The Lord Ritchie of Dundee
President of the Board of Trade
In office
29 June 1895 – 7 November 1900
Prime MinisterThe Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded byJames Bryce
Succeeded byGerald Balfour
Home Secretary
In office
12 November 1900 – 12 July 1902
Prime MinisterThe Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded bySir Matthew White Ridley, Bt
Succeeded byAretas Akers-Douglas
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
11 August 1902 – 9 October 1903
MonarchEdward VII
Prime MinisterArthur Balfour
Preceded bySir Michael Hicks Beach, Bt
Succeeded byAusten Chamberlain
Personal details
Born(1838-11-19)19 November 1838
Dundee, Scotland
Died9 January 1906(1906-01-09) (aged 67)
Biarritz, France
Resting placeKensal Green Cemetery, London, England
Political partyConservative

Charles Thomson Ritchie, 1st Baron Ritchie of Dundee, PC (19 November 1838 – 9 January 1906) was a British businessman and Conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1874 until 1905 when he was raised to the peerage. He served as Home Secretary from 1900 to 1902 and as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1902 to 1903.

Background and education

Ritchie was born at Dundee, Scotland, the third son of William Ritchie, of Rockhill near Broughty Ferry in Forfarshire, head of the firm of William Ritchie & Sons, of London and Dundee, East India merchants, jute spinners and manufacturers. The Ritchie family had long been connected with the town of Dundee. His elder brother James Thomson Ritchie was Lord Mayor of London from 1903 to 1904 and was created a Baronet in 1903 (a title which became extinct on his death). Ritchie was educated at the City of London School, after which he went into the family business.

He married Margaret Ower, daughter of Thomas Ower of Perth, on 7 December 1858.

Political career

Caricature of Charles Thomson Ritchie by Carlo Pellegrini.

In 1874 was returned to parliament as Conservative member for the Tower Hamlets. In 1885 he was made secretary to the Admiralty, and from 1886 to 1892 was President of the Local Government Board in Lord Salisbury's second administration, sitting as member for St George in the East. He was responsible for the Local Government Act 1888, instituting county councils; and a large section of the Conservative party always owed him a grudge for having originated the London County Council.[1]

In Lord Salisbury's later ministries, as member for Croydon (1895–1906), he was President of the Board of Trade (1895–1900) and Home Secretary (1900–1902); and when Sir Michael Hicks-Beach retired in August 1902, he became Chancellor of the Exchequer in Balfour's cabinet.[2] In his earlier years he had been a fair-trader and he was strongly opposed to Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain's movement for a preferential tariff, leading to his sacking by Balfour in September 1903.[1] Ritchie's son in law, the Scottish architect Mervyn Macartney, built a country house for Ritchie, Welders House, in the Buckinghamshire village of Jordans.[3]

On 22 December 1905, he was created a peer as Baron Ritchie of Dundee, of Welders in the Parish of Chalfont St Giles in the County of Buckingham.[4] However, he was in ill-health, and died at Biarritz in January 1906. He is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.[5] He was succeeded in the title by his second but only surviving son, Charles.

Ritchie was elected as Rector of the University of Aberdeen in late October 1902,[6] taking up the position the following month, serving for three years until November 1905.


Coat of arms of Charles Ritchie, 1st Baron Ritchie of Dundee
Out of an Eastern Crown Or a Unicorn's Head Argent armed of the first and charged on the neck with an Anchor Sable
Argent an Anchor Sable on a Chief of the last three Lions' Heads erased of the first
On either side an Unicorn Gules gorged with an Eastern Crown Or the dexter charged on the shoulder with a Purse Or and the sinister with a Balance also Or
Virtute Acquiritur Honos (Honour is acquired by virtue) [7]


  1. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ "Mr Balfour´s Ministry - full list of appointments". The Times. No. 36842. London. 9 August 1902. p. 5.
  3. ^ Historic England, "Welders House (1124836)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 14 October 2017
  4. ^ "No. 27867". The London Gazette. 26 December 1905. p. 9263.
  5. ^ Paths of Glory. Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery. 1997. p. 97.
  6. ^ "University intelligence". The Times. No. 36913. London. 31 October 1902. p. 8.
  7. ^ Debrett's Peerage. 1921. p. 761.
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Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byJoseph d'Aguilar SamudaActon Smee Ayrton Member of Parliament for Tower Hamlets 1874–1885 With: Joseph d'Aguilar Samuda (1874–1880)James Bryce (1880–1885) Constituency abolished New constituency Member of Parliament for Tower Hamlets, St George 1885–1892 Succeeded byJohn Benn Preceded byHon. Sidney Herbert Member of Parliament for Croydon 1895–1905 Succeeded byH. O. Arnold-Forster Political offices Preceded byThomas Brassey Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty 1885–1886 Succeeded byJ. T. Hibbert Preceded byJames Stansfeld President of the Local Government Board 1886–1892 Succeeded byHenry Fowler Preceded byJames Bryce President of the Board of Trade 1895–1900 Succeeded byGerald Balfour Preceded bySir Matthew Ridley, Bt Home Secretary 1900–1902 Succeeded byAretas Akers-Douglas Preceded bySir Michael Hicks Beach, Bt Chancellor of the Exchequer 1902–1903 Succeeded byAusten Chamberlain Academic offices UnknownLast known title holder:The Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal Rector of the University of Aberdeen 1902–1905 Succeeded bySir Frederick Treves, Bt Peerage of the United Kingdom New creation Baron Ritchie of Dundee 1905–1906 Succeeded byCharles Ritchie