An Edward VII Cabinet Minister’s Despatch Box, 1908
An Edward VII Cabinet Minister’s Despatch Box, 1908
An Edward VII Cabinet Minister’s Despatch Box, 1908
An Edward VII Cabinet Minister’s Despatch Box, 1908
An Edward VII Cabinet Minister’s Despatch Box, 1908
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An Edward VII Cabinet Minister’s Despatch Box, 1908

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Measurements: 20cm (8in) x 48cm (19in) x 35cm (14in)

 

Red leather over wood with brass fittings, and conforming to the 1860s ministerial despatch box design, the hinged lid centrally applied with recessed handle between two crowned EVIIR cyphers of Edward VII within twin black panels, the leading chamfered edge embossed ‘Viscount Wolverhampton’, the front of the box further applied with EVIIR cyphers, complete with working key, Bramah security lock and swing handle at the top to guarantee that the box is locked before being carried, the black interior fitted with compartmentalised tray.

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The present despatch box was used by Lord Wolverhampton from 1908 to 1910 while holding the  office of Lord President of the Council. As the holder of the fourth of the Great Offices of State, Lord Wolverhampton  was responsible for presiding over meetings of the Privy Council presenting business for the monarch's approval. In Lord Wolverhampton’s day the post was of a Cabinet rank under the H.H. Asquith. Sir Henry Hartley Fowler, G.C.S.I., 1st Viscount Wolverhampton

Henry Hartley Fowler, 1st Viscount Wolverhampton, G.C.S.I., P.C. (1830-1911) was widely thought of as a future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,. He was a solicitor and Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1880 until 1908 when he was raised to the peerage. A member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, he was the first solicitor and the first Methodist to enter the Cabinet or to be raised to the peerage. He served under William Ewart Gladstone as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department from 1884 to 1885, as Financial Secretary to the Treasury in 1886 and as President of the Local Government Board from 1892 to 1894 and under Lord Rosebery as Secretary of State for India from 1894 to 1895. In 1886, he was sworn of the Privy Council. Fowler later held office under Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H. Asquith as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 1905 and 1908. The latter year he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Wolverhampton, of Wolverhampton. In his approach to policymaking, according to Neil Smith, Sir Henry Fowler (who became Viscount Wolverhampton in 1908) was supportive of reform legislation in the areas of pensions, education, and the Poor Law. According to his private secretary, however, he did not have the patience to suffer Radical and Labour members gladly.