Lord Barham at the Admiralty, 1805-6

By I. Lloyd Philips, published August 1978


Lord Barham was the First Lord of the Admiralty at the time of Trafalgar. His reputation, although wise, vigilant and experienced, was quickly overshadowed by the impact of the death of Nelson. Further criticism came later with the publication of Sir John Barrow’s Autobiography, when Barham’s allegedly passive role in the conduct of Admiralty business was divulged. Born in 1726, Charles Middleton entered the Navy at an early age and served afloat throughout the Seven Years War, during which he secured a number of prizes. He then led the life of a country gentleman until appointed to the Navy Board as Comptroller of the Navy in 1778. His close relationship with Pitt secured the flag that Howe had denied him, in 1787. In 1794 he was finally appointed to the Admiralty Board under Chatham. By 1805, having presided over the Navy board for twelve years, Barham had had great experience of naval administration and he had survived many complex relationships, including those with Nelson. He retired in 1806, returned to his estate in Kent and died in June 1813, aged 87, after a lifetime of service.

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Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration

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