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John Sinclair


(Lord Pentland)

1860 - 1925

Politician and statesman. Born in Moray Place, Edinburgh, into a titled Caithness family, Sinclair was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Wellington College (Berkshire). He joined the army, serving in the Sudan and then as Aide-de-Camp to John Hamilton-Gordon, Lord Aberdeen (1847 - 1934), in Ireland and Canada, before returning to Britain in 1887. Sinclair went on to serve as Member of Parliament for Dunbartonshire (1892-95), representing the Liberal Party, and then for Forfar (1897 - 1909). He was Parliamentary Secretary to Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1836 - 1908) for many years but was appointed Secretary for Scotland (1905-12) during which time he tried to ensure greater autonomy for Scotland. He was responsible for allowing women to become Councillors in Scotland's local authorities and created the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland, which did much over the succeeding century to record and preserve Scotland's archaeology.

He was raised to the peerage as Lord Pentland of Lyth in 1909 and was appointed Governor of Madras (1912-19). In this latter role he brought Patrick Geddes (1854 - 1932) to India to advise on urban planning.

Sinclair died in Hampstead but lies buried in Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh.


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