Strickland, Lord Gerald (24.05.1861- 22.08.1940)

Prime Minister

Strickland, Lord Gerald (24.05.1861- 22.08.1940) Prime Minister

Born in Valletta, son of Walter Strickland and Louisa Bonic Mompalao, Gerald studied in Malta, Britain, and Italy. He began to take an active part in Maltese politics at an early age and won the warm praise of Dr Fortunato Mizzi, whom he even accompanied to London to submit a scheme for a legislative assembly,.The result was that the new Constitution of December 1887 was largely based on the joint Strickland-Mizzi proposals.

In 1887, at the age of 28, he was elected to the Council of Government as representative of the nobility and landed proprietor.,;. In 1888 he was nominated principal government secretary, a post he held until 1902. Strickland was created a companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1889 for rendering invaluable services during a severe cholera epidemic. He was governor of the Leeward Islands in, the West Indies (1902-04), Tasmania (1904-09), West Australia (1909- 12), and New South Wales (1912-17). On returning to Malta after the grant of self-government, Strickland founded the Anglo-Maltese Party in 1921 and after a few months merged it with the Maltese Constitutional Party forming the CP under his leadership. He was the leader of the opposition (1921-27). In 1924 Strickland won the seat for Lancaster for the Conservatives in the House of Commons. After the 1927 elections, following the so called 'compact' alliance with the Labour Party, he had a majority in the Legislative Assembly and became head of ministry - (the fourth prime minister between August 1927 and June 1930). In 1928 he was elevated to the peerage. One of the most important projects of his government was the commencement of building works for St Luke's Hospital. During his administration Strickland clashed with the Senate leading to the issue of Letters Patent which curtailed its powers. Concurrently he clashed with the ecclesiastical authorities which led to the suspension of the Constitution in 1930. Between July 1932 and November 1933 he again was the leader of the opposition and in 1939, after the grant of the new Constitution, he became the leader of the elected majority in the Council of Government. Other offices Strickland held include president, Union Debating Society of Cambridge president, Committee of Privileges; and chairman, Malta Cholera Committee. His publications include Correspondence and Remarks on the Constitutions of Malta, Malta and the Phoenicians, The Phoenician Origin of Britons, and Scots, and Anglo-Saxons. He was a contributor to the Encyclopedia Brittania and owner and director of Progress Printing Co. and The Times of Malta.

In 1890 Strickland married Lady Edeline Sackville and they had eight children - two sons and six daughters - the two sons and am of the daughters died in infancy. In Strickland remarried Margaret Hulton. He died at his residence in Villa Bologna, Attard,and was buried in the family chapel at the Mdina Cathedral.

Source: Maltese Biographies of the Twentieth Century (1997), editors Michael J. Schiavone and Louis J. Scerri

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