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Lady Maude Laidley Bower (1860–1947)

by Colin McKenzie

Maud Laidley Mitchell was born in Sydney in 1860. At the age of 21 she married Sir Graham Bower (33) son of Admiral J. Bower. They had three children.
Bower was a senior colonial administrator and Secretary to the Governor of Cape Province (South Africa). He resigned after the controversy of the Jameson Raid and was posted to Mauritius. "A very clear sense of his rigid code of honour is plain, and a conviction that not only unity, peace and happiness in South Africa, but also the peace of Europe would be endangered if he told the truth. He believed that, as he had given Rhodes his word not to divulge certain private conversations, he had to abide by that, while at the same time he was convinced that it would be very damaging to Britain if he said anything to the parliamentary committee to show the close involvement of Sir Hercules Robinson and Joseph Chamberlain in their disreputable encouragement of those plotting an uprising in Johannesburg.
In the report of the committee Bower was found culpable of complicity, while no blame was attached to Joseph Chamberlain or Robinson. His name was never cleared during his lifetime and Bower was never reinstated to what he believed should be his proper position in the colonial service. He was in effect demoted to the post of Colonial Secretary in Mauritius. The bitterness and sense of betrayal he felt come through very clearly in his comments."
Maud and Graham retired to England. Maud died in 1947 whilst living at Meadow Bank, Bassenthwaite Lake, Cockermouth. She left £18,800 (£740,000 in 2020 values). 

note: LADY BOWER'S JEWELLERY STOLEN BY SWELL MOBSMAN - London, October 5 1903. A clever robbery of jewellery belonging to Lady Bower, and valued at £2,400, was effected at Paris. The jewels had been momentarily entrusted to a maid in a railway carriage at Garde de Lyon, Paris, when a swell mobsman by a trick secured possession of the cases and made off. 

Lady Bower who is the wife of Sir Graham Bower Colonial Secretary for Mauritius is an Australian, she being the daughter of Mr James Sutherland Mitchell of Eltham, Sydney. She was married in 1882.

Original Publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

Colin McKenzie, 'Bower, Lady Maude Laidley (1860–1947)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Mitchell, Maude Laidley
  • Mitchell, Maud Laidley

17 June, 1860
Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


18 April, 1947 (aged 86)
Cockermouth, Cumberland, England

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