Charles John Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham, was appointed as the first President of Severn Valley Railway (Holdings) Limited during the run-up to public flotation in April 1972.
A former Governor General of New Zealand between 1957 and 1962, Lord Cobham was already chairman of a number of public companies as well as President of the MCC, the RNIB and numerous other public roles. However he was an ardent GWRGreat Western Railway enthusiast, notably having acquired an original name plate of 4930 Hagley Hall from Lord Beeching when the locomotive was withdrawn from service (Hagley Hall being the Lyttleton ancestral home). He therefore willingly accepted the position of SVRSevern Valley Railway President.
Lord Cobham gave invaluable support to the Railway during the public flotation and the tenure of Sir Gerald Nabarro as Chairman. He died on 20 March 1977.