The Lord Crowther
By Howard Coster, 1937
13 May 1907
|Died||5 February 1972 (aged 64)|
Geoffrey Crowther, Baron Crowther (13 May 1907 – 5 February 1972) was a British economist, journalist, educationalist and businessman. He was editor of The Economist from 1938 to 1956.
Early life and education
Crowther was born in Headingley, Leeds on 13 May 1907. He was educated at Leeds Grammar School and Oundle School before gaining a scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge to read modern languages, in which he took a first in 1928. He then changed to economics and was awarded an upper first class degree in 1929. He was elected president of the Cambridge Union Society in 1928.
Donald Tyerman said of him that "Crowther's self-awareness and self-confidence were not so much asserted as taken for granted. But men who did well enough in life after Cambridge were in despair when they saw how sure it seemed that he would succeed in whatever he chose to do."
In 1929 he was awarded a Commonwealth Fund Fellowship. He spent a year at Yale, where he met his wife Peggy and then, while nominally attached to Columbia University, he spent a year on Wall Street. From 1931 he worked in a London merchant bank and on the recommendation of John Maynard Keynes became an advisor on banking to the Irish Government. He married Peggy in 1932 and after a further recommendation from Keynes joined the staff of The Economist in the same year.
Under his editorship, The Economist's circulation grew fivefold. It became one of the most influential journals in the world and "made greater progress in every way than in any similar period in its history".
He nurtured the careers of a number of distinguished journalists and writers, including Roland Bird, Donald Tyerman, Barbara Ward, Isaac Deutscher, John Midgley, Norman Macrae, Margaret Cruikshank, Helen Hill Miller, Marjorie Deane, Nancy Balfour, Donald McLachlan, Keith Kyle, Andrew Boyd and George Steiner. He was particularly supportive of the careers of women at a time when this was remarkable in the newspaper world.
He resigned in 1956 after serving seventeen and a half years, just one month longer than Layton. He had become a director of Economist Newspaper Ltd. in 1947 and on his resignation as editor he became managing director. In 1963 he succeeded Layton as chairman.
During the Second World War he joined the Ministry of Supply and was for a time at the Ministry of Information, before being appointed deputy head of joint war production staff at the Ministry of Production.
In 1956, he was appointed Chairman of the Central Advisory Council for Education. The result was The Crowther Report – Fifteen to Eighteen, which eventually led, in 1972, to the raising of the school leaving age to 16, and in which he coined the word numeracy.
In 1971, he authored the Report of the Committee on Consumer Credit, the "Crowther Report", whose recommendations led to the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
Until his death in 1972, he was chairman of the Royal Commission on the Constitution.
Crowther served for several years on the board of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and was instrumental in insuring its survival during the war years.
At one point Crowther held as many as 40 directorships. His appointments included vice-chairman of Commercial Union, chairman of The Economist Group, Trust Houses Group, Trafalgar House and Hazell Sun as well as director of London Merchant Securities, Royal Bank of Canada, British Printing Corporation and Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc..
Awards and honours
He also was awarded seven honorary degrees:
- Honorary Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, 1958
- Hon LL.D. Nottingham, 1951
- Hon D.Sc (Econ.) London, 1954
- Hon LL.D. Swarthmore, 1957
- Hon LL.D. Dartmouth, 1957
- Hon LL.D. Michigan, 1960
- Hon LL.D. Liverpool, 1961
Crowther's parents were Hilda Louise Reed (died 1950) and Charles Crowther (1876–1964), a professor of Agricultural Chemistry at the University of Leeds and then principal of Harper Adams Agricultural College in Shropshire from 1922 to 1944.
He had an elder sister Phyllis who married and had two sons.
His younger brother, Bernard Martin, followed him to Clare, from where, after obtaining a PhD in Physics and collaborating with Mark Oliphant, he, like Geoffrey, was awarded a Commonwealth Fund scholarship in 1939, before the war intervened. He was for many years the editor of Physics Abstracts. He married Peggy's younger sister, Anne, and had three children.
Crowther met Margaret Worth, who had won a scholarship to Yale Law School from Swarthmore College, in the library at Yale College in 1929. They married on 9 February 1932. They had six children. Their eldest child, Judith Vail, died in a car crash outside Boulogne-sur-Mer on 11 July 1955, aged 20.
Crowther died of a heart attack at Heathrow Airport on 5 February 1972 at the age of 64.
- An Introduction to The Study of Prices, 2nd Edition with W. Layton, 1935
- Economics for Democrats, 1939
- An Outline of Money, 1940
- Edwards, Ruth Dudley (1993). The Pursuit of Reason. Hamish Hamilton Limited. p. 697. ISBN 978-0-87584-608-8.
- Bird, Roland (2004). "Crowther, Geoffrey, Baron Crowther (1907–1972)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/30988. Retrieved 13 January 2009. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Edwards, Ruth Dudley (1993). The Pursuit of Reason. Hamish Hamilton Limited. p. 741. ISBN 978-0-87584-608-8.
- Edwards, Ruth Dudley (1993). The Pursuit of Reason. Hamish Hamilton Limited. p. 469. ISBN 978-0-87584-608-8.
- Crowther, Geoffrey (1959). The Crowther Report – Fifteen to Eighteen. HMSO.
- "Richard Stone – Autobiography". Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 13 January 2009.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
- "'The Anglo-American Establishment' 1949". Retrieved 13 January 2009.
- Edwards, Ruth Dudley (1993). The Pursuit of Reason. Hamish Hamilton Limited. p. 758. ISBN 978-0-87584-608-8.
- Edwards, Ruth Dudley (1993). The Pursuit of Reason. Hamish Hamilton Limited. p. 867. ISBN 978-0-87584-608-8.
- "No. 41134". The London Gazette. 23 July 1957. p. 4379.
- "No. 44624". The London Gazette. 28 June 1968. p. 7229.
- Debrett's Peerage. 1973.
- "Nature Commonwealth Fund Fellowships Awards". Nature. 27 May 1939. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
| Editor of The Economist
|New institution|| Chancellor of the Open University
The Lord Gardiner