Serving under three different monarchies, Stanley Baldwin was British Prime Minister three times in the 1920's and 1930's.
Stanley Baldwin was born on 3rd August 1867 in Bewdley, a small town in North Worcestershire, and was the only son of Alfred Baldwin, a wealthy industrialist and local MP, and Louise MacDonald, a poet related to Rudyard Kipling.
After graduating from Cambridge University with a degree in History, Baldwin joined his family's iron-mongering business. In 1908, he became the Conservative MP for Bewdley, a seat that his father had previously held before him. Following various ministerial appointments, in 1922 Baldwin was appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the following year became Prime Minister when ill health forced Andrew Bonar Law to retire. He soon called a general election to seek approval of the government's plans to introduce protective tarriffs, but failed to win a majority.
Ramsay MacDonald's first labour administration came to power, backed by Liberal support. However it was short-lived. By November 1924, the conservatives were back in power with a landslide victory, and Baldwin become Prime Minister for a second time.
In the general strike of 1926, believing that a healthy economy is one where everyone is at work, Baldwin proclaimed a state of emergency and refused to negotiate further until the strike was over. The following year he passed the Trade Disputes Act which declared general strikes as revolutionary and illegal.
However the Conservatives lost the general election of 1929 and labour returned to power. During this time Baldwin considered leaving politics and spent much of the next two years fighting elements within his own party. But in 1931, he returned to government in coalition was Ramsay MacDonald, later in June 1935 when MacDonald resigned, Baldwin became Prime Minister for a third time.
This term of office was dominated by rising tensions in Europe and the abdication crisis. Baldwin believed that Edward VIII's wish to marry the divorcee Wallis Simpson was unacceptable. The King was given the choice of renouncing her or abdicating, and chose the later option in December 1939. In a bid to maintain peace, Baldwin resisted calls for re-armament and took a conciliatory approach towards Nazi Germany.
Baldwin retired in May 1937 and was made Earl Baldwin of Bewdley. He died on 14th September 1947.
Much of Baldwin's life was spent in his hometown of Bewdley where he donated lots of time and energy to helping local charities and community organisations.