Curzon’s Father

I have recently read with fascination about Curzon’s upbringing. It struck me that, while I knew much of Curzon’s political and diplomatic career, I knew little of his early life.

Curzon’s father was Reverend Alfred Curzon, the 4th Baron Scarsdale and Rector of Kedleston in Derbyshire. He was the son of a man with the same name, Reverend Alfred Curzon, who died when he was young, as did his only sibling and brother, George Nathaniel Curzon, in 1855. His second child and first son was born in 1859 and he named him after his late brother. Alfred’s wife Blanche produced eleven children and died from maternal exhaustian when George Curzon was only sixteen. She was survived by her husband by 41 years.

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon traveled for more than a decade extensively during his political career, including Russia and Central Asia, Afghanistan, Siam, French Indochina, Korea and beyond. He then went on to serve as Viceroy of India, and ended his career as Foreign Secretary, and to this day maintains the reputation for being the most travelled man who ever sat in a British cabinet.

With a background like this, did Curzon have some sort of intrepid traveler or adventurer of a father? (It’s perhaps worth noting that Robert D. Kaplan got his love of travel from his father, a truck driver, who he described as “a sort of a hobo and racetrack tout, traveling throughout the lower 48 states of America. He was probably at every race course in the lower 48 states during the 1930s.”)

Far from it. Alfred Curzon was an austere aristocratic landlowner who could trace family ownership of his estate back to the 12th century and who came from a long line of Norman landowners. He believed that it was the family responsibility to stay on their land and not go roaming about all over the world, and he had little sympathy for the travels of his eldest son. This is despite seeing his son build on his travels to an important political career serving in India.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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4 Responses to Curzon’s Father

  1. SJPONeill says:

    I’m still reading Curzon’s biography but Old Man Curzon comes across as fairly provincial, at best, in his outlook. In terms of who inspired Curzon’s interest in Empire and travel, I’d say almost anyone else EXCEPT Dear Old Dad…

  2. I was reading, of all things, a Doctor Who novel mentioning Curzon. Years ago I would’ve thought it a reference to Curzon Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the best of the franchise. Now I know better thanks to this site. :)

  3. Curzon says:

    Which Doctor Who novel was that? What did they have to say about me?? (Vanity, I know, but I’m curious.)

  4. Of course now I can’t find the exact quote. *eye roll* Isn’t that always the way? Anyhow, it was positive as I recall, and was in the novella Revenge of the Judoon, which centered around Edward VII and aliens stealing Balmoral (like you do).