|Biographical Note||Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, KG OM PC FRS DL (1848-1930) was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902-1905, later becoming Foreign Secretary.|
Arthur James Balfour was born on 25 July 1848 in Scotland.
He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he acquired an M.A.. He entered Parliament in 1874 as Conservative MP for Hereford. rising to Chief Secretary for Ireland (1887-1891). He was a member of the Gold and Silver Commission (1887-88). Balfour was Prime Minister from 1902 to 1905, 1st Lord of Treasury and Leader of House of Commons (1895-1906), First Lord of the Admiralty (1915-1916) and Foreign Secretary (1916-1919).
In 1919, the Commission was presented with a petition from Lady Florence Cecil and several others for the organisation to allow cruciform headstones on war graves where relatives desire them. Along with the petition, Lord Balfour was part of a lobby in Parliament with Lansdowne in the Lords and which included Sir Edward Carson and Robert Cecil in the Commons. The lobby was in opposition to the principles laid out by the Commission, particularly regarding headstones. Lord Balfour proposed a cruciform headstone, submitting a design across to the Commissioners. The headstone design contained room for all of the inscription required, and its base was the same as that of the Commission’s headstone, so that it could be fitted into the concrete foundations. In Balfour's design, however, the badge was placed on the cross, which many took objection to. The design was exhibited, along with the Commission headstone, at the House of Commons with an accompanying memorandum issuing the reasons for each stated design. Following the debate at the House of Commons on 4 May 1920, the outcome was that the opposition was withdrawn and the Commission was allowed to continue with its work.
Arthur James Balfour died on 19 March 1930, aged 81.