Papers of the Association of Lord-Lieutenants of Counties
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- Held At: Parliamentary Archives: GB-061
- Catalogue Reference: ALC
- Date: 1908-2007
- Level: Fonds
- Extent: 3 series, 85 files
- Creator Name: Association of Lord-Lieutenants of Counties; 1908-
- Administrative or Biographical History: The office of Lord-Lieutenant of the County was established on a permanent basis in the latter part of the sixteenth century. The Association of Lord-Lieutenants of Counties, however, was not founded until 1908. The Association was formed to oppose the Haldane army reforms of 1907. R B Haldane, the Secretary of State for War, proposed that the county militia should be dissolved and replaced with a special reserve, officered by members of the regular army, whose recruits (obtained from the same sources as the old militia) would pledge to serve abroad if the need arose. The yeomanry and the volunteers, together with some of the old militia, were to be combined to form a new territorial force, organized into county units. These proposals were embodied in the Territorial and Reserve Forces Bill of 1907.
Many Lord-Lieutenants strongly objected to the proposed changes, in spite of the fact that it was intended that they should preside over the county associations which would control the new territorial units. The diehard 11th Duke of Bedford was the leading figure in the House of Lords in opposition to the Haldane reforms. He and other diehards argued that the new system would be less efficient than the old in providing an effective military force. On 24 and 27 June 1907, some 50 Lord-Lieutenants met at the House of Lords to consider the Territorial and Reserve Forces Bill which was being debated on Second Reading at that time. The meetings, chaired by the Duke of Bedford, appointed a committee to draw up amendments to the Bill at Committee Stage (see ALC/1). The amended Bill received its Third Reading on 23 July and Royal Assent on 2 August. In spite of their opposition to the Bill, most of the Lieutenants agreed to take on the presidency of their local county association in the new territorial force as Haldane had intended. It should be noted that although the diehards derived their nickname from their out-and-out opposition to the Parliament Bill of 1911, the latter however, is not mentioned in the Association's papers of the time.
On 30 January 1908, a further meeting of Lord-Lieutenants was held at the House of Lords. It was resolved that an Association of Lieutenants of Counties should be formed whose members would meet on the day after the opening of Parliament each year to discuss matters affecting their office, with provision for summoning special meetings as need arose. The Duke of Bedford was elected Chairman of the Association for the coming year, with J. Seymour Lloyd (a Member of the Parliamentary Bar) as Secretary. The annual subscription for members was 10s. It was natural that the Association should meet in the House of Lords since Lord-Lieutenants (at least until the First World War) were almost invariably peers and usually one of the county's principal landowners.
The majority of Lieutenants joined the Association at the outset. An Annual General Meeting was held early in each year, as intended, together with special meetings to deal with urgent matters. Early concerns included such domestic matters as the design of a flag for the Association. A proposal was made to widen the qualifications for Deputy Lieutenants to make eligible not only those who had served in the Armed Forces or rendered service in connection with the Territorial County Associations, but also those who had discharged other local duties, but this was rejected by Haldane. The appointment and retirement of Deputy Lieutenants continued to be matters of concern to the Association. A special meeting was called for 24 November 1908 to consider a Bill to amend the Territorial and Reserve Forces Bill of 1907, to allow the Army Council, if it so decided, to appoint someone other than the Lieutenant of the County to be President of the County Association. However, the Bill was not proceeded with.
One of the main sources of influence of Lord-Lieutenants lay in their powers by convention, to nominate Justices of the Peace in the counties. The Lord Chancellor was responsible for nominating suitable people to the bench in the boroughs, but in the counties he merely confirmed the Lord- Lieutenant's recommendations. It was alleged that this system led to a preponderance of Unionists on the benches of county magistrates. In 1909 the Liberal government appointed a Royal Commission on Justices of the Peace and the Lord Chancellor, Lord Loreburn, laid before it a scheme for advisory committees to be appointed in each county and borough, by the Lord Chancellor and not by the Lord-Lieutenant, to make recommendations for the bench. The formation of advisory committees was one of the recommendations of the Royal Commission. Lord Loreburn introduced them as a new system for the appointment of magistrates, in 1910-11. By the end of 1911 committees had been established in the majority of counties, consisting of five or six members, usually including the Lord-Lieutenant. The latter was responsible for forwarding the advisory committee's recommendations for the appointment of Justices of the Peace to the Lord Chancellor. It was open to any member of an advisory committee who disagreed with a recommendation to communicate directly with the Lord Chancellor stating the grounds for his dissent. The advisory committees were usually composed of representatives of both Unionists and Liberals and, where local circumstances rendered it desirable, a member or members of the Labour Party. The relationship between Lord-Lieutenants, Advisory Committees and the Lord Chancellor continued to be a matter of concern to the Association for many years ahead.
After the First World War, the appointment of the first women Justices of the Peace in 1920 occasioned debate in the Association. The appointment and retirement of Deputy Lieutenants continued to be matters of regular consideration. Questions of precedence between Lord-Lieutenants, mayors, sheriffs, senior officers and others, were often raised by members of the Association when attending special services and parades. The Duke of Bedford continued as Chairman (and mainstay) of the Association until 1926 when he resigned the Lieutenancy of Middlesex. Lord Lambourne succeeded him as Chairman. The Secretary J. (Later Sir John) Seymour Lloyd joined the army during the First World War and became Director General of Recruiting at the Ministry of National Service. However, he continued to act for the Association with secretarial assistance from Miss C. L. Masters. Seymour Lloyd was succeeded as Secretary in 1923 by Colin Keppel Davidson, a House of Lords Clerk. From this time onwards, the Secretary has always been a Lords Clerk.
The 5th Marquess of Bath was re-elected as Chairman in February 1937. He resigned in February 1939 and was succeeded by the 5th Marquess of Exeter who, in 1940, was elected Chairman for the duration of the Second World War. The Marquess of Exeter continued as Chairman until 1951 when he resigned on reaching the age of 75. He was succeeded by the 11th Earl of Scarborough. During the Second World War , Geoffrey Hugh Eastwood deputised as Secretary for Davidson who served in the army and died on active service in 1943. Victor (later Sir Victor) Martin Reeves Goodman became Secretary in April 1945 but resigned in July 1946 on becoming Clerk of the Judicial Office. He was succeeded by Richard Philip Cave who remained Secretary until his retirement. The Secretary's main duties continued to be the drawing up of the Agenda (in consultation with the Chairman) for the annual general meeting and for Special Meetings, answering members' enquiries and collecting subscriptions.
Between 1945 and 1947 the Association was concerned with the question of political considerations in the appointment of Justices of the Peace, a matter which was being investigated by the Royal Commission on the Selection of Justices of the Peace. A retirement age for Lord-Lieutenants was proposed and, in 1947, was fixed in general at 75, with a sub-committee of the Association to advise the Sovereign and the Prime Minister when appointments were considered for possible renewal beyond that age. The question of whether Lieutenants should make recommendations for the award of Honours was also considered. Revised regulations for the appointment of Deputy Lieutenants were issued in 1966 and in 1967 there was a revision of the Guide to the Duties of Lieutenants of Counties.
With the re-organisation of local government in 1974, the title of the office was formally changed from Lieutenant to Lord-Lieutenant, although it had long been generally known as the latter. The Secretary of the Association in 2002 was Andrew Makower, Clerk in the House of Lords.
- Acquisition: The Association of Lord-Lieutenants made a first deposit of chronologically arranged files (ALC/1), probably in the late 1980s; the subject files (ALC/2) and the Association of Unionist Peers file (ALC/3) were deposited by Paul Hayter, Secretary of the Association, in January 1991. No accession number is available.
- Description: The First World War papers of the Association are largely concerned with the duties of Lord- Lieutenants in relation to the Special Reserve, Militia and Territorial Army, the civilian population and with the recruitment and training of Volunteers. Few papers survive for the Association for the period 1923 to 1939. Three files for this period are contained within the collection (ALC/1/15-17). These are mainly concerned with Advisory Committees for Justices of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenants, Precedence, official dress for Lord-Lieutenants and their Deputies and Royal visits to the counties.
The Second World War papers of the Association partly concern the Lord-Lieutenants' duties in relation to the training of Pioneer Battalions, the Home Guard, salvage drives and other wartime matters (ALC/1/18). Other papers are concerned with Justices of the Peace, including the appointment of younger magistrates on panels for Juvenile Courts, political considerations in the appointment of Justices of the Peace and the retirement of elderly or absent Justices of the Peace. As usual, questions of uniforms, precedence and recommendations for Honours were also raised. The papers for 1948 to 1955 (ALC/1/26-29) contain correspondence about the Official Dress of Lord-Lieutenants and Deputy Lieutenants and revised Orders of Dress being issued in 1950. A separate file for 1949 relates to the composition of the Central Advisory Committee on Justices of the Peace in Scotland (ALC/1/27). Only a few of the 1950s papers have been deposited in the Record Office; these are mostly concerned with Official Dress and with arrangements for the Coronation in 1953 (ALC/2).
A small file of papers of the Association of Independent Unionist Peers (ALC/3) is appended to the Association's papers. It includes papers relating to the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty and Whips sent to the Association's members requesting their attendance at debates on other Bills.
- Language: English
- System of Arrangement: Until 1950, the Association kept its files in chronological order, after which they were kept in subject order. The files for the ALC/1 series reflect the earlier chronological arrangement. However, the correspondence files for the period 1951-1972 (ALC/1/29 and ALC/1/30), have been kept in chronological order. The files in series ALC/2 reflect the later subject order arrangement. Each item within the files of series ALC/1 has been numbered.
- Related Material: For further information on the Association of the Lieutenants of Counties, see J. C. Sainty, "Lieutenants of Counties, 1585-1642", Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, Special Supplement no. 8 (May 1970) pp 1-4; Gregory D. Phillips, "The Diehards. Aristocratic Society and Politics in Edwardian England" (Harvard University Press, 1979), pp. 94-8; J. M. Lee "Parliament and the Appointment of Magistrates. The origin of Advisory Committees" Parliamentary Affairs, XIII (1959), pp. 85-94.
- Access Status: Open
- Physical Description: Typescript, manuscript and printed