Lord Salisbury (Robert Gascoyne-Cecil) was a Conservative politician and Prime Minister in 1885-6, 1886-92, and 1895-1902. He was the last man to hold that office in the House of Lords. Salisbury was always mainly interested in foreign affairs, and he acted as his own Foreign Secretary during most of his administrations. The great issue of the time was the expansion of the British Empire, and competition with other colonial powers, particularly in Africa. His last term as Prime Minister saw the initially disastrous Second Boer War, which shook British confidence and heralded the end of the ‘splendid isolation.’
ERIC MIDWINTER, formerly Director of the Centre for Policy on Ageing, Co-founder of the University of the Third Age and lately Visiting Professor of Education at Exeter University, is a social historian. Among his books are W.G. Grace: His Life and Times; State Educator: The Life and Enduring Influence of W.E. Forster; The Development of Social Welfare in Britain; and Red Shirts and Roses: The Tale of the Two Old Traffords.