James Buchanan, 1st Baron Woolavington
James Buchanan, 1st Baron Woolavington, GCVO (16 August 1849 – 9 August 1935) was a British businessman, philanthropist and racehorse owner/breeder.
Buchanan was born in Brockville, Ontario, Canada, the son of Scottish immigrants, but his parents returned to the United Kingdom shortly after he was born and he was brought up in Larne. He joined a Glasgow shipping firm as an office boy when he was fourteen or fifteen, and was later promoted to be a clerk. In 1868 he joined his brother in the grain business until 1879, when he moved to London as an agent for a company in the whisky trade. He realised that there was an untapped market in England for bottled Scotch whisky and set about producing his own, the Buchanan Blend, which is still available today. He went into business on his own in 1884.
Buchanan was created a baronet in the 1920 New Year Honours and was raised to the peerage in the 1922 New Year Honours as Baron Woolavington. It is said that he paid £50,000 for his peerage, and that he signed the cheque "Woolavington" and dated it 2 January – the day after the title was to be gazetted – so that the payment would bounce if he did not receive the honour he had been promised. In 1931 he was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO).
Woolavington had just one daughter, the Honourable Catherine Buchanan, so the peerage became extinct on his death.
For more than two decades Lord Woolavington was a significant owner/breeder in the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing who twice won the Epsom Derby and St. Leger Stakes. Among his best known runners were Epsom Lad, Hurry On, who became the foundation sire for his stud, Captain Cuttle, Coronach, Press Gang, and Coventry Stakes winner Manitoba who went on to become the leading sire in Australia in 1944 and 1945.
- Biography, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Was this the richest (and most secretive) British tycoon ever?, Daily Telegraph, 22 May 2006
- James Buchanan & Co Ltd 1961 – Histories of Bristol Companies
- Sir James Buchanan, 1st and last Baron Woolavington – thepeerage.com
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