In 1900 he began selling bonds, particularly those of expanding industries and Canadian-based utilities. He joined the Royal Securities Corp as manager in
In 1910 he moved to London, Eng, where he pursued his business interests and entered politics. Guided by Andrew Bonar LAW, Aitken won a seat for the Conservatives in the second general election of 1910. He championed tariffs and imperial unity and was knighted in 1911. During WWI he represented the Canadian government at the front and wrote Canada in Flanders. His aptitude for political tactics was revealed by his part in Lloyd George's accession as PM. In 1917 he was made a peer, taking the title Beaverbrook after a stream near his Canadian home. He became minister of information in 1918.
After the war, Beaverbrook left politics and established a chain of British newspapers. He bought the Daily Express and the Evening Standard and created the Sunday Express. He also wrote books on his wartime experiences. In 1929 he spearheaded the Empire Free Trade movement, though the idea found little support in the protectionist climate of the 1930s.
As minister of aircraft production in Churchill's wartime government, Beaverbrook galvanized the aircraft industry. Other wartime appointments followed, but despite his bullish determination Beaverbrook lacked the temperament for lasting political success and left politics in 1945. After the war, he supervised his newspapers and wrote memoirs and biographies of his influential friends.
Author DUNCAN MCDOWALL
Links to Other Sites
Beaverbrook Art Gallery
View a large online collection of paintings by Canadian and international artists from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.
Click on the brief profiles of "extraordinary Canadians" and the authors who wrote about them in this Penguin Group (Canada) series. Also includes bios of artists who created the cover art for each book.
William Maxwell Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook
A CBC profile of successful Canadian businessman William Maxwell Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook.
"The Beaver" and the Lady
A brief article about Louise Manny's correspondence with Lord Beaverbrook in regard to the recording of traditional New Brunswick folk songs and the founding of the Miramichi Folksong Festival. From the Government of New Brunswick website.
View brief videos from a television series profiling some of Canada's most distinguished Canadians. Click on "Older Posts" at the bottom of the page to see additional videos.