Chamberlain, Austen

BORN 16 Oct 1863, Birmingham, West Midlands - DIED 16 Mar 1937, London
BIRTH NAME Chamberlain, Joseph Austen
GRAVE LOCATION London: East Finchley Cemetery and Crematorium [Saint Marylebone Cemetery], East End Road, Finchley (Central Avenue, on the N.W. side, near the intersection with South Avenue)

Austen Chamberlain was the son of the industrialist Joseph Champerlain, who became mayor of Birmingham in later years. His mother Harriet Kenrick died in childbirth and in 1868 Joseph married Florence, Harriet's cousin. Their son Neville would become Prime Minister in 1937. Because of his mother's dead his father held him on a certain distance for 25 years.

He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and afterwards went to Paris to study politics. In Paris he met Clemenceau. After that he studied in Berlin for a year, where he dined with Bismarck but became suspicious about the German nationalism.

In 1888 he returned to the UK and he entered parliament for the Liberal Unionist Party in 1892. He was Civil Lord of the Admiralty until 1900 and Financial Secretary to the Treasury until 1902. In 1903 he became Chancellor of the Exchequer. His father had left parliament after a stroke and after Balfour lost two elections with the Unionists and retired as Conservative leader, Chamberlain had a chance to succeed Balfour, but he withdrew in favour of Walter Long.

During the First World War a wartime coalition government was formed and Chamberlain became Secretary of State for India. In 1918 he regained his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer after Lloyd George won the elections. In 1921 he succeeded Bonar Lew as the leader of the Conservative part of the government. In 1922 the conservatives revolted against the coalition they were part of and Chamberlain resigned as their leader, thus missing his final chance to become Prime Minister.

In Baldwin's second goverment he once more returned into the cabinet, now as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. In that position he negotiated the Locarno Pact of 1925 with Aristide Briand and Gustav Stresemann, resulting in an agreement that future conflicts would be settled by arbitration instead of war. For this he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1925 and he also received the Order of the Garter.

In 1929 he retired from his position and became a senior backbencher. During the last years of his life he was in favour of British rearmament because of the threat of Nazi Germany. He died in London in 1937.

• Father: Chamberlain, Joseph


The grave of Austen Chamberlain at Saint Marylebone Cemetery, Finchley London.
Picture by Androom (27 May 2014)


• Meller, Hugh, London Cemeteries, An illustrated Guide and Gazetteer, Avebury Publishing, Amersham, 1981
Austen Chamberlain - Wikipedia

Chamberlain, Houston Stewart

Published: 10 May 2015
Last update: 01 Apr 2022