Strutt, Edward (DNB00)
STRUTT, EDWARD, first Baron Belper (1801–1880), born at Derby on 26 Oct. 1801, was only son of William Strutt of St. Helen's House, Derby, by his wife Barbara, daughter of Thomas Evans of that town [see under Strutt, Jedediah]. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1823 and M.A. in 1826. While at Cambridge he filled the office of president of the Union Society. On leaving the university he settled in London in order to study law. He never took an active part in the affairs of the family firm (W. G. and J. Strutt), of which he was a partner. On 10 May 1823 he was admitted a student at Lincoln's Inn, and on 13 June 1825 at the Inner Temple. He was not called to the bar.
As a boy Strutt shared his father's interest in science, but he mainly devoted his leisure, while a law-student in London, to a study of social and economic questions. He became intimate with Jeremy Bentham (a friend of his father) and James and John Stuart Mill, and under their influence framed his political views, identifying himself with the philosophical radicals. On 31 July 1830 he was returned in the liberal interest member of parliament for the borough of Derby. He retained his seat until 1847, when his election, with that of his fellow member, the Hon. Frederick Leveson-Gower, was declared void on petition on account of bribery practised by their agents (Hansard, Parl. Debates, xcviii. 402–14). On 16 July 1851 he was returned for Arundel in Sussex. That seat he exchanged in July 1852 for Nottingham, which he continued to represent until his elevation to the peerage. From 1846 to 1848 he filled the post of chief commissioner of railways, in 1850 he became high sheriff for Nottinghamshire, and in December 1852, when Lord Aberdeen's coalition government was formed, he received the office of chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, but resigned it in June 1854 in favour of Earl Granville. On 29 Aug. 1856 he was created Baron Belper of Belper in Derbyshire, and in 1862 he received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Cambridge University. In 1864 he was nominated lord lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, and in 1871 he succeeded George Grote [q. v.] as president of University College, London. He was also chairman of quarter sessions for the county of Nottingham for many years, and was highly esteemed in that capacity, particularly by the legal profession.
Belper was in middle life a recognised authority on questions of free trade, law reform, and education. Through life he enjoyed the regard of his ablest contemporaries, among others of Macaulay, John Romilly, McCulloch, John and Charles Austen, George Grote, and Charles Buller. His interest in science and literature proved a solace to his later years. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 22 March 1860, and was also a fellow of the Geological and Zoological societies. He died on 30 June 1880 at his house, 75 Eaton Square, London. His portrait, painted by George Richmond, R.A., is in possession of the present Lord Belper.
Belper married, on 28 March 1837, Amelia Harriet, youngest daughter of William Otter [q. v.], bishop of Chichester. By her he had four sons—William, who died in 1856, Henry, his successor, Arthur, and Frederick—and four daughters: Sophia, married to Sir Henry Denis Le Marchant, bart.; Caroline, married to Sir Kenelm Edward Digby; Mary, married first to Mr. Henry Mark Gale, secondly to Henry Handford, M.D.; and Ellen, married to Mr. George Murray Smith.
[G. E. C[okayne]'s Peerage; Burke's Peerage; Men of the Time, 1879; Times, 1 July 1880; Walford's County Families, 1880; Proc. of Royal Soc. xxxi. 75; Index to Admissions at Inner Temple.]