Friday, February 16, 2007

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

The Conservative MSP Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, always known as Lord James, held a retirement 'do' last night in Edinburgh to mark his retirement from the Scottish Parliament at this May's elections. It seems a good time was had by all; Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP gave a speech, which was typically fluent and witty, to a gathering of the great and good.
Sir Malcolm, of course, was Secretary of State for Scotland when Lord James first arrived at the Scottish Office in 1987, going on to be the longest continually-serving minister in that fine department, clocking up ten years to 1997. But although he is standing down after eight years at Holyrood, Lord James still retains his life peerage which entitles him to sit in the House of Lords, where I'm sure he'll be a diligent atendee.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Lord Pentland

It's funny what turns up on that wonderful auction site, ebay. This top hat belonged to the 1st Lord Pentland, who as John Sinclair (and, in fact, as Lord Pentland) was Secretary for Scotland from 1905-12, when he was rather unceremoniously sent to Madras as governor.

It seems his grandson, also John Sinclair (but not the 3rd Lord Pentland) now lives in New York City and recently sold off his grandfather's remaining estate at auction. This top hot, together with a riding coat, a portrait (photographic) and various rather curious ornaments, inevitably ended up on ebay. And no, I'm not going to reveal how much I paid for it.