Northcote Papers

Scope and Content

The collection includes typed copies of Northcote's letters to colleagues, friends, family and political associates, including many to Gladstone and Disraeli, 1843-1887. In addition there are pamphlets, addresses, typed copies of letters to Northcote, cartoons from magazines, newspaper cuttings, appreciations of Northcote, verses by Northcote, notes for Lord Iddesleigh's biography by TH Farrer, anecdotes and other miscellanea.

Administrative / Biographical History

Stafford Henry Northcote (1818-1887), 1st Earl of Iddesleigh, statesman, was born in London, the eldest son of Henry Stafford Northcote (1792-1851), a younger son of the Northcote family of Upton Pyne, baronets. His mother, Agnes Mary Cockburn, died when he was twenty-one years of age. He was educated at Eton and Balliol College Oxford. After Oxford he studied law at the Inner Temple, but in 1842 was made principal private secretary to WE Gladstone, then Vice-President of the Board of Trade. In 1850 he was appointed one of the secretaries of the Great Exhibition, and the following year, on the deaths of both his father and grandfather, he succeeded to the baronetcy of Northcote of Upton Pyne. In 1853 he served on a commission for reforming the Board of Trade and drew up a report on the permanent civil service, recommending that a system of examination should be employed to limit entry. He became an MP for Dudley in 1855; in 1858 he became the successful candidate for Stamford. In 1866 he entered the cabinet as President of the Board of Trade, resigned his seat and stood in a by-election to represent North Devon, which he won. The following year he became Secretary for India, and in 1874, when Disraeli took office, he became Chancellor of the Exchequer, and then leader of the House of Commons after Disraeli's elevation to the Lords. Following the 1880 election, which the Conservatives lost, Northcote led the opposition in the Commons. He was made Earl of Iddesleigh in 1885, and under Lord Salisbury became Foreign Secretary. He died in the Prime Minister's house in Downing Street in the presence of the Prime Minister on 12 January 1887.


As arranged by Northcote

Conditions Governing Access

Usual EUL arrangements apply

Acquisition Information

The papers were loaned to Exeter University Library in 1984.

Other Finding Aids

There is a summary (2pp) handlist available

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL arrangements apply

Custodial History

Most papers are in contemporary (Victorian) bindings