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George Granville William Sutherland Leveson Gower

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George Granville William Sutherland Leveson Gower (1828-1892), 3rd Duke of Sutherland


1892 Obituary [1]

GEORGE GRANVILLE LEVESON GOWER, K.G., Duke of Sutherland, who died at Dunrobin Castle, Ross-shire, on Thursday, September 22, 1892, was eldest son of the second Duke and of Lady Harriet Elizabeth Georgina, daughter of the sixth Earl of Carlisle.

He was born in 1828, and succeeded to the titles and estates on the death of his father in 1861. In the peerage of Scotland he was Earl of Sutherland and Baron Strathnaver; in the peerage of England he was Baron Gower; in that of Great Britain he was Earl Gower, Viscount Trentham, and Marquis of Stafford ; while in that of the United Kingdom he was Duke of Sutherland, hi father having been advanced to that dignity in 1833.

In 1849, when Marquis of Stafford, the late Duke married Anne, only child of Mr. John Hay Mackenzie, of Cromartie and Newhall, who was created Countess of Cromartie in her own right in 1861, in token of Her Majesty's great personal regard for her. The late Duchess was also Mistress of the Robes to the Queen from 1870 till 1874. On her death in 1888 she was succeeded in her titles and estates by her second son, the present Earl of Cromartie. In 1889 the Duke married, as his second wife, Mary Caroline, widow of Mr. Arthur Kindersley Blair, and daughter of the late Rev. Richard Michell, D.D., Principal of Hertford College, Oxford.

The late Duke was Lord-Lieutenant of the counties of Sutherland and Cromartie. He was for a time Honorary Colonel of the 11th Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex) Regiment. As Marquis of Stafford he represented Sutherlandshire in the House of Commons from 1852 till 1861. He was long known as one of the most liberal and enterprising of Scottish landowners, and he took very public-spirited action in the reclamation of waste lands, and the extension of railways and railway traffic, in the northern counties of Scotland. It has been stated, moreover, that no Scottish landlord, of recent times at least, has expended such large sums of money on the improvement of his estates, and that this was done much less with an eye to profit than from a disinterested desire to improve the land, to develop the resources of the country, and to promote the comfort and well-being of the people living, not only on his own estates, but throughout the North of Scotland.

The inquiry of Lord Napier's Commission some years ago brought out the fact that, during the thirty years from 1853 to 1882, the late Duke and his father had spent on "estate works" at Dunrobin a sum of £637,300. Subsequently the late Duke embarked on a project for the reclamation of waste lands at Lairg and at Kildonan, on which he expended £254,900. These works have not yielded the return that was expected from them, but they gave employment to a large number of local labourers, and they are a monument to the energy and liberality of their projector. The Duke also expended nearly £50,000 on the coalmines at Brora, and on steam sawmills and brickworks, with the view of developing and encouraging local industries. His liberality and enterprise were quite as conspicuous in the prominent part he took in extending the railway system to the northern counties. He invested largely in the original Highland Railway, and was one of the chief promoters of the extension of that line from Dingwall to Strome Ferry. He is even more closely identified with the extensions of the Highland main line north of Bonar Bridge, and it has been said that, but for him, these extensions would not have been carried out. To the expense of the first section - from Bonar Bridge to Golspie - he contributed £94,200. The second section - from Golspie to Helmsdale - was made entirely at his expense. It cost £72,100, and is very properly known as "The Duke of Sutherland's Railway." To the cost of the third section—from Helmsdale to Wick, with a branch to Thurso—he contributed £60,000. Thus those sections of railway received from him no less a sum than £226,300, and the interest he received in return amounted to only 2 per cent. per annum.

The connection of the family with Staffordshire led the Duke, as well as his father, to take an interest in the development of the railway system in England.

The late Duke's father was one of the most liberal supporters of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, when it was commenced, and, in consideration of the valuable financial assistance which he rendered at that time, arrangements were made for having the father, and the son after him, permanent directors of the Company, in accordance with which the late Duke sat for a great part of his lifetime as a director of the London and North-Western Railway. He was also largely interested in the mineral industries of Staffordshire, being one of the proprietors of the Lilleshall Works in Shropshire, and having an interest in other undertakings. He took a considerable interest in metallurgical progress, and after he became a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1872, he now and again attended the meetings, but never took any more prominent part in the proceedings. One of the most notable incidents in the life of the late Duke was his visit to India, in company with the Prince of Wales, in 1876. He had the honour on more than one occasion to entertain the Queen and the Prince and Princess of Wales at Dunrobin. He cordially supported the Suez Canal scheme, and was present at the opening ceremony.


1893 Obituary [2]



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