skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair of St Andrews


Statesman and chemist. Chemist to the Geological Survey of Great Britain and professor of chemistry at the School of Mines, 1845. Secretary at the Department of Science and Art, 1853–8. President of the Chemical Society, 1857–9. Professor of chemistry, Edinburgh University, 1858–69. Liberal MP for the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews, 1868–85; for South Leeds, 1885–92. Postmaster general, 1873; chairman and deputy speaker of the House of Commons, 1880–3. Knighted, 1883; created Baron Playfair of St Andrews, 1892. FRS 1848.





DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

DSB: Dictionary of scientific biography. Edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie and Frederic L. Holmes. 18 vols. including index and supplements. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1970–90.