George Kemp, 1st Baron Rochdale CB (9 June 1866 – 24 March 1945) was a British politician, soldier, businessman and cricketer.
Education and business
Kemp was born in Rochdale, Lancashire and educated at Shrewsbury. Matriculating at Balliol College, Oxford in 1883, aged 16, Kemp transferred to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1884, where he graduated B.A. in the Classical Tripos in 1888. In business Kemp went into the woollen industry eventually becoming Chairman of Kelsall & Kemp, flannel manufacturers.
From 1885 to 1892, Kemp played first-class cricket with Lancashire. A batsman, he scored three centuries in his career and also represented Cambridge University.
In 1895, he was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Heywood as Liberal Unionist. He served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to William Ellison-Macartney, Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty, until January 1900, when he resigned to serve in the Second Boer War. In 1904, along with Winston Churchill, Kemp was among a group of Conservative and Liberal Unionist Free Traders who crossed the floor to join the Liberals in response to Joseph Chamberlain's Tariff reform policies. In 1909, he was knighted for his war services and at the January 1910 general election he was elected MP for Manchester North West, this time as a Liberal. Kemp found himself increasingly out of step with the acions of the Liberal government. He was opposed to the Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer Lloyd George's financial policies. He also opposed Lloyd George's advocacy of Welsh disestablishment. His long standing opposition to Irish Home Rule had not diminished and he opposed the Liberal Government's Irish Home Rule bill. As he still felt out of step with the Unionist's advocacy of Tariff Reform, he decided to retire from the House of Commons. He declared that he "loathed politics". A year later he was raised to the peerage as Baron Rochdale, of Rochdale in the County Palatine of Lancaster.
Kemp had been a captain of the Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry since July 1891. In early February 1900, Kemp was appointed a captain of the Imperial Yeomanry, in command of the 23rd company, with the Yeomanry detachment of the Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry, to serve in 8th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry during the Second Boer War. His company left Liverpool on the SS Afric on 12 February, and arrived in Cape Town the following month. For his service he was mentioned in despatches. He left again for South Africa in May 1902, as Lieutenant-Colonel in command of the 32nd Battalion of the Imperial Yeomanry, including a machine-gun section which he had helped raise. The battalion arrived shortly after the war ended by the Treaty of Vereeniging on 31 May 1902, and Kemp soon returned home. Called to war again in 1914, Lord Rochdale was Lieutenant-Colonel in command the 1st/6th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, part of 125th (1/1st Lancashire Fusiliers) Brigade, and was temporarily Brigadier-general of 127th (1/1st Manchester) Brigade of the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division during the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915.
On 5 August 1896, he had married Lady Beatrice Mary Egerton (1871-1966), third daughter of Francis Egerton, 3rd Earl of Ellesmere. Lady Beatrice Kemp joined her husband in South Africa in early 1900.
They had three children. Lord Rochdale died in 1945 aged 88 and was succeeded by his eldest son, John.