Born in Norfolk, he was the second son of the Reverend William Brodrick, rector of Castle Rising. (His father was subsequently Canon of Wells and Dean of Exeter, and inherited the title of Viscount Midleton.)
Brodrick was educated privately and at Eton College. He entered Balliol College, Oxford in 1850 and maintained a link with the university for the rest of his life. He was president of the Oxford Union and was elected a fellow of Merton College in 1855.
He moved to London in 1856 where he entered Lincoln's Inn as a law astudent, and was called to the bar in June 1859. He only practised briefly, however, taking up journalism in 1860.
For thirteen years he wrote leading articles for The Times, a total of about 1,600 pieces.
He stood for parliament as a Liberal Party candidate in 1868, 1874 and 1880, but without success.
In 1881 he was elected warden of Merton College, Oxford, an office he held until his death. He died in his lodgings at the college aged 72.
- "Death Of Mr. George Brodrick". The Times: p. 6. 9 November 1903.