2nd Baron Penrhyn (1886-1907)
Born 1836 Died 1907
George Sholto Gordon Douglas-Pennant was the son of Colonel Edward Gordon Douglas (1800-1886), brother of the 19th Earl of Morton, who, through his wife, Juliana, elder daughter and coheir of George Hay Dawkins-Pennant, of Penrhyn Castle, Carnarvon, had large estates in Wales and elsewhere, and was created Baron Penrhyn in 1866. Dawkins had inherited the estates from Richard Penryn, who was created Baron Penryn in 1763, the title becoming extinct on his death in 1808.
George Douglas-Pennant was conservative M.P. for Carnarvonshire in 1866-1868 and 1874-1880, and succeeded his father in the title in 1886. A keen sportsman, a benevolent landlord, a kind and considerate employer, Lord Penrhyn came of a proud race, and was himself of an imperious disposition. He came prominently before the public in 1897 and subsequent years in connection with the famous strike at his Welsh slate-quarries. During his father's lifetime the management of the Penrhyn quarry had been left practically to an elective committee of the operatives, and it was on the verge of bankruptcy when in 1885 he took matters in hand; he abolished the committee, and with the help of Mr E. A. Young, whom he brought in from London as manager, he so reorganized the business that this slate-quarry yielded a profit of something like £150,000 a year. The new men and new methods were, however, not to the taste of the trade unionist leaders of the quarrymen, and in 1897, when the 'new unionism' was rampant in labour questions throughout England, a strike was deliberately fomented.
Lord Penrhyn refused to recognize the union or its officials, though he was willing to consider any grievances from individual quarrymen, and a protracted struggle ensued, in which his determination was invincible. He became the object of the bitterest political hostility, and trade unionism exerted itself to the utmost, but vainly, to bring about some form of government intervention. Penrhyn strikers perambulated the country, singing and collecting contributions to their funds. But in spite of every pressure Lord Penrhyn insisted on being master of his own property, and by degrees the agitation collapsed.
His death on the 10th of March 1907 evoked general and genuine regret. Lord Penrhyn was twice married, and had fifteen surviving children. He was succeeded in the title by his eldest son, Edward Sholto (b. 1864), who was Unionist M.P. for South Northamptonshire from 1895 to 1900.
Being the entry for PENRHYN, GEORGE SHOLTO GORDON DOUGLAS-PENNANT, 2nd BARON in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.