Harold Wilson, Huddersfield’s Famous Son

Harold Wilson in Documentary & Newsreel YouTube clips

Harold Wilson became an Oxford don at the age of 21, was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary by Clement Attlee as soon as he entered Parliament, served as the youngest member of a British Cabinet in the 20th century, and is best remembered for his years as British Prime Minister 1963-1970 and 1974-76.

Not surprisingly, many documentary, newsreel, and TV broadcast clips found on YouTube record his journey through political life.

Politics In The Wilson Blood

Harold Wilson was born on 11th March 1916. He was born in the family home at Warneford Road, Huddersfield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England.

James Herbert Wilson (1882–1971), Harold’s father, was an industrial chemist with a great interest in politics. He not only supported the Liberal Party, but was an active member and was the deputy election agent for Winston Churchill in 1908.

Ethel (née Seddon) Wilson (1882–1957), Harold’s mother, was a school teacher. When she married, she gave up her profession, in accordance with the normalities of the day.

Harold Sneddon, Harold’s uncle, moved to Western Australia in 1901. He became a leader in local politics.

In 1924, when Harold was 8 years old, a trip to London included a visit to the doorstep of Number 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the Prime Minister. A photograph records this event.

Two years later, the Wilsons took a family trip to Australia. He was fascinated by his uncle’s life in politics. “I am going to be Prime Minister” he reportedly told his mother on the way home.

Where did Harold Wilson go to school?

Harold initially attended the Royds Hall Grammar School in Huddersfield, having won a scholarship. In December 1930 his father suddenly became unemployed during a global economic downturn. It took two years and relocation of the family to Spital in Cheshire to secure work, meaning Harold moved to Sixth Form at the Wirral Grammar School for Boys.

He clearly thrived in his new school, becoming Head Boy and winning a place at Jesus College, Oxford to read Modern History. He took up his university place in 1934 with the assistance of a county grant, and graduated with a first class degree and series of academic awards.

The Young Oxford Don (1937-1939)

In 1937, Harold Wilson was just 21 years old when he became a lecturer in Economic History at New College and a research fellow at University College, making him one of the youngest Oxford dons of the century. 

On New Year’s Day 1940, in the chapel of Mansfield College, Oxford, Harold Wilson  married Mary Baldwin. They went on to have two sons, Robin and Giles, and the family features in many of the films and newsreels made during Harold’s political life.

War In The Civil Service (1939-1945)

Although Wilson volunteered for military service early in the Second World War, he was appointed to the civil service. He worked as a research assistant, statistician and economist on trade and coal matters, before becoming Director of Economics and Statistics at the Ministry of Fuel and Power in 1943–44 for which he received an OBE.

He became a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society in 1943.

Wilson Becomes MP For Ormskirk (1945)

In 1945, the MP for Ormskirk moved allegiance from National Labour to Independent. Labour selected Wilson as candidate for the seat in the upcoming General Election. The law required he left the civil service, so he performed academic duties before winning the seat during the landslide victory which swept Labour and Clement Attlee to power.

Immediately, Clement Attlee appointed him Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, despite his lack of Parliamentary experience. But he rose to the challenge, and two years later Wilson became Secretary for Overseas Trade. Duties included official trips to the Soviet Union to negotiate supply contracts.

Wilson Becomes Youngest Cabinet Minister (1947)

On 29 September 1947, 31 year old Harold Wilson was appointed President of the Board of Trade. He was the youngest member of a British Cabinet in the 20th century. With World War II having ended two years previously, he was keen to abolish some of the wartime rationing schemes.

Wilson was also the driving force behind the Statistics of Trade Act 1947.

Videos of Wilson 1947-1949

Wilson at Home with the Family in Richmond (1947)

In 1947, Harold Wilson invited cameras into his Richmond home.

Work Or Want Week Makes The Headlines Aka Harold Wilson President Of Board Of Trade (1947): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 April 2014 

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At Richmond in Surrey, the new 31 year old President of the Board of Trade, Harold Wilson, spends time with his family.

His eldest son Robin, and his wife Mary Wilson sit on a settee. While his son looks at a book, Wilson looks down at his son.

Next,  we hear Wilson giving the Board of Trade’s view on fashion’s long skirt controversy, which arose from the ongoing coupon rationing.

“Youngest Cabinet member since Pitt, Wilson is old enough for discretion when questioned on the long skirt controversy” 

Wilson then sits on a chair, going through a file.

Harold Wilson Interview On Fabric Rationing (1947)

This British Pathé footage which was unissued or unused, shows an interview with Harold Wilson. 

At the age of 31 he was already the President of the Board of Trade, and was Britain’s youngest cabinet minister since 1782. 

British Pathé: Harold Wilson (1947)

Questions include his opinion of the long skirts promoted in the New Look fashion movement, at a time when Britain was still subject to fabric rationing.

His wife and young son also appear.

Harold Wilson Speaks On Clothing (1948)

This unissued or unused material from British Pathé records Harold Wilson, President of the Board of Trade, speaking on clothing rationing in the post-war Britain of 1948.

British Pathé: Harold Wilson Speaks On Clothing (1948)

He’s shown on the roof of the Board of Trade building in London, taking up position for the interview, and walking shots.

Clothing ration changes were being made, reducing the points required for a number of items.

Harold Wilson Ends Clothing Coupons (1949)

When British Pathé recorded this announcement by Harold Wilson in London in 1949, he was President of the Board of Trade.

Clothes rationing had been in place for 8 years, and the scheme was now being ended. 

British Pathé: Harold Wilson Ends Clothing Coupons (1949)

Wilson On The End Of Clothes Rationing (1949)

The British Pathé archive team think these could be Selected Originals from late 1940s material.

President of the Board of Trade, Harold Wilson, resplendent with moustache and pipe, announces the scrapping of clothes rationing.

Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé: Harold Wilson (1949).

Wilson Becomes MP For Huyton (1950)

Although Wilson was only narrowly elected to the Huyton seat in 1950, he served the constituency near Liverpool until 1983. 

Resignation (1951)

In 1951, the government looked for ways to fund the Korean War, and introduced the first patient charges – for spectacles and dental care – in the recently created National Health Service (NHS). Aneurin Bevan, John Freeman and Harold Wilson, all part of a left leaning group within the Labour Party, resigned from the government in protest.

BEVAN and WILSON RESIGN FROM GOVERNMENT: Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by British Movietone

Mr Bevan resigned as a result of his opposition to the Budget, which imposed charges on patients for spectacles and dentures. 

He is seen leaving his Cliveden Place home with his wife, Jennie Lee, MP for the House of Commons. It’s interesting to see him happily walking through the public on London streets and using public transport.

Mr Harold Wilson also resigned his post as President of the Board of Trade.

Opposition & Shadow Cabinet (1952-63)

The following year, Winston Churchill and the Conservatives were back in power. Eventually Wilson found himself in the Shadow Cabinet, first to replace Bevan and then in 1955 as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer under Hugh Gaitskell.

Between 1959 and 1963, he was Chairman of the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee. 

In July 1960s, Nye Bevan died, and Wilson positioned himself as a replacement leader for the left leaning side of the Labour party. He unsuccessfully challenged Gaitskell’s leadership in November 1960; moved to Shadow Foreign Secretary in 1961; then lost his challenge for the deputy leadership to George Brown in 1962.

Videos of Wilson 1963

Harold Wilson Meets Khrushchev In Moscow (1963)

In The Kremlin in Moscow in 1963, Harold Wilson met Nikita Khrushchev, the Secretary of the Communist Party of Soviet Union.

Foreign Minister Mr Gromyko was also present.

Harold Wilson Meets Mr K (1963): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

Douglas-Home & Wilson: On Kennedy (1963)

On 1 Nov 1963, British Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home and the Leader of the Opposition Harold Wilson paid tribute to United States President John F Kennedy.

On 1 Nov 1963, British Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home and the Leader of the Opposition Harold Wilson paid tribute to United States President John F Kennedy.

CAN 033 DOUGLAS-HOME AND WILSON PAY TRIBUTE TO KENNEDY: Uploaded to YouTube on 24 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

Leader of the Opposition (1963-64)

In January 1963, Gaitskell died, and Wilson won his bid for the leadership against George Brown and James Callaghan.

“the Britain that is going to be forged in the white heat of this revolution will be no place for restrictive practices or for outdated measures on either side of industry”.

Harold Wilson, Labour Party Annual Conference 1963

Wilson Reaction To Hugh Gaitskell’s Death (1963)

Harold Wilson leaves a plane, then attends a Press Conference.

He talks about the death of Hugh Gaitskell.

WILSON REACTION – SOUND: Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by British Movietone

Hugh Todd Naylor Gaitskell CBE was born on 9 April 1906, and died on 18 January 1963.

He served as Leader of the Labour Party from 1955 until his death in 1963.

Leader of the Opposition – Interview (1964)

Watch the British Leader of the Opposition Harold Wilson being interviewed on 1 March 1964.

Uploaded to YouTube on 24 July 2015 by AP Archive: CAN134 HAROLD WILSON INTERVIEW

Interview With Leader Of The Opposition (1964)

An interview with Leader of the Opposition, Harold Wilson, on 1 Mar 1964.

CAN134 HAROLD WILSON INTERVIEW: Uploaded to YouTube on 24 July 2015 by AP Archive.

Prime Minister (1964)

The ministerial sex scandal of the Profuma affair severely damaged the Conservatives in the 1964 General Election, but even so Labour only won by a majority of four seats!

Harold Wilson, at the age of 48, was now the youngest British Prime Minister for 70 years.

Videos of Wilson 1964 & 1965

Harold Wilson Becomes Prime Minister (1964)

Whatever the circumstances surrounding the appointment of a British Prime Minister, it requires a formal meeting with the reigning monarch.

So on 16 October 1964, the day after the Labour Party won the General Election, Harold Wilson and his wife, Mrs Mary Wilson, met Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in London.

Posted to YouTube on 13 April 2014 by British Pathé: Harold Wilson Goes To Palace (1964)

The cameras were not allowed inside the palace, so the press had to make do with filming the arrival and departure of Mr & Mrs Wilson.

Crowds of people also appear, having come to watch this event.

Wilson: The New British Prime Minister (1964)

This British Pathé film (from about 26 October 1964) shows the new British Prime Minister Harold Wilson seated at his desk in London.

British Pathé: Harold Wilson In Office (1964)

Busy working with books and answering the phone, Mr Wilson still finds time to smoke his pipe.

Reaction: Wilson’s Plan To Boost Economy (1964)

This is a newsreel from 26 Oct 1964.

It shows Labour Party members, and also footage in shops, reacting to Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s plan to boost the UK economy.

CAN 414 PRIME MINISTER HAROLD WILSON ANNOUNCES PLANS TO BOOST UK ECONOMY: Uploaded to YouTube on 10 Feb 2019 by AP Archive

The Chancellor of the Exchequer James Callaghan, Cabinet Minister George Brown, Frank Cousins Chairman of the Transport and General Workers’ Committee and  Ray Gunter Chair of the National Labour Party Executive Committee also appear.

Lancaster University Honorary Degree (1964)

The opening ceremony of Lancaster University saw the granting of various honorary degrees to notable guests, including the new Prime Minister Harold Wilson. 

Uploaded to YouTube on 29 Jun 2011 by Lancaster University: Harold Wilson’s Acceptance Speech

He received a Doctor of Laws (LL.D), the first of 7 such honorary degrees.

Wilson delivered his speech only a short time after he became Prime Minister, following the Labour Party victory at the General Election.

Johnson Welcomes Wilson At White House (1964)

This was filmed at the White House in Washington (US) on 1 December 1964.

It shows President Lyndon B Johnson and his wife come out of the White House as British Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s car draws up. The couples greet each other, before the two men inspect the Guard of Honour.

Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé: President Johnson Welcomes Harold Wilson At White House (1964)

Then there’s a second take of this event!

President Johnson gives a speech of welcome and then Mr. Wilson answers. In the White House, the President and Mrs. Johnson show Mr. Wilson a portrait of John Foster Dulles (Republican, February 25, 1888 – May 24, 1959).

Wilson Family Christmas On Scilly Isles (1964)

On 30 Dec 1964, the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and his family were filmed as they spent a Christmas vacation on the Scilly Isles. 

CAN291 PRIME MINISTER HAROLD WILSON VACATIONS ON SCILLY ISLES WITH FAMILY: Uploaded to YouTube on 30 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

Harold Wilson Meets Khruschev In Moscow (1964)

Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party Mr. Nikita Khrushchev greets Harold Wilson in the Kremlin with a hearty handshake and then meets the rest of the British delegation. 

Harold Wilson Meets Khrushchev In Moscow (1964): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

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Sitting around the table, three of the British delegation smoke pipes. 

First Vice Chairman of the Council, Mr. Anastas Mikoyan, greets Harold Wilson and the British delegation,  which includes Labour Party members, Patrick Gordon Walker, Michael Stewart, David Ennals, John Harris and Joseph Slater.

Mr. Mikoyan is seated next to the Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. V. A. Zorin. They are seated opposite Mr. Wilson and the British delegation.

Jan Peive, Chairman of the Soviet of Nationalities of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.  Vassily Kuznetsov, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR.  

Wilson Presents Awards To The Beatles (1964)

On the 19th March 1964, Harold Wilson presented awards to members of the pop group, The Beatles.

This is an audio record of the event.

Beatles are Presented Awards from Harold Wilson – 3/19/64: Uploaded to YouTube on 25 February 2017 by The Beatles and provided to YouTube by The Orchard Enterprises

Wilson: Compilation Of Events (1948 – 1964)

This film brings together footage from a number of key events in Harold Wilson’s life, from the 1948 end of clothes rationing, to his 1964 official visit to the United States of America.

Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by British Movietone: COMPILATION ON MR. HAROLD WILSON – LEADER OF THE LABOUR PARTY – SOUND

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1948: Harold Wilson, as President of the Board of Trade, signs the Anglo-American Films agreement with Eric Johnston, who was President of America’s Motion Picture Association.

1949: Harold Wilson, as President of the Board of Trade, announces the end of the clothes Rationing.

1949: Harold Wilson, as one of three young ministers convened to advise Prime Minister Attlee on financial matters, attends the London Conference of Commonwealth Finance Ministers. Includes a discussion about the ‘Dollar Gap’ with Mr. Abbott of Canada in the garden of NO. 10. Downing Street.

1951:  To meet the financial demands imposed by the Korean War, National Health Service (NHS) medical charges are to be introduced. Mr. Aneurin Bevan, then Minister of Health, resigns, along with Major John Freeman MP, and Harold Wilson.

1962: The Labour Party Conference at Brighton includes Hugh Gaitskell, whose death in January 1963 was to bring the name of Harold Wilson into the headlines as a possible Labour Leader, and the Deputy Leader, Mr. George Brown, contender for the leadership.

1963: Harold Wilson is elected Leader of the Labour Party which also makes him Leader of the Opposition. Here he gives a speech.

1964: Harold Wilson visited the U.S.

Harold Wilson And Family At No. 10 (1965)

This Unissued and unused material from British Pathé was recorded at 10 Downing Street, London, on 26th March 1965.

British Pathé: Harold Wilson And Family Pose For Press At No. 10 AKA Harold Wilson + Family (1965)

The British Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, poses for photographers with his wife Mary, two sons and his cat. 

The Wilson Family On The Scilly Isles (1965)

In this short film about the Prime Minister’s family trip to the Scilly Isles, we see footage of the harbour at St. Mary’s and people walking along the local streets.

 Mr. Wilson In Scilly Isles (1965): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 April 2014 by British Pathé

The couple and their son have a cup of tea in the Sunset Restaurant, which is an amusing reminder of what eating establishments were like in the old days. No one has even removed the glasses and napkins so the table is crowded with things that will be used by other people later.

Following aerial shots of the Scilly Isles from a helicopter, we see Mr Wilson talking to an old boat builder friend. Next the family takes a boat to Samson Island, where they eat the picnic contained in the rucksack.

While the parents paddle in the sea, their son sits in a canoe. Then the family walks about the landscape.

Finally, we see British Pathé cameraman Cedric Baynes climbing on board a BEA plane with his camera.

Heath And Wilson’s Very Different Holidays (1965)

This footage from 1965 contrasted the summer holiday of two very different British political leaders. Conservative Ted Heath headed off to a clifftop villa in Nice, while Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson enjoyed a family trip to the Isles of Scilly.

Party Heads Relax (1965): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

Conservative Leader Edward Heath holidays with his father in Nice, France, staying at the villa of his friend, Madron Seligman.

The rest of the Seligman family are also there: Mrs Nancy-Joan Seligman (Nee Marks), and her children Olivia, Roderick and Dominic and one unnamed boy.

They enjoy a sailing trip, and relax in the villa’s swimming pool, taking in the spectacular views from the cliff top location.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Harold Wilson takes a holiday on the Isles of Scilly with his wife and son Giles, staying at their little bungalow called ‘Lowenva’. It’s close to the ‘The Wheelhouse’ guesthouse, where they used to stay, and owner Joe Phillips has a chat with them. 

At the harbour, ladies gather round as Mr Wilson signs autographs. He chats to various people, including boatmaker and fisherman Verny Thompson. Then they take a boat trip to Samson island for a picnic.

Commonwealth Meeting In London (1965)

In 1965, London hosted a Conference of the Commonwealth nations, to discuss the Vietnam War.

Commonwealth In Conference (1965): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé.

This footage opens at the Houses of Parliament, with flags flying.

Then we see Marlborough House on Pall Mall in London, which is the international headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Foundation.

The following dignitaries are seen arriving, in the conference room, or in the garden:

Harold Wilson, the British Prime Minister;

Spyros Achilleos Kyprianou (born 28 October 1932, died 12 March 2002), served as the second President of Cyprus from 1977 to 1988;

Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, DMN, DK, DUK, AC, CH (born 8 February 1903 died 6 December 1990), chief minister of the Federation of Malaya, the first prime minister of an independent Malaya and the prime minister of Malaysia;

Lal Bahadur Shastri (born 2 October 1904, died – possibly murdered – in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on 11 January 1966), prime minister of India (1964–66)

Joseph Zuzarte Murumbi (born 18 June 1911, died 22 June 1990), Kenya’s second Vice President in 1966;

Giorgio Borg Olivier, GCPO KSS, (born 5 July 1911, died 29 October 1980), twice served as Prime Minister of Malta (1950–55 and 1962–71);

Mr. Bottomley (Mr Arthur Bottomley, British politician, born February 7, 1907, died November 3, 1995)?;

Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, KT, AK, CH, QC, FAA, FRS (born 20 December 1894, died 15 May 1978), twice served as Prime Minister of Australia (1939 to 1941 and again from 1949 to 1966);

Sir Albert Michael Margai (born 10 October 1910, died 18 December 1980), was the second prime minister of Sierra Leone;

Muhammad Ayub Khan (born 14 May 1907, died 19 April 1974), Pakistani army general and the second President of Pakistan;

Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, KBE PC,  (born December 1912, died 15 January 1966), the first Prime Minister of Nigeria;

Julius Kambarage Nyerere (born 13 April 1922, died 14 October 1999), the first prime minister of independent Tanganyika (1961) and later became the first president of the new state of Tanzania;

Kenneth David Kaunda (born 28 April 1924), served as the first President of Zambia from 1964 to 1991;

Holyoake (?);

The Hon. Eric Eustace Williams TC CH, (born 25 September 1911, died 29 March 1981), the first Prime Minister of the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago;

Kwame Nkrumah PC, (born 21 September 1909, died 27 April 1972), the first Prime Minister and President of Ghana;

Apollo Milton Obote, (born 28 December 1925, died 10 October 2005), led Uganda to independence from Britain in 1962;

Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, (born 15 February 1898, died 25 November 1997), Prime Minister and later President of Malawi from 1964–1994;

Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara GCMG, (born 16 May 1924, died 27 August 2019), Prime Minister of the Gambia from 1962 to 1970, then the first President of the Gambia;

Lester Bowles Pearson PC OM CC OBE, (born 23 April 1897, died 27 December 1972), Prime Minister of Canada from 1963 to 1968;

Sir Donald Burns Sangster ON GCVO, (born 26 October 1911, died 1 April 1967), second Prime Minister of Jamaica;

Ministers wives and some pressmen also appear.

Wilson: Ian Smith At 10 Downing Street (1965)

On 7 October 1965, Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, was officially received at 10 Downing Street by British Prime Minister Harold Wilson. He was in London for talks about the future of Rhodesia.

Wilson And Ian Smith At No 10 (1965); Uploaded to YouTube on 13 April 2014 by British Pathé

Ian Smith arrived in a Rolls Royce, while a crowd waved. Mr Wilson greets him at the front door of Number 10. 

But there are also demonstrators holding ‘UDI is Treason’ and ‘Majority Vote in Rhodesia’ placards.

Coming out from number 10, Ian Smith is accompanied by Arthur Bottomley, the British Commonwealth Secretary, and the press want interviews.

Wilson Back In London: Rhodesian Situation (1965)

This is unissued and unused material of Harold Wilson returning to London Airport after a meeting with the Queen to discuss the Rhodesian situation. It was filmed on or around the 15th October 1965.

Harold Wilson Back In London (1965): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

He arrives in a Royal Air Force (RAF) Transport Command Comet, and climbs into the back seat of the official car, where he smokes his pipe.

Wilson Meets Kenyatta In Kenya (1965)

On 25 Oct 1965, the Prime Minister of Britain, Harold Wilson, and Commonwealth Secretary,  Arthur Bottomley, visited Kenya whilst on their way to independence talks in Rhodesia.

CAN637 PRIME MINISTER HAROLD WILSON VISITS KENYA: Uploaded to YouTube on 30 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

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In Kenya they spoke with President Jomo Kenyatta.

Wilson With De Gaulle & Pompidou In Paris (1965)

Filming in Paris opens with the  Tricolor flag flying on Elysee Palace, and the palace Guard of Honour. 

Harold Wilson In Paris To Discuss Concord With De Gaulle (1965): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 April 2014 by British Pathé

Harold Wilson and General de Gaulle sit talking. 

Mr. and Mrs. Wilson pose on steps with De Gaulle and Madame De Gaulle. 

Next we see Mr. Wilson arriving and being greeted by Georges Pompidou. 

Now Mr. Wilson leaves a government building.

Mr. and Mrs. Pompidou, followed by Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, arrives for dinner at the Quai d’Orsay.

The group poses, including Mr. Wilson, Mr. Pompidou and Mr. Couve de Murville. 

Harold Wilson Visits Berlin Wall (1965)

In 1965, Harold Wilson visited Berlin in West Germany, to look at the recently constructed Berlin Wall.

Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé: Harold Wilson In Berlin Visits Berlin Wall (1965)

In this footage he mostly appears in the company of Mayor Willy Brandt (born 18 December 1913, died 8 October 1992), and the British Foreign Minister, Michael Stewart (later Baron Stewart of Fulham).

Activities include a meeting, exchange of gifts, signing of the visitor book, speeches, a motorcade along a street of melting snow, the Berlin Wall, and a Guard of Honour of R.A.F. personnel.

British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and President Lubke President of West German Republic sit talking at a meeting in Bonn.

Harold Wilson and Michael Stewart hold informal talks with President Lubke and German Foreign Minister Dr Schroeder:

Harold Wilson In Bonn Meets President Lubke (1965): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

Bonn, Germany

Harold Wilson’s State Visit To Rhodesia (1965)

On 1 Mar 1966, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson made a state visit to Rhodesian, for talks on the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI).

CAN905 BRITISH PRIME MINISTER HAROLD WILSON IN RHODESIA: Uploaded to YouTube on 30 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

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The UDI was a statement adopted by the Cabinet of Rhodesia on 11 November 1965, announcing that Rhodesia, a British territory in southern Africa that had governed itself since 1923, now regarded itself as an independent sovereign state.

Increased Majority As Prime Minister (1966)

Edward Heath became leader of the Conservative Party in 1965, the same year as Labour’s majority reduced to just one single seat. So when Wilson called a General Election in March 1966, it was a gamble. However, the Labour majority increased significantly to 96 seats.

Videos of Wilson 1966

First Chancellor Of Bradford University (1966)

The Charter of Incorporation was granted in 1966, to create the University of Bradford. 

The university’s first chancellor was Harold Wilson, then serving as British Prime Minister.

Uploaded to YouTube on 21 July 2015 by British Movietone:

HAROLD WILSON IN BRADFORD – SOUND

In this footage we see the Inauguration of Bradford University. Harold Wilson wears a gown as he walks into the hall as part of a formal parade of important people.

After he is introduced, he bestows degrees. 

Fans Mob Wilson: Keep Cavern Club Open (1966)

On the 5th March 1966, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson was mobbed by “beat” fans. They were asking him to intercede in the closing of Liverpool’s Cavern club, famous as the venue where the Beatles made their first appearances.

On the 5th March 1966, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson was mobbed by “beat” fans. They were asking him to intercede in the closing of Liverpool’s Cavern club, famous as the venue where the Beatles made their first appearances.

 CAN730 BEAT FANS MOB PRIME MINISTER HAROLD WILSON ASKING HIM TO HELP KEEP THE CAVERN CLUB OPEN: Uploaded to YouTube on 30 July 2015 by AP Archive

Dr Ludwig Erhard Visits Wilson At No 10 (1966)

This is unissued and unused British Pathé material from No 10 Downing Street, London, probably on or around 30th May 1966.

The West German Chancellor Dr Ludwig Erhard and Prime Minister Harold Wilson are joined by Foreign Ministers Michael Stewart and Gerhard Schroeder in the drawing room at Number 10 Downing Street.

 Erhard Visits Wilson (1966): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 April 2014 by British Pathé

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A policeman stands outside the famous door of No. 10.

The door starts to open, and there’s a small crowd on the pavement opposite No 10.

The Federal German flag is seen on one of the cars.

Wilson Visits The White House (1966)

This is unissued and unused material from British Pathé, was recorded on 1st July 1966 in Washington, D.C., in the United States of America.

 Wilson In Washington (1966)

Uploaded to YouTube on 13 April 2014 by British Pathé

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The British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, arrives in a car at the White House, where the press are wearing. People peer through railings from the street, as US President Lyndon B Johnson chats to Mr Wilson.

Next we see images of the British Embassy in Washington, a modern building in Washington, a plaque on ‘The Blair House’ which was erected in 1824, and a modern block. The Union Jack at British Embassy is seen along with  US Security Guards and the gates of the Embassy, before the footage returns to the White House.

TUC Conference In Blackpool (1966)

On 5th September 1966, the TUC Conference in Blackpool, Lancashire was filmed for a Pathé newsreel.

Tuc Conference (1966): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

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Footage shows delegates going into the Opera House, and scenes of activity inside as the speeches begin.

Then the pipe smoking Prime Minister, Mr Harold Wilson, and Ray Gunter stand for the press on the steps of the Imperial Hotel. 

Next, delegates stand to applaud as Mr Wilson steps forward on the platform, ready to make a speech. Once they sit down, he begins.

The final shot is of the Blackpool illuminations.

Wilson in Moscow for Talks (1966)

As part of his trip to Moscow for talks in 1966, Harold Wilson met with Chairman of the Russian Executive Committee, Mr V Promyslov.

As part of the meeting, the two men looked at the model of a new building development scheduled for construction in Moscow. Mr Wilson also signed the visitor’s book.

Harold Wilson In Moscow For Talks (1966): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

Next, Mr Wilson posed with Mr. Anastas Mikoyan, first Vice Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, inside the Kremlin. As ever, his trademark pipe made an appearance.

Harold Wilson Meets Soviet Leaders (1966)

This newsreel from Moscow briefly and intermittently has a Russian commentary.

Harold Wilson Meets Soviet Leaders (1966): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

It opens at Vnukov Airport, where Prime Minister Mr. Alexei Kosygin, Mr. Gromyko, Foreign Trade Minister Nikolai Patolichev and British Ambassador Sir Jeffrey Harrison wait for the arrival of Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

The dignitaries visit an Industrial Exhibition. Mr. Kosygin takes a close look at the Scottish Pipe Band and Mr. Wilson explains things to him.

Sir Robert Maclaine and Mr Ian Trafford explain details to their visitors as they look at displays of electrical equipment and appliances, handbags, electric organs, food etc.

At the end, there’s a shot of Wilson seated opposite Mr. Kosygin at the Kremlin talks. 

The weather looks cold for the arrival in Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union (USSR), of Harold Wilson, on 20 January 1968. Russian Ministers are dressed in fur coats, hats and scarves.

On 14 February 1967, Prime Minister Harold Wilson made a television broadcast to the nation, reporting back from his negotiations with Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin.

Moscow Visit During Sterling Crisis (1966)

This newsreel includes scenes from Moscow and London.

It opens with images of the stock exchange.

Next we see the British Trade Fair in Moscow, attend by Britain’s Prime Minister Mr Harold Wilson and Mr Alexei Kosygin, Soviet Prime Minister. They wander around looking at the machinery on display.

Sterling Crisis (1966): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

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The stock exchange appears again, as Harold Wilson’s flight arrives back in Britain. 

Crowds wait in Downing Street watching the arrival of Mr Wedgwood Benn, Mr George Brown, Mr Stewart and Mr Douglas Jay, President of the Board of Trade. Wilson arrives, waves at the crowd, and goes inside.


Harold Wilson Visits Aberfan (1966)

On 22 Oct 1966, Prime Minister Harold Wilson visited the site of the Aberfan disaster. 

The Welsh village near Merthyr Tydfil suffered a collapse of a colliery spoil tip and 150,000 tonnes of coal waste buried homes and the village school.

Despite the efforts of rescue teams who dug for days, 116 children and 28 adults died in the incident.

On 22 Oct 1966, Prime Minister Harold Wilson visited the site of the Aberfan disaster. 

The Welsh village near Merthyr Tydfil suffered a collapse of a colliery spoil tip and 150,000 tonnes of coal waste buried homes and the village school.

Despite the efforts of rescue teams who dug for days, 116 children and 28 adults died in the incident.

CAN850 HAROLD WILSON VISITS DISASTER SCENE 

Meeting President Jomo Kenyatta In Kenya (1966)

In 1966, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson met the President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Harold Wilson Visits Kenya (1966): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

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This short newsreel shows the two men meeting and walking across a runway with others, including Kenya’s Foreign Minister, Joseph Murumbi.

As they go into the airport buildings, an aircraft engaged in an air lift to Zambia appears in the background. 

Next, the two premiers shake hands before Mr Wilson boards his BOAC airliner, and the Kenyan delegation walk away.


Rhodesia ‘Situation’ (1966)

On 6 Dec 1966,  Harold Wilson, as British Prime Minister, gave a nationwide broadcast about the Rhodesia ‘situation’.

The British colony of Southern Rhodesia in Southern Africa had been self-governing since 1923. But after years of increasing political tension including violent independence movements, in 1965 the predominantly white government, under the leadership of Ian Smith, unilaterally declared independence from Britain.  

Posted to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive: CAN 876 PRIME MINISTER, HAROLD WILSON, GIVES BROADCAST ON RHODESIA

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The new state of Rhodesia was unrecognised by most countries for several years, as repeated political negotiations failed. Indeed, on 12 October 1965, the United Nations General Assembly noted the repeated threats of the Rhodesian authorities “to declare unilaterally the independence of Southern Rhodesia, in order to perpetuate minority rule”, and urged Britain to prevent the Rhodesian Front from asserting independence even if it required military action.

Rhodesia declared itself a republic on 2 March 1970. Unfortunately, this ushered in an even more violent period of armed conflict, which only came to an end on 18 April 1980, when the country became independent within the Commonwealth of Nations as the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Two years later its capital, Salisbury, was renamed Harare.


Wilson In South Africa (1966)

This newsreel from 31 Dec 1966 shows some of the key events happening around the world.

Dominican Republic, South Africa, Charles De Gaulle, Harold Wilson, West Germany, Spain, Israel / Jo: Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

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Dominican Republic:

Street scene, Juan Bosch speaking, then Joaquin Balaguer.

South Africa:

Endrik Pervet’s funeral, clips of Balthasar Vorster (Prime Minister of South Africa from 1966 to 1978), Charles de Gaulle (French President), and Alexei Kosygin (Premier of the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1980).

Harold Wilson speaks on the subject of Vietnam.

West Germany:

Ludwig Erhardt (second Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1963 until 1966)  and new Chancellor Kurt Kiesinger (Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1 December 1966 to 21 October 1969).

Spain:

General Franco.

Israel/Jordan:

Jordanian village after Israeli bombing, showing a woman searching the ruins.

An Israeli representative speaks at the United Nations General Assembly.

Space:

The Gemini takes off!  Includes views of Earth from the capsule, and shots of an astronaut space walking. 

USA:

The marriage of President Johnson’s daughter Lucy to Patrick Nugent.

Rhodesian John Jordan In London (1967)

On 6 Jan 1967, Rhodesian John Jordan took his campaign against the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson to the Magistrates Court.

He also attempted to speak to Wilson at No 10 Downing Street. 

CAN910 JORDAN’S CAMPAIGN AGAINST HAROLD WILSON: Uploaded to YouTube on 30 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

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He was accusing Wilson of waging ‘warfare against the White British kinfolk of Rhodesia.’

Common Market Meeting In Rome (1967)

On 17th January 1967, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and his Foreign Secretary George Brown arrived at Rome Airport, ahead of a Common Market meeting.

Harold Wilson And George Brown In Rome (1967): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

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There, a small crowd held placards written in Italian, and the Guard of Honour awaited inspection.

Italian Premier Moro greeted the British politicians officially at the microphone, before a car whisked them away from the airport.

Later internal scenes show First President Saragat, Harold Wilson and George Brown posing on a sofa, before meeting Premier Moro and sitting around a table.

Later, Mr Wilson and Mr Brown are led through the Vatican to meet the Pope, though we don’t see this happen on screen. 

St. Peter’s Square is quiet compared to the modern day.

Common Market Talks In France (1967)

On 26th January 1967, a Common Market meeting was held at the European Assembly Centre in Strasbourg, France.

After the meeting, Harold Wilson and George Brown flew to Paris, where they met President Charles de Gaulle.

Harold Wilson In France For Common Market Talks (1967): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

This short newsreel starts with footage in Strasbourg of Britain’s Prime Minister Harold Wilson, the President of Assembly Mr Freitas, French Foreign Minister Couve de Murville, and Britain’s Foreign Secretary George Brown.

Locations include the European Assembly Centre in Strasbourg, Orly Airport at night, and the Elysee Palace. 

At the Elysee Palace, Palace Guards present arms as Harold Wilson and George Brown arrive. Couvre de Murville and new French Prime Minister Georges Pompidou pose for the cameras with them.

The British representatives meet President Charles de Gaulle, before Mr Wilson and Mr Brown are questioned by the press at the Circle Interallie.

A final shot shows Mr Wilson lighting his pipe.


Harold Wilson Visits De Gaulle In France (1967)

Harold Wilson, as British Prime Minister, visited the President of France, General Charles de Gaulle, in Versailles, France, in 1967.

Harold Wilson Visits De Gaulle (1967): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

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In this short clip, General Charles and Madame de Gaulle pose on the palace steps with Harold Wilson and his wife Mary Wilson.

EEC Talks In The Netherlands (1967)

The commentary for this short newsreel about the EEC talks in the Hague, is in Dutch. 

Outside the Houses of Parliament (Rolzaal) in the Hague, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and his Deputy Prime Minister George Brown take their seats across the table from the Dutch Prime Minister Zijlstra and his Foreign Minister Mr Joseph Luns.

Next, the footage moves to the Royal Palace in the Hague, where Mr Wilson is received by the Dutch monarch, Queen Juliana.

Harold Wilson In Holland For E.E.C. Talks. (1967): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

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Finally, Mr Wilson holds a press conference. 

“So I can think of almost no question bearing on the future of the community or bearing on the British entry, which has not been discussed in these very fast moving and thorough discussions. Our position on this as in all other institutional questions arising out of the Treaty of Rome is, that is we are able to secure entry on terms which we and the British people consider reasonable, that we shall of course play our full part in all that is envisaged by our Common Market partners.”


Common Market Talks In Bonn (1967)

British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and George Brown, the Deputy British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary arrive at the Federal Chancellor Palais Schaumburg, in Bonn, Germany.

Harold Wilson In Bonn. (1967): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

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They are officially greeted by the Chancellor, Kurt George Kiesinger, the Mayor of West Berin Willy Brandt, and the second President of the West German Republic, Heinrich Lübcke.

The British delegation now hold Common Market talks, during which Mr Wilson is shown smoking a large cigar.

In the evening, there’s a reception, during which members of the new Coalition Party are received.

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Those attending include:

  • Prof. Schiller, Minister of Economics
  • Franz-Josef Strauss Minister of Finances
  • Dr Erich Mende, ex-minister
  • Sir Frank Roberts, British Ambassador to Moscow
  • Helmuth Schmidt, Social Democratic Leader 
  • Rainer Barzel, German Christian Democratic

USSR Talks about Vietnam (1967)

CAN920 WILSON SPEAKS OF ATTEMPTS AT PEACE IN VIETNAM: Uploaded to YouTube on 30 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

Harold Wilson became an Oxford don at the age of 21, was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary by Clement Attlee as soon as he entered Parliament, served as the youngest member of a British Cabinet in the 20th century, and is best remembered for his years as British Prime Minister 1963-1970 and 1974-76.

The State Opening Of Parliament (1960s)

This unissued and unused material from the Palace of Westminster in  London shows Members of Parliament seated in the chamber of the House of Commons. They are possibly waiting for the call to process to the House of Lords for the State Opening of Parliament.

Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé: House Of Commons (1960-1969)

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MPs seen on the opposition benches include Edward (Ted) Heath, Quentin Hogg (Lord Hailsham), and Rab Butler.

The Government benches include Harold Wilson, Barbara Castle, Denis Healey, James Callaghan, and Anthony (Tony) Wedgwood-Benn.

Black Rod arrives to summon the MPs to the Lords. The MPs process through the Members Lobby.

Finally, there are more shots of the ceremony, and of the chamber filled with MPs.

Prime Minister Harold Wilson In Moscow (1968)

Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé: Harold Wilson In Moscow (1968)

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The welcome by Alexei Kosygin includes a moment where he rolls Mr Wilson’s collar up, quickly followed by an official taking off his own hat for Mr Wilson’s use.

Later scenes include Harold Wilson, Alexei Kosygin and other delegates around a table, before an inspection of the Russian Guard of Honour. Russian troops march past.

Next, Mr Wilson and Mr Kosygin acknowledge the crowd’s applause in a building. As the Union Jack and Russian flags fly, Mr Wilson smiles as he enjoys his pipe.

On 25 January 1968, Harold Wilson attended talks with President of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Leonid Brezhnev, at the Kremlin in Moscow.

Harold Wilson At Moscow Talks (1968)

Harold Wilson At Moscow Talks (1968): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

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The UK’s Ambassador to the USSR, Sir Geoffrey Wedgwood Harrison GCMG KCVO (born 18 July 1908, died 12 April 1990) is also present, as is Mr Andrei Gromyko.

Next we see a flame burning on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, which is covered in snow and attended by guards. 

Mr Wilson, wearing a fur hat, lays a wreath at the tomb, where a line of other wreaths lie covered in snow.


Wilson Attends Marriage Of His Son Robin (1968)


Harold Wilson and his wife Mary had two sons. Robin (born 5 December 1943) became an emeritus professor in the Department of Mathematics at the Open University. Giles dedicated his life to serving the public, first as a teacher, and then as a train driver for South West Trains.

In 1968, Robin married Joy Crispin at St. Gregory’s Church in Dawlish, Devon. They went on to have twin daughters Catherine and Jenifer, and three grandchildren including a set of twins.


Mr Wilson’s Son Marries (1968): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

Outside the church, spectators assembled. As Joy Crispin arrived with her father, she kisses the policeman on duty, and went into the church.

After the service, the wedding party came outside, where Robin kissed Joy, and then Harold kissed Joy. Then the bride and groom made their way through the crowd.

President Nixon Visits England (1969)

In 1969, the newly elected President Nixon arrived at London Airport in a Boeing plane, for a 2 day official visit.

Nixon’s Visit Aka Nixon In England, Nixon Arrives In London (1969): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

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British Prime Minister Harold Wilson waits with the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Cobbold and other officials.  

When greetings and hand shaking is over, Nixon makes a short speech, referring to the relationship between the United States and Great Britain, saying they share a common commitment to peace.

At the Prime Minister’s home at Chequers, Buckinghamshire, we see Nixon walking about and looking at the fireplace and paintings in the Great Hall.  Nixon and Wilson sit on a chintz sofa and chat.  Surprisingly, Nixon touches Wilson’s knee.

Nixon is staying at Claridges, which flies the US Stars and Stripes flag outside.  

Inside, we see Nixon talking to Ted (Edward) Heath, the opposition leader.  

Outside the hotel, a line of motorcycle policemen wait to escort Nixon to Downing Street. Nixon comes out of the building, gets into his bullet-proof car which was especially flown in from America, and the motorcade starts off.  

When they arrive at Downing Street,  Nixon stands with Wilson outside. They point and wave at the photographers before going inside.

The next scene is an interior shot of 10 Downing Street. Harold Wilson, Richard Nixon, the British Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart, and US Secretary of State Mr Rogers are present.

The motorcade now takes Nixon to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen.  

Inside Nixon, accompanied by Wilson, is greeted by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.  Amidst the palace walls displaying many pictures, the Queen and Nixon walk along chatting.

Prince Philip, Princess Anne and Prince Charles walk along behind.

Niger President Diori In London (1969)

On 2 April 1969 in London, the Prime Minister Harold Wilson met with the President of Niger Hamani Diori, and his wife.

On 2 April 1969 in London, the Prime Minister Harold Wilson met with the President of Niger Hamani Diori, and his wife.

SYND 2-4-69 HAROLD WILSON, JUST BACK FROM NIGERIA, MEETS HAMANI DIORI OF NIGER: Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Wilson Meets Erlander In Stockholm (1969)

On 5 July 1969, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson attended talks in Stockholm with Swedish Prime Minister Tage Erlander.

On 5 July 1969, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson attended talks in Stockholm with Swedish Prime Minister Tage Erlander.

SYND 05-7-69 HAROLD WILSON VISITS STOCKHOLM: Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Wilson And Heath Walk Up Steps (1969)

A short clip of Harold Wilson and Edward Heath ascending steps on the outside of a building in London.  

A short clip of Harold Wilson and Edward Heath ascending steps on the outside of a building in London.  

Heath And Wilson (1969): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé


Israeli Leader Meir At 10 Downing Street (1969)

Prime Minister Harold Wilson greets Israeli Prime Minister, Mrs. Golda Meir at No. 10 Downing Street, London.

Prime Minister Harold Wilson greets Israeli Prime Minister, Mrs. Golda Meir at No. 10 Downing Street, London.

Mrs Meir At No 10 Aka Israeli Pm Sees Mr Wilson (1969): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé


Harold Wilson Arrives In Canada (1970)

On 26 Jan 1970, British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, made a press statement on arrival in Canada, regarding subjects scheduled for discussion during the visit.

SYND 26/1/70 HAROLD WILSON ARRIVES IN CANADA: Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

Wilson’s Conference Speech (1969)

In a speech made on 30 Sep 1969, the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, attacked the Conservative opposition party, in particular their “Phoney aunt sally” tactics.

SYND 30 9 69 WILSON CONFERENCE SPEECH: Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

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Return To Opposition (1970-1974)

Signs of improvement in the economy and poll predictions suggesting a strong 12% lead for Labour made the outcome of the 1970 General Election surprising, when Ted Heath and the Conservatives won power. Furthermore, the election saw Labour’s vote share fall to its lowest since 1935, and several prominent Labour figures lost their seats, including the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, George Brown.

Wilson was president of the Royal Statistical Society in 1972–73.

In 1973, Harold Wilson fell into the sea as he tried to board a motorboat from a dinghy during a holiday on the Isles of Scilly. Unable to get into the boat and affected by the cold water, he was apparently in great peril. Luckily, passers-by came to his rescue.

Wilson Videos 1970 – 1973

Harold Wilson Starts Election Campaign (1970)

On 10th Jun 1970, Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson was filmed on the election campaign trail.

SYND 10/6/70 BRITAIN’S LABOUR PRIME MINISTER HAROLD WILSON HAS HAD A SUCCESSFUL START TO HIS ELECTION: Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

Election Campaign Interview With Dimbleby (1970)

This television interview of Harold Wilson by Dimbleby was filmed during the 1970 General Election campaign.

This television interview of Harold Wilson by Dimbleby was filmed during the 1970 General Election campaign.

BBC Election 1970 David Dimbleby Harold Wilson: Uploaded to YouTube on 22 Apr 2013 by Daniel Hope


Wilson Election Campaigning In Merseyside (1970)

Footage from Merseyside during the General Election of 1970.

Election 1970 (1970): Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé

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Following a sign showing ‘Urban district of Huyton with Roby’ and an exterior shot of the “Golden Eagle” hotel (presumably the one in Kirkby, now demolished, we see Harold Wilson smoking a pipe while talking to people who sport a Labour Party red rosette. 

Some children holding up ‘Vote Wilson’ signs. 

Then we see Harold Wilson walking along holding hands with his wife Mary Wilson. He talks to many people before going up to a microphone, where he is joined by his wife. 

Young people are seen clapping enthusiastically.  

Royal Farewell Dinner At 10 Downing Street (1970)

British Movietone footage recording the attendance of the Queen and Duke at a farewell dinner at No 10 Downing Street held by Harold and Mary Wilson. 

Also seen are Denis Healy, Sir Alec and Lady Douglas-Home, Michael Foot, Jill Tweedie, James and Audrey Callaghan, Marcia Williams (Lady Falkender), Peter and Eizabeth Shore, and Roy Jenkins. 

British Movietone: QUEEN AND DUKE DINE WITH HAROLD WILSON – NO SOUND – COLOUR

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Leaving Number 10 Downing Street (1970)

Harold Wilson and his family moved into the official residence at 10 Downing Street, London, when he was elected Prime Minister in 1964, but had to leave when the Labour Party lost the 1970 General Election. He’d return for a further two years in 1974.

Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé: Wilson At No 10 (1970)

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Inside Number 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister Harold Wilson signs papers in a hallway.  He walks towards the camera, then out through the front door.  We can see a car, a policeman and crowds outside the door.

Outside Number 10, he waves to the crowd and gets into the car with some colleagues.  The car drives off, and is then seen driving through the gates of Buckingham Palace. 


Protest At Bradford University (1971)

On 10th October 1971, The British Prime Minister, Edward (Ted) Heath received an Honorary Doctor of Technology degree from the University of Bradford. But it became the focus of a student protest.

HEATH and WILSON: Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by British Movietone

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As Chancellor of Bradford University, Harold Wilson, Leader of the Opposition, presented the honorary degree to Edward Heath.

Before and during the ceremony, demonstrators held a sit-in, which forced the leaders to enter through an emergency exit. Students jeered and kissed at them. An egg was thrown at Mr. Heath, but it missed. During the ceremony itself, one of the demonstrators was removed from the hall.

Notre Dame Service For Charles De Gaulle (1970)

On 9 November 1970, less than two weeks short of what would have been his 80th birthday, Charles de Gaulle died suddenly of a ruptured blood vessel. 

De Gaulle had made arrangements that insisted his funeral be held at Colombey-les-deux-eglises, with no presidents or ministers present.

So a second service, held at Notre Dame Cathedral at the same time as his funeral, provided the opportunity for dignitaries to pay their respects. Leaders and officials from 80 nations attended, including President Georges Pompidou.  

Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by British Movietone: SERVICE AT NOTRE DAME FOR CHARLES DE GAULLE – NO SOUND

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Thousands of people in the village of Colombey and in Paris stood or marched silently in respect for the General. 

Attending the service in Notre Dame were President Richard Nixon, the Shah of Iran, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, Archbishop Makarios, the Prince of Wales accompanied by Sir Christopher Soames, Edward Heath, Anthony Eden, and Harold Wilson.

Harold Wilson Interviewed at a Pipe Exhibition in 1971

This is unissued and unused footage of the Leader of the Opposition, Harold Wilson, attending the first ever Pipe Exhibition in London.

Uploaded to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé: Harold Wilson At Pipe Exhibition (1970-1974)

Wilson’s Speech On Rhodesia Stance (1972)

On 21 Jan 1972, Harold Wilson, Leader of the Opposition and former British Prime Minister, criticised the Conservative government over their response to the situation in Rhodesia, as it was then known.

On 21 Jan 1972, Harold Wilson, Leader of the Opposition and former British Prime Minister, criticised the Conservative government over their response to the situation in Rhodesia, as it was then known.

Wilson Criticises Conservatives Over Rhodesia (1972)

SYND 21-1-72 BRITISH OPPOSITION LEADER HAROLD WILSON CRITICISES CONSERVATIVES OVER RHODESIA: Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Wilson’s Labour Party Conference Speech (1972)

On 12 Feb 1972, the British opposition Labour leader, Harold Wilson, delivered a speech at The Labour Party Conference in Blackpool, criticising the Conservative leader, Edward Heath.

SYND 12-2-72 BRITISH OPPOSITION LABOUR LEADER, HAROLD WILSON, CRITICISES CONSERVATIVE LEADER: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

Manny Shinwell: Pipeman Of The Year (1972)

A luncheon for Pipeman of the Year 1972, which was won by Labour Party MP Manny Shinwell (Emanuel Shinwell, Baron Shinwell, CH, PC born 18 October 1884, died 8 May 1986).

PIPESMOKER: Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by British Movietone

Harold Wilson was there, as was British actor Rupert Davies (born 22 May 1916, died 22 November 1976), English football personality Jimmy Hill (James William Thomas Hill OBE, born 22 July 1928, died 19 December 2015), and other well-known people.


Wilson Speaks About Belfast Bombs (1972)

On 21 Jul 1972,  explosions in the Smithfield and Botanic Gardens areas of Belfast caused devastation. Harold Wilson, leader of the British Labour party, was interviewed about the matter in Manchester.

SYND 21-7-72 BOMB EXPLOSIONS AND AN INTERVIEW WITH HAROLD WILSON ON SITUATION: Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Wilson On Ulster And Gun Licences (1972)

On 3 October 1972, the British Labour Party leader Harold Wilson spoke about Ulster at the Labour Party Conference in Blackpool, Lancashire. He wanted all gun licences to be withdrawn.

SYND 3 10 72 LABOUR LEADER WILSON AT PARTY CONFERENCE; Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Wilson On The Northern Ireland Situation (1972)

On 2 Dec 1972, Leader of the Opposition, Harold Wilson, addressed his constituency workers about the Northern Ireland situation.

SYND 2-12-72 WILSON ON NORTHERN IRELAND SITUATION: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Wilson Talks About Beating The Crisis (1973)

On 14 Dec 1973, the UK’s Leader of the Opposition, and former Prime Minister, Harold Wilson stated his views on the government’s drastic action to beat the crisis.

SYND 14-12-73 HAROLD WILSON SPEAKS IN LONDON ON WHAT TO DO TO BEAT THE CRISIS: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

By the end of the year, the Three Day Week began. For three months, people and businesses in the UK struggled to cope with rationed electricity supplies which saw their lighting and electrical appliances go dead for most of the week.

Turmoil For Ted Heath (1970-1974)

Like many other western countries, Britain struggled with the economic conditions of the 1970s. 

The 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement – whereby countries promised that their central banks would maintain fixed exchange rates between their currencies and the dollar, replacing the gold standard with the U.S. dollar as the global currency – came to an end, following President Nixon’s announcement of his New Economic Policy (“Nixon shock”) on August 15, 1971.

Then the  oil crisis began in October 1973. Members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries proclaimed an oil embargo, targeted at nations perceived as supporting Israel during the Yom Kippur War. In Britain, this led to a shortage of power for vehicles, homes and workplaces, and inflation quickly became a problem.

Combined with a confrontation with the coal miners, Britain had to ration electricity, and imposed the Three-Day Week at midnight on 31 December 1973. Hospitals, supermarkets and newspaper printing presses and other essential services were exempt, but everyone else was plunged into darkness after their allotted hours. Even television companies ceased broadcasting at 10.30 pm. The Three-Day Week restrictions ended on 7 March 1974, the same month the oil crisis ceased.

Snap Election 1974

In the meantime, on 28 February 1974, Ted Heath called a snap election. 

With modern British homes and workplaces denied access to electricity for more than half the week for more than two months, the Conservatives somewhat surprisingly won more votes than any other party. 

But because of the distribution of those votes, they won fewer seats than Labour and became a hung Parliament. Ted Heath was unable to persuade the Liberals to form a coalition.

Wilson 1974 Election Videos

Wilson Speech On Looming Election (1974)

With the threat of an election looming the British leader of the opposition Harold Wilson MP castigates the Conservative government. Filmed 18th January 1974.

SYND 18-1-74 OPPOSITION LEADER WILSON SPEECH ON ELECTION: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Wilson & Heath Electioneering In Wales (1974)

On 13 February 1974, Britain’s Prime Minister Edward Heath, and the Leader of the Opposition Harold Wilson, continued their election campaign in Wales.

SYND 13-2-74 WILSON AND HEATH CONTINUE THEIR ELECTION CAMPAIGN IN WALES: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Heath & Wilson Election Campaigning (1974)

On 15 February 1974, conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath and his opponent, Leader of the Labour party, Harold Wilson, gave statements during the general election campaign.

SYND 15-2-74 HEATH AND WILSON SPEAKING DURING THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN; Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

Watch footage of a speech made by Harold Wilson on 19 April 1974, as part of the election campaign that year.

SYND 19 4 74 WILSON SPEECH DURING ELECTION CAMPAIGN: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Harold Wilson Interview: Common Market (1974)

Llew Gardner interviews the Leader of the Labour Party Harold Wilson for an episode of Thames Tv programme ‘This Week’ in 1974.

This ThamesTv footage was first shown on 20th February 1974, the eve of a snap election that resulted in a hung Parliament.

Harold Wilson | Labour Party | Common Market | This Week | 1974


Opposition Leader Wilson On Price Rises (1974)

On 23 February 1974, Harold Wilson, Leader of the Labour party, delivered a speech about price rises being kept high.

Uploaded to YouTune on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive: SYND 23 2 74 HAROLD WILSON, LEADER OF THE LABOUR PARTY, SPEECH


Heath And Wilson Vote In General Election (1974)

On 28 February 1974, Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, Edward Heath, and the leader of Labour Party, Harold Wilson, voted in the General Election.

SYND 28-2-74 HEATH AND WILSON VOTE IN GENERAL ELECTIONS: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Wilson Back – Averting Hung Parliament (1974)

Harold Wilson comments on the inconclusive results of the General Election in this footage from 1974.

UK General Election February 1974 – Harold Wilson Speech: Uploaded to YouTube on 26 Oct 2009 by MrElectionist

Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath’s decision to call a snap election in February 1974 backfired. 

His plea to the electors to “return a strong government with a firm mandate” was ignored as Britain was faced with its first hung parliament since 1929. 

Although Labour won fewer votes than the Conservatives, the party took four more seats, 301 against 297.

After four days of indecision that saw Heath unable to convince the Liberals to lend him their support, he had no choice but to resign. 

Labour leader Harold Wilson was back again as Prime Minister, after four years as Leader of the Opposition.

But now he would have to deal with the fresh challenge of heading a minority administration, which could fall at any time.

And the Three Day week rationed electricity for business and family households across the UK, severely affecting everyday life.


Wilson’s Cabinet Leaves Meeting (1974)

On 4th Apr 1974, British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, and the Cabinet were filmed as they left a meeting, having discussed forthcoming parliamentary business.

SYND 4-4-74 BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, HAROLD WILSON, AND CABINET LEAVE MEETING: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Wilson Visits Northern Ireland (1974)

On 18 Apr 1974, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson arrived in Northern Ireland for the first time since his election.

He talked with security and political officials, including the Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Brian Faulkner, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Merlyn Rees, and Catholic leader Jerry Fitt.

SYND 18-4-74 WILSON’S FIRST VISIT AS PRIME MINISTER: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

Harold Wilson: Banking Profits Interview (1974)

In this ThamesTv interview first broadcast on 20 February 1974, Llew Gardener asks Harold Wilson about high banking profits. They seemed unacceptable during a time of national hardship.

Harold Wilson – Labour – Thames Television

Prime Minister Again (1974-1976)

It was into this tumultuous period that Harold Wilson returned to number 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister of a minority Labour Government on 4 March 1974. 

Another General Election on 10 October 1974 saw him remain at the helm with a three seat majority.

Wilson Videos Post Election 1974

Portuguese Leader Soares Meets Wilson (1974)

On 2 May 1974, Portuguese Socialist Leader, Mario Soares met the British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson.

SYND 2-5-74 PORTUGUESE SOCIALIST LEADER MEETS HAROLD WILSON: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

Dr Henry Kissinger At No 10 Downing Street (1974)

Watch footage of Dr Henry Kissinger arriving at Number 10 Downing Street in London, on 8 July 1974. 

Crowds wait to see him, and the Prime Minister shakes hands in Greeting.

HAROLD WILSON MEETS DR HENRY KISSINGER – COLOUR – NO SOUND: Uploaded to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by British Movietone


Wilson And Callaghan In Paris For Talks (1974)

On 19 Jul 1974, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and the British Foreign Secretary, James Callaghan, were filmed walking to talks at the Elysee Palace, In Paris.

SYND 19 7 74 BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, HAROLD WILSON, AND FOREIGN SECRETARY, JAMES CALLAGHAN, IN PARIS: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

Wilson Addresses TUC (1974)

On 5 September 1974, Harold Wilson addressed the TUC (Trades Union Congress).

SYND 5 9 74 WILSON ADDRESSES TUC: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

PM Harold Wilson Visits Leith, Edinburgh (1974)

On 5 Oct 1974, the British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, toured the Leith area of Edinburgh on an official visit.

Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive: SYND 5 10 74 HAROLD WILSON VISITS LEITH

Harold Wilson Arrives At 10 Downing Street (1974)

On 11th Oct 1974, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson arrived at 10 Downing Street, following his election victory on October 10th.

SYND 11 10 74 PRIME MINISTER HAROLD WILSON ARRIVES AT DOWNING STREET AFTER VICTORY: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Wilson Speaks About UK Joining The EEC (1974)

On 11 December 1974, the British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, spoke about the European Economic Community (EEC) and about the UK joining it.

SYND 11 12 74 WILSON INTERVIEW ON EEC: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

TV & Radio Address (1974)

On 14 Oct 1974,  Prime Minister Harold Wilson made a TV and radio address to the nation. This footage is an excerpt of the broadcast.

Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive: SYND 14 10 74 TV AND RADIO ADRESS BY WILSON

EC/EEC Referendum (1975)

In its February 1974 manifesto, Labour pledged to renegotiate the terms of British accession to the European Community (EC), and to hold a Referendum on whether Britain should stay in on the new terms.

The United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum was also known variously as the Referendum on the European Community (Common Market), the Common Market referendum, and the EEC membership referendum.

The referendum, held on 5th June 1975, resulted in a near two-to-one majority in favour of Britain remaining in the EC/EEC.


Wilson Meets D’Estaing In Paris (1974)

On 4th December 1974, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson met the French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in Paris.

SYND 4 12 74 HAROLD WILSON MEETS FRENCH PRESIDENT D’ESTAING IN PARIS: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

Wilson Videos 1975

Wilson Visits Gerald Ford At The White House (1975)

On 31 January 1975, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson was filmed leaving the White House with American President Gerald Ford, following their final meeting.

SYND 1 2 75 PRIME MINISTER WILSON VISITS US: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

Meeting Leonid Brezhnev in Moscow (1975)

On 13 Feb 1975, Harold Wilson met Leonid Brezhnev in Moscow.

The commentary is in Russian.

SYND 13 2 1975 HAROLD WILSON MEETS BREZHNEV: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

Wilson Speaks On Soviet TV During Trip (1975)

On 15th February 1975, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson spoke on Soviet television.

It was the third day of his visit to the USSR.

SYND 15 2 75 HAROLD WILSON SPEAKS ON SOVIET TELEVISION: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

USSR Trade Agreement (1975)

This is an interview with British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, recorded on 18 February 1975. It follows the signing of a trade agreement with the USSR.

SYND 18 2 75 HAROLD WILSON INTERVIEW ON TRADE AGREEMENT: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 AP Archive

Wilson Speech About May General Election (1975)

On 25 March 1975, Harold Wilson was at the start of an Election Campaign. Here he did a walkabout, and gave a speech about the forthcoming General Election on May 1st 1975.

SYND 25 3 75 WILSON WALKABOUT AND SPEECH ON MAY 1ST ELECTION: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Wilson Interview On State Of The UK (1975)

On 11 May 1975, Prime Minister Harold Wilson was interviewed on the state of the UK economy.

SYND 11 5 75 PRIME MINISTER INTERVIEW ON STATE OF BRITISH ECONOMY: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

“Doomed Britain” (1975)

On 7 May 1975, the British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, spoke at a press conference in Washington, D.C. He replied to press reports regarding the “Doomed Britain” remark.

It is, perhaps, worth noting that this minor issue seemed important enough at the time but was very quickly lost to common memory. 

Posted to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive: SYND 8 5 75 BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, HAROLD WILSON, AT PRESS CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON


Wilson Interview About EEC Membership Referendum (1975)

An interesting and revealing interview with the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, prior to the 1975 EEC membership referendum.

Harold Wilson on the run up to the 1975 European referendum : Uploaded to YouTube on 30 Jul 2019 by jazzaintmusic


EEC Referendum (1975)

On 6 Jun 1975, votes were counted following the Referendum on whether to stay in the EEC (European Economic Community) or not.

Prime Minister Harold Wilson makes a statement after hearing the results that the British electorate voted to stay in the EEC.

SYND 6 6 75 REFERENDUM RESULTS SHOW THAT PEOPLE HAVE DECIDED TO STAY IN THE EEC: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Wilson’s Speech About Inflation (1975)

On 30 Jun 1975,  Britain’s Prime Minister, Harold Wilson delivered a speech at public gathering, about measures to safeguard against inflation.

SYND 30 6 75 BRITAIN’S PRIME MINISTER, HAROLD WILSON DELIVERS SPEECH ABOUT ECONOMY: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Wilson On Measures To Combat Inflation (1975)

On 11 Jul 1975,  Harold Wilson was filmed speaking on anti inflation measures.

SYND 11 7 75 WILSON ON ANTI INFLATION: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


TV Appearance on Anti-Inflation Plans (1975)

On 20 Aug 1975, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson spoke on television about the government’s anti-inflation plans.

SYND 20 8 75 WILSON SPEAKS ON ANTI-INFLATION MEASURES: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


EEC Summit: North Sea Oil (1975)

On 3 Dec 1975, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson commented on the European Community Summit Conference, regarding North Sea Oil production.

SYND 3 12 75 HAROLD WILSON ON EEC SUMMIT: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

Why did Harold Wilson resign in 1976?

On 16 March 1976, Harold Wilson announced his resignation as Prime Minister. He left 10 Downing Street on 5 April 1976).

Why did Wilson resign in 1976? He claimed physical and mental exhaustion, and a longstanding plan to retire at 60. To cope with the stress, he’d started drinking brandy during the day. Wilson also suffered symptoms which were later diagnosed as colon cancer, and possibly recognised the first stages of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. 

Wilson’s Resignation In 1976 Videos


Wilson Hosts Monarch For Farewell Dinner (1976)

Harold Wilson was the longest-serving Prime Minister of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign when he retired from the post in 1976. Of the 22 years she had reigned, he had been PM for 8 of them.

On the evening of Tuesday, 23 March 1976, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, attended a dinner held by Mr and Mrs Wilson at Number 10 Downing Street.

SYND 23 3 76 QUEEN ELIZABETH II WAS THE GUEST FOR DINNER AT 10 DOWNING STREET: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive


Wilson Moves Out Of 10 Downing Street (1976)

On Monday 5 April 1976, Harold Wilson was filmed leaving Number 10 Downing Street. He had suddenly resigned as Prime Minister, and on the day his replacement was announced he moved out of the official premises. A crowd stood outside to cheer him as he left.

SYND 5 4 76 JAMES CALLAGHAN IS NEW PRIME MINISTER OF GREAT BRITAIN: Uploaded to YouTube on 24 Jul 2015 by AP Archive

64 year old James Callaghan was named as Britain’s new Prime minister following the final round of voting by members of the Labour Party. He won 176 votes, while the remaining challenger, the Employment Secretary Michael Foot, received 137 votes. 

After 31 years in parliament, with thirteen of them as Leader of the Labour Party, and eight as Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Harold Wilson resigns.

Posted to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by British Movietone: WILSON RESIGNS – COLOUR

Surprisingly jolly and upbeat music!

Wilson Resigns – 1976

Wilson Resigns – 1976 | Movietone Moments | 16 Mar 18: Uploaded to YouTube on 16 Mar 2018 by British Movietone

In 1976, the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson suddenly resigned.  Here is Movietone’s report on the event.  

After thirteen years as Leader of the Labour Party, eight of them as Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Harold Wilson resigns. He appears in Downing Street, and then at a press conference. 

Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s Shock Resignation (1976)

Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Jul 2015 by AP Archive: SYND 16 3 76 WILSON PRESS CONFERENCE RESIGNATION

British Prime Minister Harold Wilson suddenly resigned on 16 Mar 1976.  The surprise announcement shocked even members of his own Labour Party

Mr Wilson said that he felt it was time someone else had a chance to govern Britain.

This next video montage, set to music, shows iconic images of Harold Wilson during 1964 – 1970 and 1974 – 1976, when he served as the British Prime Minister.

It’s from the Television Production ‘Portraits’.

Posted to YouTube on 21 Jul 2015 by British Movietone:HAROLD WILSON – BRITISH PRIME MINISTER 1964 – 1970 and 1974 – 1976

Who was the prime minister after Wilson?

Harold Wilson resigned as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party in 1976 and was replaced by James Callaghan, who defeated five other candidates. Callaghan became the only Prime Minister to have held all three leading Cabinet positions—Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary—prior to becoming Prime Minister.

Friday Night, Saturday Morning (1976)

In addition to hosting a pilot episode of an interview/chat show programmes, Wilson hosted two editions of the BBC chat show Friday Night, Saturday Morning. Unfortunately, he didn’t show aptitude as a presenter.

However, he made two comedic appearances on the Morecambe and Wise Show, at Christmas 1978 and again in 1980. Also, in 1968 he played himself as Prime Minister in an Anglia Television drama, Inside Story.

Wilson Hosts Friday Night, Saturday Morning (1979)

Saturday 16 February 2013 was the 50th anniversary of Wilson’s election as Leader of the Labour Party. BBC Parliament devoted its Saturday evening to a series of programmes about Harold Wilson.

This part contains half of Wilson’s brief career as a chat show host. 

Harold Wilson Night part 4: Uploaded to YouTube on 29 May 2017 by David Boothroyd

In October 1979 Wilson was invited to host two editions of ‘Friday Night, Saturday Morning’. The series was broadcast live from the Greenwood Theatre, a part of Guy’s Hospital

Transmitted on 12 and 19 October, Wilson’s sympathetic biographer Ben Pimlott notes “he was not judged a success”. This is the second of the programmes. 

Wilson’s guests are Robin Day, Winston Spencer-Churchill (born 10 October 1940, died 2 March 2010, journalist turned Conservative politician and grandson of the famous Prime Minister), Mike Yarwood, and his wife Mary Wilson.

Backbenches In Parliament (1976 – 1983)

Wilson could have received the peerage customarily offered to retired Prime Ministers, and moved immediately to the House of Lords. But he wished to continue his work as an MP, so he received a Knight of the Garter and continued to represent his constituency in the House of Commons until 1983.

Zambian President: Wilson On Rhodesia (1978)

It was 9th September 1978.

Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda holds a news conference in Lusaka. 

Uploaded to YouTube on 24 Jul 2015 by AP Archive: SYND 9 9 78 PRESIDENT KAUANDA ON RHODESIAN OIL SANCTIONS

The previous weekend, Zambia shot down an Air Rhodesia Vickers Viscount aircraft. President Kaunda believes Rhodesia is now planning to attack his country in reprisal for this incident.

He said Zambia would hold Britain, as the colonial power, “entirely responsible” for any attack from Rhodesia. 

Kaunda also accused former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson of complicity with Rhodesia’s white minority in the 1965 unilateral declaration of independence, and of knowing later that British oil companies were breaking sanctions.

Harold Wilson In The House Of Lords (1983)

The constituency of Huyton was dissolved under 1983 boundary changes, so Wilson lost his seat in the House of Commons. Therefore he accepted a life peerage and transferred to the House of Lords as Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, a title chosen as a nod to his native Yorkshire.

Wilson’s final speech in the House of Lords in 1986 was to comments as an elder brother of Trinity House  during a debate on marine pilotage, (manoeuvring ships through dangerous or congested waters).

Harold Wilson attended the House of Lords for the final time on 27, April 1994. It was just over a year before his death.

Where And When did Harold Wilson die?

Harold Wilson died peacefully in his sleep around midnight on 24 May 1995, in London. He was 79 years old and suffering from both colon cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. His memorial service, attended by royalty and notable politicians including several Prime Ministers, took place at Westminster Abbey on 13 July 1995.

Where is Harold Wilson buried?

On 6 June 1995, Harold Wilson was buried at St Mary’s Old Church on St Mary’s Island, part of the Isles of Scilly. Harold and his wife Mary had spent many holidays in the area, first staying in B&B accommodation and then in their small bungalow.

His epitaph is Tempus Imperator Rerum, which means Time the Commander of Things.

This collection of film clips were compiled for his obituary. They include him signing the film agreement, announcing the end of clothes rationing, and political events:

Footage Analysing Wilson & His Political Career

Lady Falkender Interview (1984)

ThamesTv first broadcast this interview on 16 April 1984. 

Marcia Williams CBE was made a Labour peer and became Lady Falkender because of her work as political secretary and also head of the political office for British Prime Minister Harold Wilson in the 1960’s.

Lady Falkender interview | Labour Party | Harold Wilson | Talking Personally | 1984

Here she is interviewed by Judith Chalmers, OBE.

Channel 4 Secret History On Wilson (1996)

Discover more about the final days of Harold Wilson’s premiership in this episode of the popular Secret History TV series.

Secret History: Harold Wilson – The Final Days: Uploaded to YouTube on 23 Nov 2016 by David Boothroyd

Channel 4’s ‘Secret History’ series investigates the sudden resignation of Harold Wilson, and claims of involvement of various intelligence agencies with Wilson’s political life.

Made by 3BM Television and broadcast 15th August 1996. 

Preceded by a contemporary trailer for ‘The Politician’s Wife’.

BBC TV: Plot Against Wilson (2006)

Discover some of the challenges Harold Wilson faced in this documentary from 2006.

The Plot Against Harold Wilson, BBC 2006: Uploaded to YouTube on 18 Aug 2018 by Political Encyclopedia.

BBC Wilson Night, Part 1 (2013)

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Harold Wilson’s appointment as Leader of the Labour Party, in 2013 the BBC ran a series of programmes about the former Prime Minister’s life and legacy.

Harold Wilson Night part 1: Uploaded to YouTube on 29 May 2017 by David Boothroyd

On Saturday 16 February 2013, BBC Parliament devoted its Saturday evening to a series of programmes about Harold Wilson. It was the 50th anniversary of Wilson’s election as Leader of the Labour Party.

Included in this first part:

• Harold Wilson Night with Peter Snow. Peter Snow presents archive programmes and a discussion on the first TV prime minister.

• 5:10 Gallery: Labour Party Leader – Harold Wilson. Robert McKenzie interviews Harold Wilson after his election as Labour leader. Original tx 14.2.63.

• 19:08 Panorama. ‘The Road to Downing Street’ by John Morgan. A profile of Harold Wilson and Alec Douglas-Home on the election trail. Original tx 19.10.64.

• 48:53 Robin Wilson Interview. Duncan Smith meets Robin Wilson who recalls his life as the eldest son of Harold Wilson.

(A thirty second trail for ‘Chivalry and Betrayal: The Hundred Years War’ shown at 57:29 has been removed as the BBC claim copyright)

• 58:30 Election File 1966. Extracts from the BBC’s election night coverage from 1966, presented by Cliff Michelmore. Copyright music (‘We can work it out’ by the Beatles) removed from 1:03:55 – 1:04:16)

• 1:10:51 Prime Ministerial Broadcast – Devaluation of the Pound. Harold Wilson’s ministerial broadcast. Original tx 19.11.67.

Marking 50 years since Harold Wilson was elected as Leader of the Labour Party, in 2013 the BBC broadcast a number of programmes looking at his life and legacy.

In 2013, marking 50 years since Harold Wilson was elected as Leader of the Labour Party, the BBC broadcast a number of programmes about his life and legacy.

BBC Wilson Night, Part 2 (2013)

Harold Wilson Night part 2: Uploaded to YouTube on 29 May 2017 by David Boothroyd

On Saturday 16 February 2013, BBC Parliament devoted its Saturday evening to a series of programmes about Harold Wilson – on the 50th anniversary of Wilson’s election as Leader of the Labour Party.

Included in this second part:

• Election File 1970. A whistle-stop tour of the 1970 general election. Copyright music (‘Voodoo Chile’ by Jimi Hendrix) removed from 2:29 – 3:28 and replaced by another piece of music. If you recognise it, let me know, because no-one knows what it is.

• 9:10 24 Hours: Yesterday’s Men. Documentary looking at Wilson’s shadow cabinet in their first year of opposition. Original tx 16.6.71.

• 52:23 The Making of Yesterday’s Men. Interview with Angela Pope (producer) and David Dimbleby (presenter) of the documentary.

• 1:02:55 1975 European Referendum. Extract from the referendum results programme, featuring David Dimbleby. Original tx 6.6.75.

BBC Wilson Night, Part 3 (2013)

Harold Wilson Night part 3: Uploaded to YouTube on 29 May 2017 by David Boothroyd

On Saturday 16 February 2013, BBC Parliament devoted its Saturday evening to a series of programmes about Harold Wilson – on the 50th anniversary of Wilson’s election as Leader of the Labour Party.

In this third part:

• Conference ’75. Harold Wilson’s last speech in the ‘Parliamentary Report’ to the Labour Party Conference. Original tx 30.9.75.

• 31:02 Harold Wilson’s Resignation Interview. David Holmes interviews Harold Wilson following his shock resignation. Original tx 16.3.76.

• 45:00 David Holmes Interview. David Holmes looks back on his time as BBC political editor during the Wilson years.

• 53:08 Wilson’s World. Peter Snow debates Harold Wilson with Baroness Williams, Lord Donoughue and Lord Hurd.

Alan Johnson’s lecture in 2016 looked back at the legacy of British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who he saw as a reluctant European in his dealings with the EEC.

2016: Huddersfield Centenary Celebrations

A summary of the 2016 celebrations which took place to mark 100 years since the birth of Harold Wilson in Huddersfield.

Harold Wilson Centenary Day 2016: Uploaded to YouTube on 17 Mar 2016 by Uni of Huddersfield Research News

Alan Johnson On The Legacy Of Wilson (2016)

Labour MP Alan Johnson on the legacy of Harold Wilson: Uploaded to YouTube on 15 Mar 2016 by Uni of Huddersfield Research News

Harold Wilson’s Centenary Day at the University of Huddersfield closed with the 2016 edition of the annual Harold Wilson Lecture.

It was given by the leading contemporary Labour politician Alan Johnson MP, a former Home Secretary who is also a critically-acclaimed author.  

His lecture was entitled Harold Wilson – The Reluctant European.  In this video he talks about the legacy of Harold Wilson.

What did the Queen think of Wilson?

Queen Elizabeth II has worked with many British Prime Ministers over the years. What did she think of Harold Wilson back in the 1960s and 1970s?

At Her Majesty’s Service: The Queen’s favourite (and least favourite) Prime Ministers: Uploaded to YouTube on 30 Sep 2013 by The Royal Family Channel

This report by Louise Hulland examines Queen Elizabeth II’s relationship with the key Prime Ministers with whom she has worked over many decades.