CHARLES GREY
2nd Earl Grey of Howick (1764 - 1845)

Born at Falloden (near Embleton) as Charles Grey, he was the son of a British general who had won several battles in the American Wars of Independence.

He was elected as Whig MP for Northumberland at the age of only 22. He went on to become British Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834 and presided over the passing of the Reform Act of 1832 which brought the principle of equality and "one man, one vote" into the British parliamentary system. In addition, as foreign secretary in 1806 he had carried through the abolition of the African slave trade and as Prime Minister abolished slavery throughout the British colonies.

As Prime Minister, he once sent a diplomatic mission to China and by chance the envoy saved the life of a Chinese Mandarin. In gratitude, the Mandarin sent the Earl a specially scented tea, flavoured with oil of Bergamot. Today, Earl Grey tea is the world's most popular blend.

Grey's Monument was erected in the heart of the City of Newcastle as a testimony to the Earl's popularity amongst the people. His gardens at Howick Hall where he lived for much of his life may still be visited.

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