Henry Page Croft was born in 1881, son of Lieutenant Richard Benyon Croft, RN, of Ware. He was educated at Eton, Shrewsbury and Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge, and married Hon. Nancy Beatrice Borwick, having one son and three daughters.
In 1906 Croft unsuccessfully contested the parliamentary seat of Lincoln, but in 1910 he was elected Conservative MP for Christchurch [Hampshire], where he remained until 1918, when he became MP for Bournemouth, a seat which he held until 1940. Croft's various official positions included: Chairman of the Organisation Committee of the Tariff Reform League, 1913-17; member of the Speaker's Conference on the Franchise, 1918; Civil List Committee, 1936; Select Committee on the Speaker's Seat, 1939; Committee of Privileges, 1939; Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War, 1940-45. Croft also served as: Chairman of the Organisation Committee of the Tariff Reform League, 1913-17; Chairman of the Executive of the Empire Industries Association; Chancellor of the Primrose League, 1928-29 (and Grand Prior, 1946).
Croft also had a distinguished military career, as Colonel of the 1st Battalion Herts Regiment. He served in the First World War, 1914-16 (being awarded the CMG), and was promoted to temporary Brigadier-General in February 1916, before becoming Colonel and Hon. Brigadier-General in 1924, and retiring in the same year. He also served as a Military Member in the Hertfordshire Territorial Association, and was Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding of the 61st (WO) Battalion, County of London, in the Home Guard in 1943.
Croft became a baronet in 1924, then Baron Croft of Bournemouth in 1940. He died on 7 December 1947.
His publications include: "The Path of Empire" (1912); "Twenty-two Months under Fire" (1917; "My Life of Strife" (published after his death in 1949).
Subjects covered by the papers include the campaign for Protection and the Empire Industries Association, the National Party, India, the Spanish Civil War and the First and Second World Wars.
In December 1971 Lord Croft deposited the papers of his father, the first Lord Croft of Bournemouth, at Churchill College.
The papers had already been calendared by the Historical Manuscripts Commission and in general their arrangement has been retained in this catalogue. The letters and papers have been made up into convenient sized files and allocated standard references, and all requests for documents should use these references rather than those in the calendar.
The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge. Churchill Archives Centre is open from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. A prior appointment and two forms of identification are required.
Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.
Please cite as Churchill Archives Centre, The Papers of Sir Henry Page Croft, CRFT