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John Astor, 1st Baron Astor of Hever


John Astor, 1st Baron Astor of Hever

John Jacob Astor V
File:John Jacob Astor V.jpg
John Jacob Astor V, 1st Baron Astor of Hever
Born (1886-05-20)May 20, 1886
New York City, U.S.
Died July 19, 1971(1971-07-19) (aged 85)
Cannes, France
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Violet Mary Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound
(1918—1965; her death)
Children Gavin Astor
Hugh Waldorf Astor
John Astor
Parents William Waldorf Astor
Mary Dahlgren Paul
Relatives John Jacob Astor III (grandfather)
Waldorf Astor (brother)
William Waldorf Astor II (nephew)
Nancy Phyllis Louise Astor (niece)
Francis David Langhorne Astor (nephew)
Michael Langhorne Astor (nephew)
John Jacob Astor VII (nephew)
John Jacob Astor VIII (grandson)
Lieutenant-Colonel John Jacob Astor V, 1st Baron Astor of Hever DL (20 May 1886 – 19 July 1971) was an American-born English military officer, statesman, a newspaper proprietor, and a member of the prominent Astor family.

Lord Astor was born in New York City in 1886, the fourth child of William Waldorf Astor (1848—1919) and Mary Dahlgren Paul (1858—1894). He was five years old when his family left New York to live in England. He was raised on an estate purchased by his father at Cliveden-on-Thames in Buckinghamshire and was educated at Eton College and at New College, Oxford.

Olympic Games

Olympic medal record
Men's Rackets
Gold 1908 London Men's doubles
Bronze 1908 London Men's singles

John Jacob Astor V represented Great Britain in rackets at the 1908 Summer Olympics, winning the gold medal in the men's doubles competition together with Vane Pennell, and winning bronze in the men's singles event.

Army life

He served in the Life Guards and was Aide-de-Camp to Baron Hardinge, Viceroy of India between 1911 and 1914. He served in the British army during World War I, rising to the rank of Lt. Colonel and was awarded the Légion d'Honneur as a Chevalier. He held the office of Lieutenant of the City of London in 1926. He was Honorary Colonel of the Kent and Sussex Royal Guard Artillery, between 1927 and 1946 and Honorary Colonel of the 23rd London Regiment, between 1928 and 1949. He held the office of Deputy Lieutenant of Kent from 1936 to 1962 and was Lieutenant-Colonel of the 5th Battalion, City of London (Home Guard) between 1940 and 1944.


On 28 August 1916, Baron Astor married a widow named Violet Mary Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound (28 May 1889 — 3 January 1965). Her parents were Gilbert John Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound and Mary Caroline Grey. From her previous marriage to World War I casualty Charles George Francis Mercer Nairne Petty-Fitzmaurice, Violet had two young children. She bore John Jacob V three sons:


He was a director of the Great Western Railway between 1929 and 1946. He held the office of Justice of the Peace for Kent between 1929 and 1962. He was a director of Hambros Bank between 1934 and 1960. He was Vice-Chairman of Phoenix Insurance between 1941 and 1952 and Chairman of between 1952 and 1958. He was a director of Barclays Bank between 1942 and 1952.

Upon his father's death in 1919, John Jacob V inherited Hever Castle near Edenbridge, Kent where he lived the life of an English country gentleman. In 1922, he purchased The Times newspaper following the death of its owner, Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe. During his tenure as head of The Times, Lord Astor had the newspaper sponsor Edmund Hillary's expedition that made the first successful climb to the summit of Mount Everest. Astor remained chairman of the paper until 1959 when his son Gavin took over. In 1966, The Times was sold to Canadian newspaper tycoon, Roy Thomson.

In addition to his newspaper business, John Jacob V served in politics, as Alderman of the London County Council between 1922 and 1925, and in the Parliament of the United Kingdom for 23 years as Unionist Member of Parliament (MP) for Dover from 1922 to 1945. On 21 January 1956 he was created Baron Astor of Hever, of Hever Castle, co. Kent. In 1962, he moved from England to France.


On his death in 1971 (in Cannes, France), selected artworks from the family's vast collection were bequeathed to the National Gallery including the prized "Thames below Westminster" by Claude Monet.

John Jacob V and Violet are buried together on the grounds of Hever Castle, which, since 1983, has been owned by Broadland Properties Limited and is a major tourist attraction. Eldest son Gavin succeeded him as Baron.

Further reading

  • [1]
  • Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages
  • John Astor, 1st Baron Astor of Hever at Find-A-Grave
  • profile
  • [2]

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Andrew Polson
Member of Parliament for Dover
Succeeded by
John Thomas
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Astor of Hever
Succeeded by
Gavin Astor
Media offices
New office Chairman of the General Council of the Press
Succeeded by
Linton Andrews

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