elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

John Boyle & Oliver Baldwin

Oliver Ridsdale Baldwin, 2nd Earl Baldwin of Bewdley (1 March 1899 – 10 August 1958), known as Viscount Corvedale from 1937 to 1947, was a British politician who had a quixotic career at political odds to his father, three-time Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. The front page of the Daily Mail for Wednesday 5 August 1931 was dominated by a news story claiming that Oliver Baldwin, the Prime Minister's elder son, was living with a man named John Boyle. (Oliver Ridsdale Baldwin, 2nd Earl Baldwin by Planet News, vintage print, 14 February 1949, 9 5/8 in. x 7 3/4 in. (245 mm x 198 mm) image size, Transferred from Evening Standard Library, 1983, Photographs Collection, NPG x184172)

The story said:
We do not know if Mr. Oliver Baldwin and Mr. John Boyle are indulging in unnatural vice, but if they are committing criminal acts the police should be informed and a criminal prosecution brought. The fact that Mr. Baldwin is a son of the Prime Minister should not allow him to escape the law.
That afternoon a very angry Stanley Baldwin gave a press conference on the steps of 10 Downing Street. With him were Lucy, his wife, and Oliver. He said that Oliver had the love and support of himself and his wife. They knew that he and John Boyle were close friends and were living together. What they did in their personal lives was no one's business and certainly not a matter for the law. He said that Lord Rothermere had descended to the gutter in publishing that story. He would appoint a Royal Commission to investigate the laws relating to Sexual Offences.

Oliver Ridsdale Baldwin, 2nd Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, known as Viscount Corvedale from 1937 to 1947, was a British politician who had a quixotic career at political odds to his father, 3time Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. Baldwin was homosexual, a fact well known within the family but not to the public (his mother was again supportive and both parents acknowledged his long term relationship with John Boyle). In 1948 he was appointed Governor of the Leeward Islands and took John Boyle with him.

Oliver Baldwin became engaged to Doreen Arbuthnot in January 1922, but then left in February for Africa as a special correspondent for the Morning Post and did not return until late in the year. Oliver never married. In the next year he met John Boyle, who became his life partner. When his father became a peer, Oliver Baldwin received the courtesy title of Viscount Corvedale. When his father died in 1947, he took his seat in the House of Lords as Earl Baldwin of Bewdley. Later that year he was appointed Governor of the Leeward Islands (then a British colony in the West Indies) and took John Boyle with him.

Baldwin was educated at Eton College, and grew up in the shadow of his father's political career. He joined the Irish Guards on 30th July 1917 and served in France through the remainder of World War I. After the war he travelled extensively and worked as a journalist and travel writer. He was in Armenia with the job of an infantry instructor. There the Bolsheviks imprisoned him for two months and later he was imprisoned by the Turks for a further grim five months. Despite his Conservative family, he gradually grew to adopt left-wing views and eventually announced that he was a Marxist and joined the Labour Party. He frequently addressed crowds from a socialist platform at Hyde Park Corner.

At the 1924 elections Baldwin contested the seat of Dudley for Labour. By this time his father was leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister, and his candidacy naturally attracted press comment. At the 1929 election he won Dudley, and served as a backbench member of Ramsay MacDonald's Labour government, facing his defeated father across the House.

He remained on personal good terms with his father despite their different politics, as each regarded their differences as being of principle and not personality. Baldwin refrained from personally attacking his father, and when he visited him, there was a tacit agreement that politics was not a suitable subject for discussion. Lucy Baldwin, who was also a strong Conservative, came from a background where questioning received opinion was regarded as a good thing, supported her son - although she did not like to attend the House of Commons to see her son and husband on opposite sides.

Like other young left-wing Labour MPs, Baldwin was critical of MacDonald's insistence on strict financial management and refusal to launch large Keynesian public works programmes. Early in 1931 Baldwin resigned from the Labour Party and briefly associated with Oswald Mosley's New Party, but repudiated Mosley after one day and rejoined Labour. When MacDonald formed the National Government Baldwin remained with the opposition Labour Party and inevitably lost his seat in the 1931 general election. He returned to journalism.

Baldwin fought Paisley at the 1935 election, failing to be elected by just 389 votes behind the Liberal candidate. In 1937 Stanley Baldwin retired from politics and was created Earl Baldwin of Bewdley. As a result Oliver Baldwin acquired the courtesy title Viscount Corvedale, although he remained a commoner. In 1939 he rejoined the army, becoming a major in the Intelligence Corps and serving in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Eritrea and Algeria.

Among the consequences of Baldwin's homosexuality was a rift with the novelist Rudyard Kipling, (who was Stanley Baldwin's first cousin, and was sometimes referred to as Oliver's uncle). Baldwin had idolised Kipling in his youth and had been a favourite of the Kipling family. But when Kipling learned of Oliver's "beastliness" (and his radical politics), he cut him off. When Kipling died in 1936, Baldwin made a speech attacking his famous relative which was widely reported, although the real reason for the hostility could not be mentioned.

At the 1945 general election, when Labour returned to power under Clement Attlee, Baldwin was elected for Paisley. In 1946 he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary for War, a post he held until 1947. But there was little chance that he would hold high office. His homosexuality was well-known, and Attlee was concerned about the potential for scandal at a time when homosexuality was still illegal: he kept Tom Driberg out of the government for the same reason.

When Stanley Baldwin died in 1947, Oliver succeeded him as Earl Baldwin of Bewdley. It was not possible at this time to renounce a peerage, and Baldwin had no choice but to leave the Commons and take his seat in the House of Lords. Later that year, presumably to give him a dignified exit from politics, he was appointed Governor of the Leeward Islands, a British colonial territory in the Caribbean. He created a minor scandal by taking John Boyle with him.

Partly for this reason, and partly because he made no secret of his continuing socialist views among the British planter elite in Antigua, Baldwin was recalled in 1950. He died in 1958 and was succeeded in the earldom by his brother.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Baldwin,_2nd_Earl_Baldwin_of_Bewdley

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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Tags: days of love, leader: oliver baldwin

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