Sclater-Booth, George (DNB00)

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SCLATER-BOOTH, GEORGE, Lord Basing (1826–1894), politician, the son of William Lutley Sclater (1789–1886) of Hoddington House, Odiham, Hampshire, and Anne Maria, daughter of William Bowyer, was born in London on 19 May 1826. The family descended from Richard Sclater (b. 1712), alderman of London [see under Sclater, William, (1575–1626)]. He was educated at Winchester, where he won the gold medal for Latin verse, and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. in 1847. He was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1851 and went the western circuit, but never made much effort to secure a practice.

In April 1857 Sclater, who assumed the surname of Booth in compliance with the will of a relative, entered the House of Commons as conservative member for North Hampshire, and took to parliamentary life with much zest. He was a constant attendant in the house, and served on numerous committees, but spoke rarely. In March 1867 he became secretary to the poor-law board in Disraeli's short administration, and in March 1868 was promoted to be financial secretary to the treasury, but went out of office in December. During the six years of Mr. Gladstone's first government he served as chairman of the committee on public accounts. In 1874 Sclater-Booth returned to office under his old chief as president of the local government board, and till 1880 was one of the most prominent figures on the treasury bench. His administration of his department was solid and businesslike, and he piloted many acts through parliament, including the Public Health Act of 1879. In January 1880 he was appointed chairman of grand committees in the house. In his own county, as a magistrate and man of business, his reputation was high, and he showed much tact in dealing with public meetings. He succeeded to the Hoddington estates in 1886, and on 7 July 1887 was raised to the peerage as Lord Basing of Basing and Byflete. He was chosen chairman in 1888 of the first county council of Hampshire. He was also official verderer of the New Forest. He died at Hoddington House on 22 Oct. 1894. He was a privy councillor, LL.D., and F.R.S.

Sclater-Booth was brought up to hunt and shoot, and at Oxford was reckoned an excellent oar. He accompanied his friend, Robert Mansfield, in one of those continental rowing excursions described in the ‘Log of the Water Lily.’ But he was more interested in art and music, and painted and sketched with much skill.

Sclater-Booth married, on 8 Dec. 1857, Lydia Caroline, daughter of Major George Birch of Clare Park, Hampshire. She died before him, in 1881, leaving four sons and six daughters.

[Burke's Peerage; Times, 23 Oct. 1894; Dod's Parl. Comp. 1886; private information.]

C. A. H.