George Shaw Lefevre, 1st Baron Eversley

George John Shaw Lefevre, 1st Baron Eversley PC, DL (12 June 1831 – 19 April 1928) was a British Liberal Party politician. In a ministerial career that spanned thirty years, he was twice First Commissioner of Works and also served as Postmaster General and President of the Local Government Board.

The Lord Eversley

First Commissioner of Works
In office
29 November 1881  13 February 1885
Prime MinisterWilliam Ewart Gladstone
Preceded byWilliam Patrick Adam
Succeeded byThe Earl of Rosebery
In office
18 August 1892  10 March 1894
Prime MinisterWilliam Ewart Gladstone
Preceded byHon. David Plunket
Succeeded byHerbert Gladstone
Postmaster General
In office
7 November 1884  9 June 1885
Prime MinisterWilliam Ewart Gladstone
Preceded byHenry Fawcett
Succeeded byLord John Manners
President of the Local Government Board
In office
1894  21 June 1895
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Rosebery
Preceded byHenry Fowler
Succeeded byHenry Chaplin
Personal details
Born(1831-06-12)12 June 1831
Died19 April 1928(1928-04-19) (aged 96)
Kings Worthy, Hampshire
Political partyLiberal Party
Spouse(s)Lady Constance Reynolds-Moreton (d. 1929)
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge

Background and education

George Shaw Lefevre was the only son of Sir John Shaw Lefevre and Rachel Emily, daughter of Ichabod Wright. He was born in Battersea, and was the nephew of Charles Shaw-Lefevre, 1st Viscount Eversley, Speaker of the House of Commons.[1] He was educated at Eton and at Trinity College, Cambridge,[2] and was called to the Bar, Inner Temple, in 1855.[3]

Political career

Shaw Lefevre stood unsuccessfully as the Liberal candidate for Winchester in 1859 but was successfully returned for Reading in 1863, a seat he held until 1885.[4] his maiden speech in the House of Commons was made on the Alabama incident, and in 1868 he was instrumental in calling for arbitration of the Alabama Claims.[5] He held cabinet rank under Whig Lord Russell as Civil Lord of the Admiralty in 1866, a post he held until the government fell the same year, and later served under William Ewart Gladstone as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade from 1868 to 1871, as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department from January to March 1871, as Parliamentary Secretary of the Admiralty from 1871 to 1874 and again in 1880, after Christmas was sworn of the Privy Council.[6] A successful barrister-at-law, he was appointed a Bencher of the Inner Temple in 1882.[3]

In parliament, the Liberal government made Shaw Lefevre First Commissioner of Works from 1881 to 1885, before he finally entered Gladstone's cabinet in November 1884 on his appointment to Postmaster-General. He relinquished the post of First Commissioner of Works in February 1885 but continued as Postmaster General until the Liberals lost power in June 1885 to Salisbury's 'Caretaker' ministry. A general election was called for 27 November 1885, and Shaw Lefevre lost his seat in parliament at the 1885 general election, meaning that he did not serve in Gladstone's brief 1886 administration. He was able to return to the House of Commons in April 1886 when he was elected for Bradford Central in a by-election, which constituency he represented until 1895.[7] He once again became First Commissioner of Works and a member of Gladstone's cabinet in 1892. When Lord Rosebery became Prime Minister in 1894 he was appointed President of the Local Government Board, which he remained until the following year, when the Liberals were again defeated by Lord Salisbury's Conservatives. In 1897 he was elected a member of the London County Council as a Progressive for the Haggerston Division.[8] In 1906 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Eversley, of Old Ford in the County of London,[9] a revival of the Eversley title held by his uncle. He made his last speech in the House of Lords in 1913.[10]

Other public positions

George was also a Commissioner to negotiate a Convention on Fisheries with French Government in 1858, a member of Sea Fisheries Commission in 1862, President of the Statistical Society of London between 1878 and 1879 and Chairman of the Royal Commissions on the Loss of Life at Sea in 1885 and on the Agricultural Depression between 1893 and 1896. In 1865 he co-founded the Commons Preservation Society, becoming its first chairman and, in 1905, its president.[11]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1899.[12]


George married Lady Constance Moreton, daughter of Henry Reynolds-Moreton, 3rd Earl of Ducie, in 1874. They had no children. He died in April 1928, aged 96, when the barony became extinct. He is buried in the graveyard at St Mary's Church, King's Worthy. Lady Eversley survived him by a year and died in February 1929.[3]

A sister, Madeleine Shaw-Lefevre, was the first Principal of Somerville Hall; and another Rachel married Arthur Hamilton-Gordon, son of the Prime Minister the 4th Earl of Aberdeen.

Select Works


  1. "George John Shaw-Lefevre, Baron Eversley". Family Search: Community Trees. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  2. "Shaw-Lefevre, George John (SHW849GJ)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. Lundy, Darryl. " George John Shaw-Lefevre, 1st and last Baron Eversley".
  4. Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 251. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
  5. F.M.G. Willson, A Strong Supporting Cast: The Shaw Lefevres 1789-1936 (London: Athlone Press, 1993), pp. 178, 182-183.
  6. "No. 24918". The London Gazette. 28 December 1880. p. 6969.
  7. Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 79. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.
  8. Willson, Strong Supporting Cast, p. 327
  9. "No. 27933". The London Gazette. 20 July 1906. p. 4973.
  10. Mr George Shaw-Lefevre
  11. Lord Eversley, Commons, Forests and Footpaths (Cassell & Company, 1910), p. v.
  12. "Library and Archive catalog". Royal Society. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Gillery Piggott
Sir Francis Goldsmid, Bt
Member of Parliament for Reading
1863 – 1885
With: Sir Francis Goldsmid, Bt to 1878
George Palmer from 1878
Succeeded by
Charles Townshend Murdoch
Preceded by
William Edward Forster
Member of Parliament for Bradford Central
Succeeded by
James Leslie Wanklyn
Political offices
Preceded by
Lord John Hay
Civil Lord of the Admiralty
Succeeded by
Charles Du Cane
Preceded by
New office
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
Arthur Peel
Preceded by
Edward Knatchbull-Hugessen
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
Succeeded by
Henry Winterbotham
Preceded by
William Edward Baxter
(First Secretary to the Admiralty)
Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty
Succeeded by
Hon. Algernon Egerton
Preceded by
Hon. Algernon Egerton
Parliamentary Secretary of the Admiralty
Succeeded by
George Trevelyan
Preceded by
William Patrick Adam
First Commissioner of Works
Succeeded by
The Earl of Rosebery
Preceded by
Henry Fawcett
Succeeded by
Lord John Manners
Preceded by
Hon. David Plunket
First Commissioner of Works
Succeeded by
Herbert Gladstone
Preceded by
Henry Fowler
President of the Local Government Board
Succeeded by
Henry Chaplin
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Eversley
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