National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Lady Eve Balfour (1898-1990)

Lady Eve Balfour (1898-1990)

Promoter of organic farming and co-founder of the Soil Association

Lady Eve Balfour was born on 16 July 1898 in Dublin, the daughter of Gerald William Balfour, 2nd earl of Balfour MP and Elizabeth Edith Lytton. During her childhood she often visited Whittingehame in East Lothian to spend time with her uncle A J Balfour who was prime minister from 1902 to 1905. After studying agriculture at Reading she joined the Women's War Agricultural Committee and managed two farms. She obtained a pilot's licence and co-wrote three detective novels as well as developing an interest in organic farming. Her book 'The Living Soil' (Faber & Faber, 1943) provided an overview of the research available alongside the results of her own experiments. In 1946 she was co-founder of the Soil Association, became its first President and was actively involved in the promotion of organic farming until her retirement in 1984. She was made an OBE just a few weeks before her death.

Death in 1990

Lady Evelyn Barbara Balfour died on 14 January 1990 at Belhaven Hospital. The entry in the statutory register of deaths for the district of Dunbar gives her age at death as 91 (National Records of Scotland, 1990/724/11)