the National Government.
Perhaps an element of desperation entered in his private business ventures and with contacts with the far Right - all in sharp contrast to past family achievement.
N.C. Fleming is Lecturer in History at Glasgow Caledonian University. He has held lectureships at Cardiff University, The Queen's University of Belfast, and was 16th Fulbright-Robertson Visiting Professor of British History, Westminster College, Missouri.
'Fleming's book is one that all students of twentieth-century British and Ulster politics should have on their bookshelves.' 'It provides a comprehensive treatment of Londonderry's career that is based solidly on extensive archival sources.'
Peter Jupp, Reviews in History, 31st March 2006
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd
Series: International Library of Twentieth Century HistoryHardback
Publication Date: 27 May 2005
Number of Pages: 256