- 1833-1880 (Creation)
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1.65 cubic metres
Name of creator
Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax, was born on 20 December 1800, the eldest son of Sir Francis Lindley Wood, 2nd Baronet of Hickleton Hall near Doncaster, and his wife Anne, the daughter of Samuel Buck of New Granges. He was educated at Eton College and Oriel College, Oxford, where his friends included Sir George Grey and Francis Baring, later Lord Northbrook.
Wood was elected Member of Parliament for Great Grimsby in 1826, a seat he held until 1831. In 1829 he married Lady Mary Grey, the niece of his friend Sir Goerge Grey and the daughter of Charles Grey, a Whig politician and 2nd Earl Grey, and his wife Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby. In 1831 he was elected MP for Wareham, and then as MP for the newly created constituency of Halifax the following year.
In 1830 Earl Grey became Prime Minister and Wood was appointed as his personal secretary. This was followed in 1832 by his promotion to joint secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip. Under Grey’s successor, Lord Melbourne, he was made secretary to the Admiralty, a position he held from 1835 until 1839 when he resigned in support of his brother in law Lord Howick.
On 31 December 1846 Wood succeeded to his father’s baronetcy. There followed a number of political offices. Wood was Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1846 to 1852, President of the Board of Control of the English East India Company from 1852 to 1855, First Lord of the Admiralty from 1855 to 1858, and Secretary of State for India from 1859 to 1866.
As President of the Board of Control for the East India Company, Wood laid the ground for the modern education system in India when he sent a despatch to governor-general Lord Dalhousie in 1854 recommending that an education department be set up in every province and universities be established in major cities. The Universities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were founded three years later. As Secretary of State for India he also dealt with the aftermath of the 1857 Indian Rebellion against the rule of the East India Company.
In 1865 he stood down as MP for Halifax and was elected MP for Ripon instead. In 1870 he was made Lord Privy Seal. On 21 February 1866 was created Viscount Halifax of Monk Bretton in the County of York.
Viscount Halifax died on 8 August 1885 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles Lindley Wood, as 2nd Viscount.
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Scope and content
Papers of Sir Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax, as President of the Board of Control 1853-56, and Secretary of State for India 1859-66.
Board of Control: letter books, 1853-1856.
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- Board of Control (Subject)
- East India Company (Subject)
- Wood family, Earls of Halifax (Subject)
- Wood, Charles, 1800-1885, 1st Viscount Halifax, statesman (Subject)
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Dates of creation revision deletion
Revised and migrated to AtoM, August 2015.