Leo Blair (senior)

Leo Blair (senior)

Leo Charles Lynton Blair (born Charles Leonard Augustus Parsons in August 1923 in Filey, Yorkshire, England) is a retired University of Durham law lecturer. He is the author of the book The Commonwealth Public Service. He is the father of Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.



Born Charles Leonard Augustus Parsons in 1923, he was the illegitimate[1] son of two middle class travelling entertainers. His father Charles Parsons (16 July 1887 – 19 January 1970) had the stage name Jimmy Lynton. Leo's mother Mary Augusta Ridgway Bridson (1886–1969) was known as Celia Ridgway and was a daughter of Augustus William Bridson (1849–1933) and Maria Emily Montford (1864–1944).[2] The two met on tour in England. Their hectic lifestyles prompted them to give up baby Leo, who was fostered out to (and later adopted by) a working class couple, a Glasgow shipyard worker named James Blair and his wife Mary, taking their surname. On 2 June 1927 his biological parents married and tried to reclaim him, but Mary Blair refused to return him and later prevented him from contacting his biological parents. (Leo later had a reunion with his half-sister, Pauline Harding, née Tordiffe.)

Blair grew up in a tenement in Golspie Street, Govan, Glasgow, and attended Govan High School. When he left school he worked as a copy boy on the Communist Party newspaper The Daily Worker and was Secretary of the Scottish Young Communist League 1938-41. He studied law, becoming a barrister and later, a university law lecturer.

Blair married Hazel Corscadden, from a Protestant family in Donegal, Ireland. They had two sons, both of whom they sent to Fettes College, an independent school in Edinburgh. Their first son, Sir William Blair, is now a High Court Judge and domestic and international banking and finance law specialist. Their second son, Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (Tony Blair), was born in 1953 and also became a barrister before achieving fame as a politician and prime minister. Leo and Hazel lived for a time in Adelaide, Australia, where Leo lectured in law at the University of Adelaide.

Blair and his family later moved to Durham, England, where Blair lectured in Law at Durham University. He was a member of St Cuthbert's Society, one of the university's collegiate bodies. Despite having been a communist in his youth, Leo became active in the Conservative Party. He had ambitions to stand for Parliament in Durham, plans which were thwarted when he had a stroke when his son, Tony, was 11.

Blair became a widower when Hazel (born 21 April 1926) died in 1975 of thyroid cancer. He lives in Shropshire with his second wife, Olwen. Cherie and Tony Blair named their youngest son "Leo" after his grandfather.

Blair is a "militant atheist" according to his son Tony.[3]

Academic work

Blair's book The Commonwealth Public Service, published in 1958, was described by the journal Canadian Public Administration as "an excellent primer on the Australian Federal Public Service".[4]


  1. ^ Blair: 'Why adoption is close to my heart', 21 December 2000, The Guardian
  2. ^ Edward J. Davies, “A Descent of Tony Blair from James V, King of Scots”, The Genealogist, 22(2008):247-55
  3. ^ Blair: 'Tony Blair on finding religion via reason', December 2009, The Washington Post
  4. ^ Review of "The Commonwealth Public Service" Canadian Public Administration vol 2 issue 4 page 255

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Blair — Infobox Given Name Revised name = Blair imagesize= caption= pronunciation= gender = meaning = region = origin = related names = footnotes = Blair may be either a given first or last name. The following are some notable persons named Blair:As a… …   Wikipedia

  • Leo Abse — Infobox MP honorific prefix = name = Leo Abse honorific suffix = constituency MP = Pontypool parliament = majority = predecessor = Daniel Granville West successor = Constituency Abolished term start = 1958 term end = 9 June 1983 constituency MP2 …   Wikipedia

  • Tony Blair — For other people named Tony Blair, see Tony Blair (disambiguation). The Right Honourable Tony Blair …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural depictions of Tony Blair — This page is a list of depictions of Tony Blair onstage, in film and in other forms of fiction. Contents 1 Television drama and film 2 Satire 3 Literature 4 Radio …   Wikipedia

  • Cherie Blair — Cherie Booth QC Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom In office 2 May 1997 – 27 June 2007 …   Wikipedia

  • Cool Britannia — is a media term that was used during the late 20th century to describe the contemporary culture of the United Kingdom. The term was prevalent during the 1990s and later became closely associated with the early years of New Labour under Tony Blair …   Wikipedia

  • List of University of Adelaide people — This is a list of University of Adelaide people, including its alumni and staff.Notable alumni* Julie Bishop, politician and Deputy Leader of the Opposition * James Bradley, author * John Jefferson Bray, poet * Nick Bolkus, politician * William… …   Wikipedia

  • Durham Law School — Coordinates: 54°46′30″N 1°34′29″W / 54.775082°N 1.574678°W / 54.775082; 1.574678 …   Wikipedia

  • MMR vaccine controversy — The MMR vaccine controversy is over the safety of the MMR vaccine. Critics of the vaccine say that the incidence of autism has greatly increased and that the vaccine is a primary cause of this increase. They posit that the vaccine can overwhelm… …   Wikipedia

  • George Orwell — Eric Blair redirects here. For the politician, see Eric Blair (Ontario politician). George Orwell Orwell s press card portrait, taken in 1933 Born Eric Arthur Blair 25 June 1903( …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.