RepositorySpecial Collections Archives (GB 0029)
Ref NoEUL MS 435
Extent27 boxes
TitleCecil Harmsworth archive
DescriptionThis archive consists of material reflecting both Cecil Harmsworth's professional career as a politician and his personal life as a member of a highly influential family. The Cecil Harmsworth archive mainly comprises diaries recording his personal and professional life between 1900 and 1948, as well as political, business-related and personal correspondence and papers. These include papers relating to his career as a Liberal MP in the House of Commons, as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Home Department, as an adviser in Lloyd George's War Secretariat, as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and as a member of the House of Lords. The other major series in the archive are speeches and literary papers; financial papers; legal and property papers; photographs; printed material; and papers of other members of the Harmsworth family, including Cecil Harmsworth’s wife, Emilie.
Admin HistoryCecil Bisshopp Harmsworth (1869-1948), was a Liberal politician, businessman and the first Baron Harmsworth of Egham. Born in London, he was the fourth child of Geraldine Maffett and Alfred Harmsworth, a barrister. He was educated at Marylebone Grammar School before studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Theology at Trinity College at Dublin University, with a view to training for the Church. He completed his Masters in 1911 at the same university, and in 1938 the University presented him with an honorary LL.D (Doctor of Laws).

After leaving Dublin, Cecil Harmsworth entered the Harmsworth family’s burgeoning press empire. His political career began in 1899, when he was adopted as the Liberal candidate for Mid Worcestershire and in 1901, when he stood as the Liberal candidate for North East Lanarkshire. However, he lost both elections to Liberal Unionist candidates. Cecil Harmsworth became the Liberal MP for Droitwich in 1906, a position that he held until 1910. He then went on to become MP for Luton between 1911 and 1922. In 1915, Harmsworth held the position of Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Home Department for a short time under H.H. Asquith. Between 1917 and 1919, Harmsworth was a member of the Prime Minister's Secretariat under David Lloyd George. He also held the office of Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs from 1919 to 1922 in the Liberal-Conservative Coalition government. He retired from politics in October 1922, after having represented Britain at a League of Nations Council in January that year. In 1939, Harmsworth was elevated to the House of Lords and gained the title of 1st Baron Harmsworth of Egham, Surrey.

Harmsworth held the chair of Associated Newspapers alongside his political occupations. He was also a director of Amalgamated Press. During his time as MP for Luton he was the joint-editor of the 'New Liberal Review', a magazine expressing liberal imperialist views, which ran between 1901-1904. His brother, Alfred C W Harmsworth [Lord Northcliffe], was founder of Associated Newspapers and owner of the 'Daily Mail' and 'Daily Mirror'. Another of his brothers, Harold S Harmsworth [Lord Rothermere] took over the 'Daily Mail' after Lord Northcliffe's death. Harmsworth was also honorary treasurer of the Empire Press Union.

In 1911, Cecil Harmsworth bought Dr Samuel Johnstone's house in Gough Square, London, which he restored and presented to the nation in 1929.

He published several books, including 'Pleasure and Problem in South Africa' (1908), 'Immortals at First Hand' (1933) and 'A Little Fishing Book' (1942).

Cecil Harmsworth married his cousin, Emilie Alberta Maffet, on 28 April 1897 in Finglas, County Dublin, Ireland, and they had three children; Daphne ('Daff'), Cecil Desmond ('Bud') and Eric ('Gol' or 'Golly'). The family owned property in London, Henley upon Thames, Egham and Dublin. He died aged 78 on 13 August 1948. He was succeeded in the barony by his eldest surviving son, Cecil Desmond Harmsworth.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsUsual EUL arrangements apply.
Creator_NameHarmsworth; Sir; Cecil Bisshopp (1869-1948); 1st Baron Harmsworth; liberal politician and businessman
Harmsworth; Lady; Emilie Alberta (1873- 1942) Baroness; nee Maffet; nurse and wife of 1st Baron Harmsworth
Harmsworth; Cecil Desmond (1903-1990); 2nd Baron Harmsworth; painter, publisher, and poet
Harmsworth; Lady; Dorothy Alexander (1901- 1990); née Heinlein; wife of 2nd Baron Harmsworth
Mgt_GroupPolitical papers
Historical papers
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