A large dark green leather Despatch Box with a big engraved brass plate to the side for Hugh M. Cairns Esq.
The owner was more than likely the 1st Earl Cairns, Hugh McCalmont Cairns (1819-1885). He was born in Ireland, the son of William Cairns, a captain of the 47th regiment. He studied classics at Dublin's Trinity College before he joined the bar at London's Middle Temple in 1844. In 1852 he became MP for Belfast. He progressed in both his legal and political career. In 1866 he became Attorney General and was soon made Baron Cairns. In 1868 he became Lord Chancellor and a year later, Leader of the opposition Conservative party in the House of Lords. He was Lord Chancellor in both Disraeli's first 2 administrations. Cairns was a great supporter of Barnados when it was founded in 1866 and became its 1st President with their first girls home at Barkingside named after him.
This is large for a Despatch Box and has a brass campaign handle to the top. It has diagonal blind tooled lines to the sides and tramlines to the top. There is no makers' stamp but the lock is stamped VR with a crown for Victoria. Circa 1860.