Blind peers

Lord Norton

47573This weekend’s quiz questions.   The House of Commons has a promiment member who is blind (David Blunkett, a university classmate of mine.)   He is not the first blind member to sit in the House of Commons.   The House of Lords also has  had a number of members who have been blind.  One of them was among the first batch of life peers created in 1958.  Who was he? 

Most of those peers who have been blind are believed to have lost their sight later in life.  (One, for example, was blinded in war.)   One, though, has been blind since birth.  Can you name him?

3 comments for “Blind peers

  1. 06/12/2008 at 5:57 pm

    Lord Low of Dalston, Chairman of the RNIB, has been blind from birth. Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, one of the first life peers, had lost his sight in the First World War. I can’t find any more life peers, but at least two hereditaries were blind: Henry Furniss, 1st Baron Sanderson, who went blind in childhood; and Ernest Whitfield, 1st Baron Kenswood, who lost his sight in his 20s. Both were created peers, rather than inheriting their titles, so it can be assumed they would have been life peers if such a thing had existed!

  2. lordnorton
    06/12/2008 at 7:50 pm

    Jonathan: Well done – correct in response to both questions. You also identify other peers who have been blind. Lord Low’s own research, though, has also identified another blind peer, one who held high office in the 19th Century: Lord Lyndhurst, who was Lord Chancellor.

    Lord Fraser of Lonsdale was, as you say, one of the first life peers. He was blinded in the First World War and was first elected as an MP in 1924. He was the MP for Morecambe and Lonsdale at the time of his elevation to the peerage.

  3. 09/12/2008 at 2:08 pm

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