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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Monday, 26 November 2012

Country house politics

Tuesday, November 26th., Yacht Club, London.

Week-end at Beaverbrook's, Cherkley Court. Good, except that not enough food, B. not being interested in food. The Hulton's came over on Sunday afternoon and stayed to dinner. Hulton had been trained for the R.C. priesthood. An agreeable pair. He with a certain sense of decency, not a fool, a Lancashire accent and rather ignorant. For example, he had never heard of the Labour Party programme!

Edward George Hulton was born in Hume, Lancashire on 3rd March, 1869. His father had been a compositor on the Manchester Guardian before establishing his own papers, The Sporting Chronicle (1871) and The Athletic News (1875). Edward was educated at St. Bede's College, Manchester, but at sixteen left to learn the newspaper trade with his father. After serving an apprenticeship in the various departments he took over control of the business in 1894. Three years later he started a new halfpenny newspaper, the Manchester Evening Chronicle. This was highly successful and was followed by the Daily Dispatch in 1900. In 1909 Hulton produced the Daily Sketch, a illustrated morning paper. Six years later he began publishing the Illustrated Sunday Herald. He also purchased and developed the Evening Standard. Hulton had been in poor health for many years and in 1923 was forced to retire. Hulton sold all his publishing interests to Allied Newspapers for £6,000,000.

I read B.'s printed account of the conspiracy that overthrew Asquith in Dec. 1916. It was exceedingly well written, and showed great judgement of men and some sense of historical values. In fact it was remarkable and heightened my originally high opinion of Beaverbrook. The War Office and Ll. G. both came badly out of the account, especially the former. B.'s own share in the affair is kept very modestly in the background. He seemed almost inclined to publish it in the Daily Express. I advised him against this.

During the first world war, Beaverbrook represented the Canadian government at GHQ (Government Headquarters), was an observer at the Western Front, and published a newspaper for the Canadian troops. More importantly, he played a key role (especially in his own eyes) in the downfall of Herbert Asquith, the then prime minister, whom he disliked, and in the rise of David Lloyd George who replaced Asquith in December 1916. For his assistance, Beaverbrook had expected to be given the post of president of the Board of Trade. He was to be disappointed. The job and his seat in parliament were required for Sir Albert Stanley. Beaverbrook had to make do with Lloyd George's offer of a hereditary peerage and the post of minister for information in 1918.

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