Product images of Walter Leslie Runciman, 2nd Viscount Runciman of Doxford (1900-1989)
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Walter Leslie Runciman, 2nd Viscount Runciman of Doxford (1900-1989)
This portrait was commissioned by the Museum's Trustees on the sitter's retirement as Chairman in 1972. Runciman came from a well-known ship-owning family and was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, being a scholar at both. He was a Director of Lloyd's Bank from 1932, its Deputy Chairman 1962-1971 and Chairman of the North of England Shipowners' Association in 1931-1932, and again in 1970-1971. In 1940-1943, during the Second World War, he was Director-General of BOAC before becoming Air Attache in Tehran in the rank of Air Commodore, 1943-1946. In 1949 he succeeded to his father's viscountcy (created 1937), becoming President of the Chamber of Shipping and Chairman of the General Council of British Shipping in 1952, and served on many other business, public and other bodies especially, but not exclusively related to shipping and air transport. He was a Trustee of the National Maritime Museum 1955-1972 and Chairman from 1962, subsequently also being the first Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Historic Wrecks 1973-1986, following the Protection of Historic Wrecks Act of 1973. His other honours included the OBE (1946) and the Air Force Cross for war service. Runciman played an incisive part in the mid 20th century development of the National Maritime Museum. This was not least in his appointment of Basil Greenhill, its dynamic third Director from 1967. That year also saw the first full opening of the Royal Observatory as part of the Museum, the renovations having largely been completed under Frank Carr, the second Director, in the previous years of Runciman's term as Chairman.
John Stanton Ward
- Image reference: BHC2988
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Reproduced with kind permission of John Ward C.B.E.