Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Oliver Lyttelton

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Oliver Lyttelton, first Viscount Chandos (1893–1972), businessman and politician

1919 joined the banking firm of Brown Shipley and Co.

1920 he married Lady Moira Godolphin Osborne (1891–1976). They had a daughter and three sons.

1920 Lyttelton was invited to join the British Metal Corporation, a firm established at the instigation of the British government with the long-term strategic objective of undermining Germany's domination of the metal trade and making the British empire self-supporting in non-ferrous metals. After a brief apprenticeship Lyttelton served as general manager of the corporation and subsequently as managing director.

He also became chairman of the London Tin Corporation and joined the boards of a number of foreign companies, including that of the German firm Metallgesellschaft.

1939 On the outbreak of war he was appointed controller of non-ferrous metals. He set about exploiting his extensive network of personal contacts and his intimate knowledge of the mining industry in order to secure for Britain vital supplies of metals at highly advantageous rates.

1940 Appointed by his old friend Churchill as President of the Board of Trade. Later that year became MP for Aldershot

1942 Lyttelton succeeded Lord Beaverbrook as Minister of Production

1945 He remained Minister of Production during Churchill's caretaker government of May to July 1945, combining this with his old job as president of the Board of Trade.

After the Conservatives' defeat in the 1945 general election, he became chairman of Associated Electrical Industries. He retained his parliamentary seat and acted as a prominent member of Churchill's front-bench team. As chairman of the Conservative back-bench trade and industry committee, he led opposition in the Commons to the government's proposals to nationalize the steel industry.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Biography of Oliver Lyttelton, ODNB