Family Group Sheet
Family Group Sheet
NameRt Hon Joseph (Jo) GRIMOND Baron Grimond of Firth
SpouseLaura Miranda BONHAM CARTER
MotherViolet Asquith (1887-1969)
Notes for Rt Hon Joseph (Jo) GRIMOND Baron Grimond of Firth
Joseph Grimond, Baron Grimond, CH, CBE, TD, PC (29 July 1913 – 24 October 1993) was a British politician, leader of the Liberal Party from 1956 to 1967 and again briefly in 1976.

Early life

Joseph Grimond, also known as "Jo Grimond", was born in St Andrews, Fife and educated at Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford. He became a barrister.

Member of Parliament

After service in World War II, he entered Parliament in the 1950 general election as Liberal Member of Parliament for Orkney and Shetland, in Scotland, continuing to represent the constituency until he retired from politics in 1983. He was a life-long champion of Scottish devolution, and although he was often wary of the bureaucracy of the European Economic Community (EEC), always advocated EEC membership on Britain's part.

Leader of the Liberal Party
The party Grimond inherited from former leader Clement Davies commanded barely 2.5% of the vote. Grimond proved to be a man of considerable personal charm and intelligence, with substantial gifts as public speaker and as author. Widely respected as well as trusted, he ensured that by the time he left the leadership in 1967, the Liberals had once again become a notable political force.[citation needed] It was during his tenure that the first post-war Liberal revival took place: under Grimond the Liberals doubled their seats and won historic by-elections at Torrington in 1958, Orpington in 1962, and Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles in 1965. In 1967, he made way for a younger, more dynamic leader, Jeremy Thorpe. In 1976, when Thorpe was forced to resign because of a scandal, Grimond stepped in as caretaker leader until the election of a replacement, David Steel.[citation needed]

Among other posts, Grimond was a barrister and publisher in the 1930s, an army major during World War II, Secretary of the National Trust for Scotland from 1947 to 1949, and held the Rectorships of the University of Edinburgh and the University of Aberdeen and the Chancellorship of the University of Kent at Canterbury (elected in 1970). His many books include The Liberal Future (1959, credited with reinvigorating radical liberalism as a coherent modern ideology), The Liberal Challenge (1963), and Memoirs (1979).

Retirement and death
On leaving parliament, he was created a life peer as Baron Grimond, of Firth in the County of Orkney. He remained devoted to his former parliamentary constituency, and was buried on the Orkney Islands.
Marriage & children

In 1938 he married Laura Bonham Carter, the sister of another Life Peer (Mark Bonham Carter), the daughter of a Life Peeress (Violet Bonham Carter), and the granddaughter of a hereditary peer of first creation (H. H. Asquith).

The couple had four children:
Grizelda "Gelda" Grimond (born 1942), who had a daughter by the film and stage director Tony Richardson.
John Grimond, a foreign editor of The Economist who in 1973 married Kate Fleming (b. 1946), elder daughter of the writer Peter Fleming and actress Celia Johnson, and has three children with her. He is the main author of The Economist Style Guide
Magnus Grimond, journalist and financial correspondent, married to travel author Laura Grimond (née Raison).
Andrew Grimond (1939-1966), a sub-editor of The Scotsman, lived in Edinburgh until his suicide at the age of 26.


Jo Grimond, The Liberal Future (Faber and Faber, London, 1959)
__________, The Liberal Challenge (Hollis and Carter, London, 1963)
__________, The Common Welfare (Temple Smith, London, 1978)
__________, Memoirs (Heinemann, London, 1979)
__________, A Personal Manifesto (Martin Robertson, Oxford, 1983)
__________, The St. Andrews of Jo Grimond (Alan Sutton, St. Andrew's, 1992)
Jo Grimond and Brian Nevel, The Referendum (Rex Collings, London, 1975)
Grimond was also a prolific writer of pamphlets - see the McManus biography (below) for a complete list of publications.
Notes for Laura Miranda BONHAM CARTER
Obituary from the Independent

Obituary: Laura Grimond
Thursday, 17 February 1994

Laura Miranda Bonham Carter, politician: born London 13 October 1918; married 1938 Jo Grimond (created 1983 Baron Grimond, died 1993; two sons, one daughter, and one son deceased); died London 15 February 1994.

LAURA GRIMOND was one of those splendid invisible women who helped other women and political pluralism without seeking publicity for herself. She wrote little, cared for all and always supported liberal causes. She ignored hierarchy, despite (or perhaps because of) her heritage. She was a granddaughter of the prime minister Herbert Asquith and daughter of the formidable Lady Violet Bonham Carter. Supremely, she supported her husband, Jo Grimond, who inspired the Liberal Party's voice and kept this special strand in Britain's political voice alive throughout polarisation.

Jo was dedicated to the Liberal philosophy, sometimes to excess. Before their wedding, Jo proposed to get married in the morning and return to work in the afternoon. Laura dissuaded him.

One of Laura Grimond's concerns was the representation of women and the promotion of women's rights. 1987 saw the centenary of the Women's Liberal Federation. As the guests of Dame Christian Howard we celebrated in Castle Howard, once home of the Countess of Carlisle, who inspired the massive women's Liberal movement at the beginning of the century. I walked with Laura down the Long Gallery, filled with good paintings, display cabinets of silver and china and fine, free-standing sculptures. She remembered it well. 'As children, we used to play here. We played 'Are you there, Moriarty?' '

I handed over the presidency of the Women's Liberal Federation to Laura Grimond in 1983 and she was our President until 1985. Forty years before, her mother had taken over our presidency for the second time. Just before taking over herself, Laura was interviewed for Women's Hour. She reminded us of Mrs Prior, the first woman local councillor, in 1890, and of the row in 1914 to ensure that child-care benefits should be paid to the mother. Alas, this ghostly issue still haunts us.

We had good meetings in the Grimonds' London home, where friends and family came and went (occasionally acknowledged if conversation permitted) and a huge stew-pot in the kitchen ensured our material survival.

Laura contributed largely to her husband's electoral success in 1950 in the scattered Orkney and Shetland constitutency. Jim Wallace, Jo's successor in 1983, remembers her as his indefatigable and highly knowledgeable agent and thereafter for her continuing friendship and support. His election was promising, but Laura is also remembered for turning up at by-elections with far poorer prospects, tramping out to the worst part of the constituency, walking up the garden path, listening and explaining.

She stood for West Aberdeen in 1970 and it is a thousand pities that she was not elected to grace the House of Commons. Orkney would claim that it was their gain. Councillor for Firth and Harray, she became Chairman of Orkney Islands Council's Housing Committee.

Laura and Jo Grimond both strongly supported the fusion of the Liberal and Social Democrat parties and their friendship with Roy Jenkins contributed to the eventual birth of the Liberal Democrats.

Laura had a splendid mind, filled with history as well as with new issues. She contributed much to Liberal Party policy, notably on the rights of women and on defence. Her instinctive understanding of the needs of people who were deprived of rights and opportunities came from the heart. She saw everything clearly and translated it into practical work; delivering items for the Women's Liberal Federation's Chelsea Christmas Bazaar, the first person one was likely to see was Laura, telling us where to put what.

Laura Grimond's death follows not long after the death of her husband. As she never bothered about personal publicity and gravely underestimated her own contribution to the Liberal cause, maybe this as she would have wished.
Last Modified 27 Mar 2011Created 28 Jan 2018 using Reunion for Macintosh