Thomas (Tom) Johnston

1881 - 1965

Politician. Born in Kirkintilloch. Johnston was educated at Lenzie Academy and the University of Glasgow, where he ran the campaign for Keir Hardie (1856 - 1915) to become Rector of the University. He served as Labour Member of Parliament for Stirling (1922-24, 1929-31, 1935-45) and Dundee (1924-29) and Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (1929-31). In this latter role he oversaw the evacuation of the population from St. Kilda. Johnston went on to serve as Secretary of State for Scotland in Churchill's wartime coalition cabinet. He was highly regarded as a particularly effective Scottish Secretary, and critically did much to develop the Highlands, deal with a host of economic and social problems, and attract industry to Scotland. His lasting memorial was the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, which he set up in 1943 to create employment, improve social conditions (only 1% of crofts were connected to an electricity supply) and power new industries. He became the Board's Chairman in 1945, a position which he retained until 1959, by which time most of the Board's generation stations were complete and the supply network had extended to almost 90% of the country. Johnston also acted as Chairman of the Forestry Commission, the Scottish Tourist Board and was a governor for the BBC but, on principle, took no payment for these positions. He also served as Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen.

He wrote a History of the Working Classes in Scotland (1920).

Johnston died at his home in Milngavie.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better