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Henry Duncan McLaren

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Henry Duncan McLaren, 2nd Baron Aberconway, CBE (16 April 1879 – 23 May 1953) was a British politician, horticulturist and industrialist. He was the son of Charles McLaren, 1st Baron Aberconway and Laura Pochin.

Born in Richmond upon Thames, the son of Charles Benjamin Bright McLaren

He was educated at Eton and obtained a Master of Arts from Balliol College, Oxford. In 1903 he became a barrister of Lincoln's Inn.

In 1906 he was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for West Staffordshire as a Liberal, and was Private Under-Secretary to the President of the Board of Trade, David Lloyd George, until 1908.

In 1910, he stood for his father's old seat of Bosworth and replaced him. He left politics in 1922, and succeeded his father in the Barony in 1934.

McLaren was also a notable industrialist, and chaired companies from both sides of the family, including John Brown and Co and the Tredegar Iron and Coal Co.

In 1915 he was the founding chairman of the Design and Industries Association.

1920 Around the end of his political career, he had Aberconway House built as a residence in Mayfair. He would also inherit the family estate (originally his maternal grandfather's) in Bodnant, where he extensively developed and added to the Bodnant Garden. He was an avid horticulturist and took interest in the breeding of rhododendrons and magnolias. He sponsored several botanical collectors, including George Forrest, and Rhododendron aberconwayi is named in his honour.

He died in Hiraethog aged 74.

He married Christabel Mary Melville Macnaghten (1890–1974), the daughter of Sir Melville Macnaghten, and had five children


1953 Obituary [1]

SHIPBUILDERS, engineers and those associated with the coal, iron and steel industries will have learned with regret of the death of Lord Aberconway, which occurred on Saturday, May 23rd.

The Right Honourable Sir Henry Duncan McLaren, the second Baron Aberconway of Bodnant in the County of Denbigh, was born on April 16, 1879, and educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, before being called to the Bar in 1905.

He followed the family interest in politics and sat as Liberal member for West Staffordshire from 1906 to 1910 and then succeeded his father as Liberal member for the Bosworth Division of Leicestershire, a seat which he held until 1922.

Henry Duncan McLaren closely followed in the footsteps of his father, the first Lord Aberconway, who served as a Member of Parliament for a number of years and who, after a successful career at the Bar, became keenly interested in industrial development.

His activities were widely spread over the fields of shipbuilding, engineering and associated industries and his son, who succeeded as second Baron in 1934, also became closely linked with his father's industrial interests and eventually became chairman of John Brown and Co., Ltd., Tredegar Iron and Coal Company, Ltd., Yorkshire Amalgamated Collieries, Ltd., Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Company, Ltd., and, before nationalisation, of Thomas Firth and John Brown, Ltd. Among his other interests he was a director of the National Provincial Bank, Ltd., and the London Assurance.

Lord Aberconway had many activities outside his work in industry, the most outstanding being his keen interest in gardening, and part of the gardens at Bodnant, adequately endowed, he gave to the National Trust. Gardening being one of his main recreations, it gave him particular pleasure to be the President of the Royal Horticultural Society, a position which he had held since 1931.



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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1953/05/29