Thomas Farrer, 1st Baron Farrer
Thomas Henry Farrer, 1st Baron Farrer (24 June 1819 - 11 October 1899) was an English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 civil servant and statistician
A statistician is someone who works with theoretical or applied statistics. The profession exists in both the private and public sectors. The core of that work is to measure, interpret, and describe the world and human activity patterns within it...


Farrer was the son of Thomas Farrer, a solicitor in Lincoln's Inn Fields
Lincoln's Inn Fields
Lincoln's Inn Fields is the largest public square in London, UK. It was laid out in the 1630s under the initiative of the speculative builder and contractor William Newton, "the first in a long series of entrepreneurs who took a hand in developing London", as Sir Nikolaus Pevsner observes...

. Born in London, he was educated at Eton College
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

 and Balliol College, Oxford
Balliol College, Oxford
Balliol College , founded in 1263, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England but founded by a family with strong Scottish connections....

, where he graduated in 1840. He was called to the bar at Lincolns Inn in 1844, but retired from practice in the course of a few years. He entered the public service in 1850 as secretary to the naval department (renamed the marine department in 1853) of the Board of Trade
Board of Trade
The Board of Trade is a committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, originating as a committee of inquiry in the 17th century and evolving gradually into a government department with a diverse range of functions...

. In 1865 he was-promoted to be one of the joint secretaries of the Board of Trade, and in 1867 became permanent secretary.

His tenure of this office, which he held for upwards of twenty years, was marked by many reforms and an energetic administration. Not only was he an advanced Liberal in politics, but an uncompromising Free-trader of the strictest school. He was created a baronet for his services at the Board of Trade in 1883, and in 1886 he retired from office. During the same year he published a work entitled Free Trade versus Fair Trade, in which he dealt with an economic controversy then greatly agitating the public mind. He had already, in 1883, written a volume on The State in its Relation to Trade.

In 1889 he was co-opted by the Progressives as an alderman of the London County Council
London County Council
London County Council was the principal local government body for the County of London, throughout its 1889–1965 existence, and the first London-wide general municipal authority to be directly elected. It covered the area today known as Inner London and was replaced by the Greater London Council...

, of which he became vice-chairman in 1890. His efficiency and ability in this capacity were warmly recognized; but in the course of time divergencies arose between his personal views and those of many of his colleagues.The tendency towards socialistic legislation which became apparent was quite at variance with his principles of individual enterprise and responsibility. He consequently resigned his position.

In 1893 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Farrer
Baron Farrer
Baron Farrer, of Abinger in the County of Surrey, was a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 22 June 1893 for the statistician and civil servant Thomas Farrer. The first Baron was also a baronet, having been created the first Baronet in 1883...

. From this time forward he devoted much of his energy and leisure to advocating his views at the Cobden Club
Cobden Club
The Cobden Club was a political gentlemen's club in London founded in 1866 for believers in Free Trade doctrine, and named in honour of Richard Cobden, who had died the year before....

, the Political Economy Club
Political Economy Club
The Political Economy Club was founded by James Mill and a circle of friends in 1821 in London, for the purpose of coming to an agreement on the fundamental principles of political economy...

, on the platform, and in the press. His efforts were especially directed against the opinions of the Fair Trade League, and upon this and other economic controversies he wrote able, clear, and uncompromising letters, which left no doubt that he still adhered to the doctrines of free trade as advocated by its earliest exponents. In 1898 he published his Studies in Currency.

He was President of the Royal Statistical Society
President of the Royal Statistical Society
The President of the Royal Statistical Society is the head of the Royal Statistical Society , elected biannually by the Fellows of the Society. ....

 from 1894 to 1896.

Farrer married twice, first in 1854 to Frances Erskine (1825-1870), daughter of the historian and orientalist William Erskine (1773–1852) and his wife Maitland Mackintosh daughter of James Mackintosh
James Mackintosh
Sir James Mackintosh was a Scottish jurist, politician and historian. His studies and sympathies embraced many interests. He was trained as a doctor and barrister, and worked also as a journalist, judge, administrator, professor, philosopher and politician.-Early life:Mackintosh was born at...

 by his first wife. They bore the following children:
  • Emma Cecilia "Ida" Farrer (1854-1946), married Horace Darwin
    Horace Darwin
    Sir Horace Darwin, KBE, FRS , a son of the English naturalist Charles Darwin, was a civil engineer.Darwin was born in Down House in 1851, the fifth son and ninth child of the British naturalist Charles Darwin and his wife Emma, the youngest of their seven children that survived to adulthood.He was...

    , son of Charles Darwin
    Charles Darwin
    Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

  • Thomas Cecil Farrer (1859-1940)
  • Claude Farrer (1862-1940)
  • Noel Maitland Farrer (1867-1929)

Frances died on 15 May 1870. Farrer remarried to his former wife's half-cousin Katherine Euphemia Wedgwood (1839-1931), daughter of Hensleigh Wedgwood
Hensleigh Wedgwood
Hensleigh Wedgwood was a British etymologist, philologist and barrister, author of A Dictionary of English Etymology. Wedgwood was the fourth son of Josiah Wedgwood II and Elizabeth Allen...

 of the Wedgwood
Wedgwood, strictly speaking Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, is a pottery firm owned by KPS Capital Partners, a private equity company based in New York City, USA. Wedgwood was founded on May 1, 1759 by Josiah Wedgwood and in 1987 merged with Waterford Crystal to create Waterford Wedgwood, an...

 pottery family and his wife Fanny Mackintosh, who was the daughter of Sir James Mackintosh
James Mackintosh
Sir James Mackintosh was a Scottish jurist, politician and historian. His studies and sympathies embraced many interests. He was trained as a doctor and barrister, and worked also as a journalist, judge, administrator, professor, philosopher and politician.-Early life:Mackintosh was born at...

 by his second wife.

He died at Abinger Hall, Dorking
Dorking is a historic market town at the foot of the North Downs approximately south of London, in Surrey, England.- History and development :...

 in 1899. He was succeeded in the title by his eldest son Thomas Cecil (1859-1940).
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