Hamar Greenwood, 1st Viscount Greenwood

Thomas Hamar Greenwood, 1st Viscount Greenwood, PC, KC (7 February 1870 – 10 September 1948), known as Sir Hamar Greenwood, Bt, between 1915 and 1929 and as The Lord Greenwood between 1929 and 1937, was a Canadian-born British lawyer and politician. He served as the last Chief Secretary for Ireland between 1920 and 1922. Both his sons died unmarried, so that the title of Viscount Greenwood became extinct in 2003.

The Viscount Greenwood

Chief Secretary for Ireland
In office
2 April 1920  19 October 1922
MonarchGeorge V
Prime MinisterDavid Lloyd George
Preceded byIan Macpherson
Succeeded byOffice abolished - replaced by Chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State
Secretary for Overseas Trade
In office
Board Pres.Sir Auckland Geddes
Preceded bySir Arthur Steel-Maitland
Succeeded byF. G. Kellaway
Member of Parliament
for York
In office
8 February 1906  10 January 1910
Serving with Denison Faber
Preceded byJohn Butcher
Denison Faber
Succeeded byArnold Stephenson Rowntree
John Butcher
Personal details
Born7 February 1870 (1870-02-07)
Whitby, Durham Region, Ontario, Canada
DiedSeptember 10, 1948(1948-09-10) (aged 78)
London, Middlesex, England, UK
Political partyLiberal
Margery Spencer (1886–1968)
(m. 1911; his death 1948)
EducationUniversity of Toronto

Background and education

Greenwood was born in Whitby, Ontario, Canada, to John Hamar Greenwood (1829-1903), a lawyer who emigrated from Llanbister, Radnorshire, Wales, as a youth, and wife Charlotte Churchill Hubbard, who was from a United Empire Loyalist family that had an ancestor who immigrated to Canada after the American Revolutionary War.[1] He was educated at the University of Toronto before emigrating to England as a young man.

Political career

Greenwood first stood for election as a Liberal and sat as a Member of Parliament for York from 1906 to 1910[2] and for Sunderland from 1910 to 1922.[3]

He served under David Lloyd George as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department in 1919, as Additional Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Additional Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, as Secretary for Overseas Trade from 1919 to 1920, and as the last Chief Secretary for Ireland, with a seat in the Cabinet, from 1920 to 1922. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1920.

As Chief Secretary, Greenwood was closely identified with the aggressive use of two specially formed paramilitary forces — the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries — during the Irish War of Independence. After the burning of the centre of the city of Cork by British auxiliary forces in December 1920, Greenwood blamed the "Sinn Féin rebels" and the people of Cork for burning their own city.[4]

Greenwood lost his seat in the 1922 general election. At the 1924 general election, he was one of a small number of Liberals, including Winston Churchill, to stand as Constitutionalist candidates. These were Liberals who advocated closer ties between Liberals and Conservatives. Greenwood's candidature in Walthamstow East was supported by the local Conservative association, but not by the local Liberals, who had their own candidate, and he won the seat. After the election, when it appeared that there was no prospect of closer formal ties between the two parties, Greenwood took the Conservative whip. He continued to represent Walthamstow East until 1929, although he never held government office again.[5]


Greenwood had been created a Baronet, of Onslow Gardens in the Royal Borough of Kensington, in 1915,[6] and in the 1929 Dissolution Honours he was raised to the peerage as Baron Greenwood, of Llanbister in the County of Radnor.[7]

In 1937 he was further honoured when he was created Viscount Greenwood, of Holbourne in the County of London.[8] He was president of the British Iron and Steel Federation from 1938 to 1939 and chairman of the Pilgrims Society from 1945 to 1948, and president of the Pilgrims Society in 1948.

He died on 10 September 1948 in London, England.[9]


His wife, Margery Spencer, daughter of The Rev. Walter Spencer of Fownhope Court, Herefordshire, and wife Anne "Annie" Elizabeth Hudson, became Viscountess Greenwood. She was made a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1922. She was the sister of Muriel Forbes-Sempill, second wife of Wilfrid Ashley, 1st Baron Mount Temple.

They had two sons and two daughters. Their elder son, David Henry Hamar Greenwood, succeeded his father as second Viscount.[10][11] He died unmarried and was succeeded as third Viscount by his younger brother, Michael George Hamar Greenwood, who died unmarried as well, in 2003 rendering the title extinct.[12][13]

Their elder daughter, Angela Margo Hamar Greenwood, married Edward Dudley Delevingne and is the paternal grandmother of model sisters Poppy and Cara Delevingne. Their younger daughter, Deborah Hamar Greenwood, married Patrick David de László, son of painter Philip de László.[14][15][16]


Coat of arms of Hamar Greenwood, 1st Viscount Greenwood
A Demi Lion per fess Gules and Sable resting the sinister paw on a Portcullis Or
Gules on a Chevron Ermine between three Saltires as many Portcullises Or
On either side a Lion rampant per fess Gules and Sable supporting a Staff Or flowing therefrom a Banner Argent that on the dexter charged with a Rose Gules barbed and seeded proper and that on the sinister charged with a Maple Leaf also proper
Law and Loyalty [17]


  1. Profile, nationalarchives.ie; accessed 21 March 2016.
  2. http://www.leighrayment.com/commons.htm
  3. http://www.leighrayment.com/commons.htm
  4. "BLAME CORK FIRES ON MILITARY ALONE; Irish Labor Party and Trades Union Congress Issue Results of Their Inquiry.WITNESSES' NAMES SECRETBut Report Says 70 Were Examined, Including Men froman American Ship. CONTRADICTS GREENWOOD Challenges Government to IssueStrickland Report--Now Official Inquiry Likely". New York Times. 20 January 1921. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
  5. http://www.leighrayment.com/commons.htm
  6. "No. 29070". The London Gazette. 16 February 1915. p. 1553.
  7. "No. 33532". The London Gazette. 6 September 1929. p. 5772.
  8. "No. 34375". The London Gazette. 26 February 1937. p. 1324.
  9. "Hamar Greenwood, Treasurer Conservative Party, Dies". New York Times. 11 September 1948.
  10. "Sous-Fonds: Hamar Greenwood, 1st Viscount Greenwood (WA2012-01D), Whitby Archives – Greenwood Family Collection" (PDF). Whitby Public Library. February 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  11. Seedorf, Martin F. "Greenwood, Hamar, first Viscount Greenwood (1870–1948), politician and businessman" (PDF). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33545. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  12. "Colleges". Oxford University Gazette. 133. 31 July 2003. Retrieved 2 March 2014. THE HON. MICHAEL GEORGE HAMAR GREENWOOD, 7 July 2003; commoner 1942. Aged 80.
  13. "Viscount". Debretts. Retrieved 2 March 2014. Since 1989 eight viscountcies have become extinct: Muirsheil, Furness, Watkinson, Lambert, Leverhulme, Greenwood, Cross and Ingleby, and Barrington is dormant or extinct.
  14. "Hon. Angela Margo Hamar Delevingne (née Greenwood) (1912-), Daughter of 1st Baron Greenwood; wife of (Edward) Dudley Delevingne". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  15. Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's peerage, baronetage & knightage, clan chiefs, Scottish feudal barons (107th ed.). Wilmington: Burke's Peerage & Gentry. ISBN 9780971196629. Search website for "Delevingne" for snippet view.
  16. Fox, Imogen (7 September 2013). "Six degrees of Cara Delevingne". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  17. http://www.cracroftspeerage.co.uk/online/content/greenwood1937.htm
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Butcher
Denison Faber
Member of Parliament for York
1906Jan. 1910
With: Denison Faber
Succeeded by
Arnold Stephenson Rowntree
John Butcher
Preceded by
Samuel Storey
James Knott
Member of Parliament for Sunderland
Dec. 19101922
With: Frank Goldstone, 1910–1918;
Ralph Milbanke Hudson, 1918–1922
Succeeded by
Luke Thompson
Sir Walter Raine
Preceded by
Stanley Johnson
Member of Parliament for Walthamstow East
Succeeded by
Harry Wallace
Political offices
Preceded by
William Brace
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
January–April 1919
Succeeded by
John Baird
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland, Bt
Secretary for Overseas Trade
Succeeded by
F. G. Kellaway
Preceded by
Ian Macpherson
Chief Secretary for Ireland
1920 – 1922
Office abolished
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Onslow Gardens)
1915 – 1948
Succeeded by
David Greenwood
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Greenwood
1937 – 1948
Succeeded by
David Greenwood
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