Lord Montagu dead: Founder of the National Motor Museum, dies aged 88

A spokeswoman said the earl had died 'peacefully' after a short illness

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The Independent Online

Lord Montagu, who founded the National Motor Museum near his estate in Hampshire, has died aged 88.

Edward, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, died “peacefully” after a short illness, a spokeswoman for his estate confirmed to the BBC.

Lord Montagu was one of the leading authorities on veteran and vintage cars and founded the National Motor Museum on his New Forest Estate in 1952.

He was also one of the early pioneers of the stately home industry- he first opened his home to the public in 1952.

Since 1983, he has been chairman of English Heritage and the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission and was active in preserving historical architecture.

After succeeding as earl aged two when his father died, he studied at Eton and Oxford and served in the army as a lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards.

He made his maiden speech in the House of Lords in 1948 while still a serving officer.

He later indirectly made legal history in 1954 when he was one of the three men convicted under the anti-homosexuality laws of the era. Lord Montagu, who was openly bisexual, was sentenced to a year in prison.

The public outcry against the verdict lead to a commission being set up to look into legalising homosexuality and the law was eventually changed in 1967. 

He is survived by his wife Fiona and his children Ralph, Mary and Jonathan.