Aberdeen ministry

After the collapse of Lord Derby's minority government, the Whigs and Peelites formed a coalition under the Peelite leader Lord Aberdeen. The government resigned in early 1855 after a large parliamentary majority voted for a select committee to enquire into the incompetent management of the Crimean War. The former Home Secretary, Lord Palmerston, then formed his first government.

Aberdeen ministry
George Hamilton Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen by John Partridge
Aberdeen (circa 1847)
Date formed19 December 1852
Date dissolved30 January 1855
People and organisations
MonarchQueen Victoria
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Aberdeen
Opposition partyConservative Party
Opposition leaders
PredecessorWho? Who? ministry
SuccessorFirst Palmerston ministry


December 1852 – February 1855

Party key Peelite
Coalition Ministry of 1854
The Coalition Ministry of 1854 as painted by Sir John Gilbert, 1855
Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
 The Earl of Aberdeen*19 December 185230 January 1855Peelite
Lord Chancellor The Lord Cranworth28 December 185221 February 1858Whig
Lord President of the Council The Earl Granville28 December 185212 June 1854Whig
 Lord John Russell12 June 18548 February 1855Whig
Lord Privy Seal The Duke of Argyll4 January 18537 December 1855Peelite
Secretary of State for the Home Department The Viscount Palmerston28 December 18526 February 1855Whig
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Lord John Russell28 December 185212 February 1853Whig
 The Earl of Clarendon21 February 185326 February 1858Whig
Secretary of State for the Colonies Sir George Grey12 June 18548 February 1855Whig
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies The Duke of Newcastle28 December 185230 January 1855Peelite
Chancellor of the Exchequer William Ewart Gladstone28 December 185228 February 1855Peelite
First Lord of the Admiralty Sir James Graham30 December 185213 March 1855Peelite
President of the Board of Control Sir Charles Wood30 December 18523 March 1855Whig
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster The Earl Granville21 June 185430 January 1855Whig
First Commissioner of Works Sir William Molesworth5 January 185330 January 1855Radical
Secretary at War Sidney Herbert30 December 185228 February 1855Peelite
Minister without portfolio The Marquess of Lansdowne28 December 185221 February 1858Whig
 Lord John Russell26 February 18538 June 1854Whig

† After June 1854 office became Secretary of State for War.



  • February 1853: Lord John Russell becomes Minister without Portfolio, remaining Leader of the Commons. Lord Clarendon succeeds him as Foreign Secretary.
  • June 1854: Lord Granville becomes Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Lord John Russell succeeds him as Lord President, remaining also Leader of the Commons. The Secretaryship of State for War and the Colonies is split up. The Duke of Newcastle stays on as Secretary of State for War, while Sir George Grey becomes Secretary of State for the Colonies.

List of Ministers

Members of the Cabinet are indicated by bold face.

Office Name Party Date Notes
Prime Minister,
First Lord of the Treasury
and Leader of the House of Lords
The Earl of Aberdeen Peelite 19 December 1852 – 30 January 1855  
Chancellor of the Exchequer William Ewart Gladstone Peelite 30 December 1852  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury William Goodenough Hayter Whig 5 January 1853  
Financial Secretary to the Treasury James Wilson Whig 5 January 1853  
Junior Lords of the Treasury Lord Alfred Hervey Peelite 1 January 1853 – 7 March 1855  
Lord Elcho   1 January 1853 – 7 March 1855
John Sadleir   1 January 1853 – 6 March 1854
Chichester Fortescue   6 March 1854 – 16 April 1855
Lord Chancellor The Lord Cranworth Whig 28 December 1852  
Lord President of the Council The Earl Granville Whig 28 December 1852  
Lord John Russell Whig 12 June 1854 also Leader of the House of Commons
Lord Privy Seal The Duke of Argyll   4 January 1853  
Secretary of State for the Home Department The Viscount Palmerston Whig 28 December 1852  
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department Henry Fitzroy Peelite 28 December 1852  
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Lord John Russell Whig 28 December 1852 also Leader of the House of Commons
The Earl of Clarendon Whig 21 February 1853  
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs The Lord Wodehouse   28 December 1852  
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies The Duke of Newcastle Peelite 28 December 1852 department abolished 10 June 1854
Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Frederick Peel Peelite 28 December 1852
Secretary of State for War The Duke of Newcastle Peelite 12 June 1854  
Under-Secretary of State for War Henry Roberts   12 June 1854  
Secretary of State for the Colonies Sir George Grey, Bt Whig 12 June 1854  
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies Frederick Peel Whig 12 June 1854  
First Lord of the Admiralty Sir James Graham, Bt Peelite 30 December 1852  
First Secretary of the Admiralty Ralph Bernal Osborne   6 January 1853  
Civil Lord of the Admiralty William Francis Cowper Whig 30 December 1852  
President of the Board of Control Sir Charles Wood, Bt Whig 30 December 1852  
Joint Secretaries to the Board of Control Robert Lowe   30 December 1852  
Sir Thomas Redington   30 December 1852 (permanent)
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Edward Strutt Radical 3 January 1853  
The Earl Granville Whig 21 June 1854
Minister without Portfolio The Marquess of Lansdowne Whig 28 December 1852 – 21 February 1858  
Lord John Russell Whig 26 February 1853 – 8 June 1854 also Leader of the House of Commons
Secretary at War Sidney Herbert Peelite 30 December 1852  
First Commissioner of Works Sir William Molesworth, Bt Radical 5 January 1853  
President of the Board of Health Sir Benjamin Hall, Bt Whig 14 January 1854  
Chief Secretary for Ireland Sir John Young, Bt Peelite 6 January 1853  
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland The Earl of St Germans Peelite 5 January 1853  
Master-General of the Ordnance The Lord Raglan non-party 30 September 1852 continued in office
Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance Sir Hew Dalrymple Ross non-party 6 May 1854  
Surveyor-General of the Ordnance Lauderdale Maule Whig 5 January 1853 died 1 August 1854
Clerk of the Ordnance William Monsell Whig 13 January 1853  
Storekeeper of the Ordnance Sir Thomas Hastings non-party 25 July 1845 continued in office
Paymaster-General The Lord Stanley of Alderley Whig 5 January 1853  
Postmaster-General The Viscount Canning Peelite 5 January 1853  
President of the Poor Law Board Matthew Talbot Baines Whig 30 December 1852  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Poor Law Board Grenville Berkeley   7 January 1853  
President of the Board of Trade Edward Cardwell Peelite 28 December 1852  
Vice-President of the Board of Trade The Lord Stanley of Alderley Whig 4 January 1853  
Attorney General Sir Alexander Cockburn, Bt Whig 28 December 1852  
Solicitor General Sir Richard Bethell   28 December 1852  
Judge Advocate General Charles Pelham Villiers   30 December 1852  
Lord Advocate James Moncreiff   30 December 1852  
Solicitor General for Scotland Robert Handyside   17 January 1853  
James Craufurd   16 November 1853
Thomas Mackenzie   11 January 1855
Attorney General for Ireland Abraham Brewster Peelite April 1853  
Solicitor General for Ireland William Keogh   April 1853  
Lord Steward of the Household The Duke of Norfolk Whig 4 January 1853  
The Earl Spencer Whig 10 January 1854
Lord Chamberlain of the Household The Marquess of Breadalbane Whig 15 January 1853  
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household Lord Ernest Bruce Peelite 30 December 1852  
Master of the Horse The Duke of Wellington   21 January 1853  
Treasurer of the Household Earl of Mulgrave Whig 4 January 1853  
Comptroller of the Household Viscount Drumlanrig   4 January 1853  
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms The Lord Foley Whig 30 December 1852  
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard The Viscount Sydney   30 December 1852  
Master of the Buckhounds The Earl of Bessborough Whig 30 December 1852  
Chief Equerry and Clerk Marshal Lord Alfred Paget Whig 30 December 1852  
Mistress of the Robes The Duchess of Sutherland Whig 15 January 1853  
Lords in Waiting The Marquess of Ormonde Whig 11 January 1853 – 25 September 1854  
The Earl Somers   13 January 1853 – 22 February 1857
The Lord Camoys Whig 13 January 1853 – 21 February 1858
The Lord Elphinstone Whig 13 January 1853 – 1 October 1853
The Lord Rivers Peelite 13 January 1853 – 21 February 1858
The Lord Waterpark Whig 13 January 1853 – 21 February 1858
The Lord de Tabley   13 January 1853 – 21 February 1858
The Earl of Listowel Whig 1 October 1853 – 21 February 1856
The Lord Dufferin and Clandeboye Whig 28 November 1854 – 21 February 1858


  • C. Cook and B. Keith, British Historical Facts 1830–1900'’
Preceded by
Who? Who? ministry
Government of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
First Palmerston ministry
1959 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1959 were appointments in many of the Commonwealth realms of Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of those countries. They were announced on 30 December 1958 to celebrate the year passed and mark the beginning of 1959.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

At this time, awards were still being made within the United Kingdom honours list on the advice of the premiers of Australian states. There was also a (federal) Australian honours list of awards made "on the advice of Her Majesty's Australian Ministers". The separate Australian honours system began in 1975.

Abraham Brewster

Abraham Brewster PC (Ire) (April 1796 – 26 July 1874) was an Irish judge and Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

First Palmerston ministry

The Viscount Palmerston, of the Whigs, first formed a government by popular demand in 1855, after the resignation of the coalition government of Lord Aberdeen. He was heavily criticised by Parliament in 1857 over the conduct of the Second Opium War and called a dissolution, but the nation voiced its support in the resulting general election and he remained in power. In 1858 he resigned when defeated "on a measure for removing conspiracies to murder abroad from the class of misdemeanour to that of felony", and was succeeded by another short-lived Conservative government under Lord Derby.

Geoffrey Hornby

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Geoffrey Thomas Phipps Hornby GCB (10 February 1825 – 3 March 1895) was a Royal Navy officer. As a junior officer, he saw action at the capture of Acre in November 1840 during the Egyptian–Ottoman War. As a captain he arrived at Vancouver Island with a naval brigade and found that a unit of American troops was about to take over the San Juan Islands in a dispute known as the Pig War: he used his powers of diplomacy to facilitate a peaceful handover of the islands to the United States.

Hornby went on to be Commander-in-Chief, West Africa Squadron, Commander-in-Chief of the Flying Squadron and then Commander-in-Chief, Channel Squadron. After that he became Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, President of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich and finally Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth.

George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen

George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen, (28 January 1784 – 14 December 1860), styled Lord Haddo from 1791 to 1801, was a British statesman, diplomat and landowner, successively a Tory, Conservative and Peelite politician, who served as Prime Minister from 1852 until 1855 in a coalition between the Whigs and Peelites, with Radical and Irish support. The Aberdeen ministry was filled with powerful and talented politicians, whom Aberdeen was largely unable to control and direct. Despite trying to avoid this happening, it took Britain into the Crimean War, and fell when its conduct became unpopular, after which Aberdeen retired from politics.

Aberdeen's career was dominated by foreign policy, but his experience did not prevent the slide towards the Crimean War. His personal life was marked by the loss of both parents by the time he was eleven, and of his first wife after only seven years of a happy marriage. His daughters died young, and his relations with his sons were difficult. Before his marriage he travelled extensively in Europe, including Greece, and he had a serious interest in the classical civilisations and their archaeology. On his return to Britain in 1805 he devoted much time and energy to improving conditions on his Scottish estates.

After the death of his wife in 1812 he became a diplomat, almost immediately being given the important embassy to Vienna while still in his twenties. His rise in politics was equally rapid and lucky, and "two accidents—Canning's death and Wellington's impulsive acceptance of the Canningite resignations" led to his becoming Foreign Secretary to the Duke of Wellington in 1828 despite "an almost ludicrous lack of official experience"; he had been a minister for less than six months. After holding the position for two years, followed by another cabinet role, by 1841 his experience led to his appointment as Foreign Secretary again under Robert Peel for a longer term. This was despite his being a "notoriously bad speaker", which mattered far less in the House of Lords, and having a "dour, awkward, occasionally sarcastic exterior". Nonetheless his Peelite colleague, later himself Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone, said of him that he was "the man in public life of all others whom I have loved. I say emphatically loved. I have loved others, but never like him".

Hyde Parker (Royal Navy officer, born 1784)

Vice-Admiral Hyde Parker CB (1784 – 26 May 1854), sometimes referred to as Hyde Parker III, was a Royal Navy officer. As a junior officer he took part in the capture of the Cape of Good Hope in January 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. He also commanded the naval forces at the siege of Machias in September 1814 and took the surrender of the frigate USS President in January 1815 during the War of 1812. He became First Naval Lord in February 1852 and in that capacity he ensured that all new warships being procured were propelled by steam and he also increased the size of the active fleet.

Independent Irish Party

The Independent Irish Party (1852–1858) was an Irish political party founded in July 1852 by 40 Liberal Irish MPs who had been elected to the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It is sometimes mentioned as the Irish Independent Opposition Party, and colloquially known as the Pope's Brass Band because of their stance on the Ecclesiastical Titles Act. Its MPs were also called the "Irish Brigade".It had two central aims:

The repeal of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, which banned Roman Catholic Bishops from re-assuming pre-reformation ecclesiastical bishopric titles in the United Kingdom, as well as the prohibition of the wearing of clerical outfits.

The adoption and enforcement of the Three Fs, namely

fair rent;

fixity of tenure;

free sale. (These would all have aided Irish tenant farms, all of whom lacked them.)The Independent Irish Party initially achieved the balance of power in the House of Commons. It brought down Lord Derby's Tory ministry and enabled the leader of the Peelites Lord Aberdeen and Whigs to form a coalition government. However two Irish MPs, John Sadleir and William Keogh then broke ranks by joining this ministry, an act for which they were never forgiven in Ireland, where they were remembered with contempt even a century later.Some but not all Irish Liberal candidates in the 1852 election had pledged themselves to form an independent party in Parliament. This was done in their election address or at two conferences in 1852, one held by the Tenants League and the other about Religious Equality. 48 Irish MPs were elected after making such a pledge. One was unseated after an election petition.

The group began to nominate its own candidates in by-elections between 1852 and 1857 and had some limited success, winning four seats.

List of British governments

This article lists successive British governments, also referred to as ministries, from the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707, continuing through the duration of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1801 to 1922, and since then dealing with those of the present-day United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

List of Lords Commissioners of the Treasury

This is a list of Lords Commissioners of the Treasury of Great Britain.

List of votes of no confidence in British governments

This a list of votes of no confidence in British governments led by Prime Ministers of the former Kingdom of Great Britain and the current United Kingdom. The first such motion of no confidence to defeat a ministry was in 1742 against Sir Robert Walpole, a Whig who served from 1721 to 1742 and was the de facto first Prime Minister to hold office. Thereafter there have been 21 votes of confidence successfully motioned against British governments. The most recent was held against the Callaghan ministry in March 1979. Following the defeat, Prime Minister James Callaghan was forced to hold a general election by May; he was defeated by Margaret Thatcher of the Conservative Party.

Before the vote in 1979, the most recent vote of no confidence in a British government was in 1924, the longest interval in British parliamentary history.

Maurice Berkeley, 1st Baron FitzHardinge

Admiral Maurice Frederick FitzHardinge Berkeley, 1st Baron FitzHardinge, (3 January 1788 – 17 October 1867) was a Royal Navy officer. As a junior officer he commanded gunboats on the Tagus, reinforcing the Lines of Torres Vedras, in Autumn 1810 during the Peninsular War and, as a captain, he served on the coast of Syria taking part in the capture of Acre in November 1840 during the Oriental Crisis. He also served as Whig Member of Parliament for Gloucester and became First Naval Lord in the Aberdeen ministry in June 1854 and in that role focussed on manning the fleet and in carrying out reforms and improvements in the food, clothing, and pay of seamen.

Officers' Training Corps

The Officers' Training Corps (OTC), more fully called the University Officers' Training Corps (UOTC), are military leadership training units similar to a university club but operated by the British Army. Their focus is to develop the leadership abilities of their members whilst giving them an opportunity to take part in military life whilst at university. UOTC units are not deployable units nor are their cadets classed as trained soldiers. The majority of members of the UOTC do not go on to serve in the regular or reserve forces.

Orange Free State

The Orange Free State (Dutch: Oranje-Vrijstaat, Afrikaans: Oranje-Vrystaat, abbreviated as OVS) was an independent Boer sovereign republic in southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, which later became a British colony and a province of the Union of South Africa. It is the historical precursor to the present-day Free State province. Extending between the Orange and Vaal rivers, its borders were determined by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1848 when the region was proclaimed as the Orange River Sovereignty, with a seat of a British Resident in Bloemfontein.In the northern part of the territory a Voortrekker Republic was established at Winburg in 1837. This state was in federation with the Republic of Potchefstroom which later formed part of the South African Republic (Transvaal).Following the granting of sovereignty to the Transvaal Republic, the British recognised the independence of the Orange River Sovereignty and the country officially became independent as the Orange Free State on 23 February 1854, with the signing of the Orange River Convention. The new republic incorporated the Orange River Sovereignty and included the traditions of the Winburg-Potchefstroom Republic.Although the Orange Free State developed into a politically and economically successful republic, it experienced chronic conflict with the British (in the Boer Wars) until it was finally annexed as the Orange River Colony in 1900. It ceased to exist as an independent Boer republic on 31 May 1902 with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging at the conclusion of the Second Anglo-Boer War. Following a period of direct rule by the British, it joined the Union of South Africa in 1910 as the Orange Free State Province, along with the Cape Province, Natal, and the Transvaal. In 1961, the Union of South Africa became the Republic of South Africa.The republic's name derives partly from the Orange River, which in turn was named in honour of the Dutch ruling family, the House of Orange, by the Dutch explorer Robert Jacob Gordon. The official language in the Orange Free State was Dutch.

Orange River Sovereignty

The Orange River Sovereignty (1848–1854) was a short-lived political entity between the Orange and Vaal rivers in southern Africa. In 1854, it became the Orange Free State, and is now the Free State province of South Africa.

Richard Saunders Dundas

Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Saunders Dundas, (11 April 1802 – 3 June 1861) was a Royal Navy officer. As a captain, he took part in the capture of the Bogue forts in January 1841, during the First Opium War. He was appointed to the command of the Fleet in the Baltic Sea, in succession to Sir Charles Napier, in February 1855 and led the naval support during the latter stages of the Crimean War, enforcing a strict blockade and carrying out the bombardment of Sveaborg in August 1855. He was appointed First Naval Lord in the first Palmerston ministry in November 1857 and then, after stepping down to be Second Naval Lord during the second Derby–Disraeli ministry, he stepped up again to become First Naval Lord in the second Palmerston ministry in June 1859 remaining in office until his death. The Prime-Minister (Viscount Palmerston) described Dundas as "a most distinguished officer".

Robert Rawlinson

Sir Robert Rawlinson KCB (28 February 1810 – 31 May 1898) was an English engineer and sanitarian.

Sir Alexander Milne, 1st Baronet

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Alexander Milne, 1st Baronet, (10 November 1806 – 29 December 1896) was a Royal Navy officer. As a captain on the North America and West Indies Station he was employed capturing slave-traders and carrying out fishery protection duties. He served as a Junior Naval Lord under both Liberal and Conservative administrations and was put in charge of organising British and French transports during the Crimean War. He became Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station and in this role he acted with diplomacy, especially in response to the Trent Affair on 8 November 1861 during the American Civil War, when USS San Jacinto, commanded by Union Captain Charles Wilkes, intercepted the British mail packet RMS Trent and removed, as contraband of war, two Confederate diplomats, James Mason and John Slidell. He became First Naval Lord in the third Derby–Disraeli ministry in July 1866 and in this role took advantage of the Government's focus on spending reduction to ask fundamental questions about naval strategy. He again became First Naval Lord in the first Gladstone ministry in November 1872, remaining in office under the second Disraeli ministry and identifying the critical need for trade protection at times of War and demanding new cruisers to protect British merchant shipping.

United Kingdom coalition government

The United Kingdom has had several coalition governments throughout its history:

Aberdeen ministry, the British government under Lord Aberdeen (1852–1855)

Asquith coalition ministry, the British government under H. H. Asquith (1915–1916)

Lloyd George ministry, the British government under David Lloyd George (1916–1922)

War ministry, the British government during the Second World War

Chamberlain war ministry, the British government under Neville Chamberlain (1939–1940)

Churchill war ministry, the British government under Winston Churchill (1940–1945)

Cameron–Clegg coalition, the British government under David Cameron and Nick Clegg (2010–2015)

Who? Who? ministry

Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby led the "Who? Who?" ministry, a short-lived British Conservative government which was in power for a matter of months in 1852. Lord Derby was Prime Minister and Benjamin Disraeli served as Chancellor of the Exchequer. It marked the first time the protectionist wing of the Conservative Party had taken office since the Corn Laws schism of 1846. It is also called the first Derby–Disraeli ministry.Early in 1852 Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, by then very deaf, gave Derby's first government its nickname by shouting "Who? Who?" as the list of inexperienced Cabinet Ministers was read out in the House of Lords.

 Great Britain (1707–1801)
 UK (GB & Ire) (1801–1922)
 UK (GB & NI) (1922–present)

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