<%= render :partial => '/v9/shared/analytics'

Harold Wilson


James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour politician and Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the February 1974 general election resulted in a hung parliament. He is the most recent British Prime Minister to have served non-consecutive terms.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Harold Wilson.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Harold Wilson.


1916 Birth Wilson was born at 4 Warneford Road, Huddersfield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England on 11 March 1916. … Read More


1930 14 Years Old 1 More Event
Wilson won a scholarship to attend Royds Hall Grammar School, his local grammar school (now a comprehensive school) in Huddersfield in Yorkshire. His education was disrupted in October 1930 when he contracted typhoid fever after drinking contaminated milk on a Scouts' outing. … Read More
1934 18 Years Old Wilson did well at school and, although he missed getting a scholarship, he obtained an exhibition; which, when topped up by a county grant, enabled him to study Modern History at Jesus College, Oxford, from 1934. … Read More


1937 21 Years Old He was a lecturer in Economic History at New College from 1937, and a Research Fellow at University College.
1940 24 Years Old On New Year's Day 1940, in the chapel of Mansfield College, Oxford, he married Mary Baldwin who remained his wife until his death. … Read More
1943 27 Years Old He was Director of Economics and Statistics at the Ministry of Fuel and Power 1943–44, and received an OBE for his services.
1945 29 Years Old In the 1945 general election, Wilson won his seat in the Labour landslide. … Read More


1947 31 Years Old 1 More Event
He was to remain passionately interested in statistics. As President of the Board of Trade, he was the driving force behind the Statistics of Trade Act 1947, which is still the authority governing most economic statistics in Great Britain.
1949 - 1950 2 More Events
1951 35 Years Old 1 More Event
Wilson was becoming known in the Labour Party as a left-winger and joined Aneurin Bevan and John Freeman in resigning from the government in April 1951 in protest at the introduction of National Health Service (NHS) medical charges to meet the financial demands imposed by the Korean War.
Wilson was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet by Labour Party Leader Hugh Gaitskell in 1955 as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he proved to be very effective.


1959 43 Years Old Much needed improvements were made in junior hospital doctors' salaries. From 1959 to 1970, while the earnings of manual workers increased by 75%, the salaries of registrars more than doubled while those of house officers more than trebled. … Read More
1960 44 Years Old 1 More Event
He then launched an opportunistic but unsuccessful challenge to Gaitskell's leadership in November 1960 in the wake of the Labour Party's 1959 defeat, Gaitskell's controversial attempt to ditch Labour's commitment to nationalisation by scrapping Clause Four, and Gaitskell's defeat at the 1960 Party Conference over a motion supporting unilateral nuclear disarmament.
1961 45 Years Old Wilson would later be moved to the position of Shadow Foreign Secretary in 1961, before he challenged for the deputy leadership in 1962 but was defeated by George Brown. … Read More
At the Labour Party's 1963 Annual Conference, Wilson made both his best-remembered speech, on the implications of scientific and technological change. … Read More
Labour's 1964 election campaign was aided by the Profumo Affair, a ministerial sex scandal that had mortally wounded Harold Macmillan and was to taint his successor Sir Alec Douglas-Home, even though Home had not been involved in the scandal. … Read More


1966 50 Years Old 1 More Event
Among the most damaging of the numerous strikes during Wilson's periods in office was a six-week stoppage by the National Union of Seamen, beginning shortly after Wilson's re-election in 1966, and conducted, he claimed, by "politically motivated men". … Read More
1967 51 Years Old 1 More Event
Part of the price paid by Wilson after talks with President Johnson in June 1967 for US assistance with the UK economy was his agreement to maintain a military presence East of Suez. … Read More
Due to austerity measures following an economic crisis, prescription charges were re-introduced in 1968 as an alternative to cutting the hospital building programme, although those sections of the population who were most in need (including supplementary benefit claimants, the long-term sick, children, and pensioners) were exempted from charges.
1969 53 Years Old …  In 1969, a married couple with two children were 11.5% per cent richer in real terms, while for a couple with three children, the corresponding increase was 14.5%, and for a family with four children, 16.5%. … Read More
1970 54 Years Old 1 More Event
A wide range of liberal measures were introduced during Wilson's time in office. The Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Act 1970 made provision for the welfare of children whose parents were about to divorce or be judicially separated, with courts (for instance) granted wide powers to order financial provision for children in the form of maintenance payments made by either parent. … Read More
1971 - 1973 3 More Events
…  He lost his energy and drive in his second government 1974-76 and accomplished little as the leadership split over Europe and trade union issues began ripping Labour apart.
1975 59 Years Old In 1975 Wilson secretly offered Libya's dictator Muammar Gaddafi £14 million (£500 million in 2009 values) to stop arming the IRA, but Gaddafi demanded a far greater sum of money. … Read More


…  A period of economic crisis was now beginning to hit most Western countries, and in 1976 Wilson suddenly announced his resignation as Prime Minister. … Read More
1978 - 1987 5 More Events
1994 78 Years Old He continued regularly attending the House of Lords until just over a year before his death; the last sitting he attended was on 27 April 1994.
1995 79 Years Old 1 More Event
His memorial service was held in Westminster Abbey on 13 July 1995. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Wilson.
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.