The Peerage of the United Kingdom comprises most peerages created in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland after the Act of Union in 1801, when it replaced the Peerage of Great Britain. New peers continued to be created in the Peerage of Ireland until 1898 (the last creation being the Barony of Curzon of Kedleston).
The ranks of the peerage are duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron.
The last non-royal dukedom was created in 1900, and the last marquessate in 1936. Creation of the remaining ranks mostly ceased once Harold Wilson's Labour government took office in 1964, and only four non-royal hereditary peerages have been created since then. These were:
Until the House of Lords Act 1999 was passed, all peers of the United Kingdom were automatically members of the House of Lords. However, from that date, most of the hereditary peers ceased to be members as part of Parliamentary reform, whereas the life peers retained their seats. All hereditary peers of the first creation (i.e., those for whom a peerage was originally created, as opposed to those who inherited a peerage from an ancestor), and all surviving hereditary peers who had served as Leader of the House of Lords were offered a life peerage in order to allow them to sit in the House should they so choose.
Marquesses, earls, viscounts and barons are all addressed as 'Lord X', where 'X' represents either their territory or surname pertaining to their title. Marchionesses, countesses, viscountesses and baronesses are all addressed as 'Lady X'. Dukes and duchesses are addressed just as 'Duke' or 'Duchess' or, in a non-social context, 'Your Grace'.
Lists of peers
Whitaker's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, and Companionage for the Year .... was the general print reference of those in the system for the twentieth century
Burke's Peerage is foremost a genealogical publisher, which first published books authored and edited by John Burke in London in 1826, recording the genealogy and heraldry of the peerage, baronetage, knightage and landed gentry of the United Kingdom, the historical families of Ireland as well as those of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Imperial, royal and mediatised families of Europe and Latin America, the presidential and distinguished families of the United States, the ruling families of Africa and the Middle East and other prominent families worldwide. Burke’s Peerage has expanded to provide broader genealogical publications (including online) maintaining its premium brand name.