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Aristocrats and the Industrial Revolution: The Leveson-Gowers

Image: The Most Noble George Granville Leveson Gower, Marquis of Stafford, KG, from an original picture by W Owen. The British Gallery of Contemporary Portraits. vol II (London, T Cadell, 1822).

Image from: Local Studies and History, Birmingham Central Library

Text: Judith Watkin

Summary

The Levesons were wool merchants in 15th century Wolverhampton. They grew in wealth as a result of judicious marriages, investment in property and government service. They became members of the Midlands aristocracy. Two members of the family were major players in the political, social and economic life of England in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Granville Leveson-Gower (1721-1803), 2nd Earl Gower and Marquis of Stafford, was a major landowner and through his role as an investor in canal development, mining and other emergent industries, he played an important part in the industrial life of the West Midlands. George Granville Leveson-Gower (1758-1833), 2nd Marquis of Stafford and 1st Duke of Sutherland inherited land and investments from his uncle and father. Through his marriage to Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland, additional property was added to his economic portfolio and he became the wealthiest man in England. Charting the lives of these two aristocrats provides an insight into the relationship between landed, industrial, commercial and political networks in the West Midlands. Other regional aristocrats such as the Earls of Dudley also developed local industry on their estates, but the Leveson-Gowers were particularly important because of the scale of their investments and the extent of their political power.

Sections [Click on the images on the right to access each section]

1. Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Gower, Marquis of Stafford (1721-1803)
2. Granville Leveson-Gower: Industrial and Commercial Entrepreneur
3. Granville Leveson-Gower: Political Career and Influence (1)
4. Granville Leveson-Gower: Political Career and Influence (2)
5. George Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Marquis of Stafford, 1st Duke of Sutherland (1758-1833)
6. George Granville Leveson-Gower: Political Career and Influence
7. George Granville Leveson-Gower: Economic Importance



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4600-0Aristocrats and the Industrial Revolution: The Leveson-Gowers 4211-0Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Gower, Marquis of Stafford (1721-1803) 1383-0Granville Leveson-Gower: Industrial and Commercial Entrepreneur 3531-0Granville Leveson-Gower: Political Career and Influence 4459-0Granville Leveson-Gower: Political Career and Influence 4601-0George Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Marquis of Stafford, 1st Duke of Sutherland (1758-1833) 4602-0George Granville Leveson-Gower: Political Career and Influence 4263-0George Granville Leveson-Gower: Economic Importance
Sources and Further Reading

Beckett, J.V, The Aristocracy in England, 1660-1914 (Oxford, Basil Blackwell,1986)
Hadfield, C, The Canals of the British Isles Vol. 5 – The Canals of the West Midlands(David & Charles, 1966)
Malet, H, Bridgewater the Canal Duke 1736-1803 (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1977)
Raybould, T, “Aristocratic Landowners and the Industrial Revolution: the Black Country Experience c.1760-1840”, Midland History, Vol. 9 (1984)
Richards, E, “The Industrial Face of a Great Estate: Trentham and Lilleshall (1780-1860)”,  Economic History Review, Vol. 27 (1974)
Richards, E, The Leviathan of Wealth (London, Routledge & Kegan Paul,1973)
W D Rubenstein, “British millionaires 1809-1849”, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, 47 (1974) pp 202-23
Wedgwood, J.C, Staffordshire Parliamentary History, Vol. 2, Part 2. HCS (1922)
Wordie, J.R, “Estate management in 18th Century England – the Building of the Leveson Gower Fortune” Royal Historical Association, 1982
Wordie, J.R., “Social Change on the Leveson-Gower Estates 1714-1832”, Economic History Review (1974), 27 p593-609
The Leverson-Gower Family page at the Elkin Family History Research Web Site
http://freespace.virgin.net/john.elkin/levgower001.htm
The First Duke of Sutherland/Dunrobin Castle page at the Golspie Community Web Site http://www.golspie.org.uk/mannie.htm
George Granville Leveson-Gower page at the Gazetteer for Scotland Web Site http://www.geo.ed.ac.uk/scotgaz/people/famousfirst621.html