Centenary of the birth of Harold Wilson (1916 – 1995)


Speech delivered by Harold Wilson to the Trades Union Congress, 1964

Today (11th March) marks 100 years since the birth of Labour leader and Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Wilson served two terms as Prime Minister, from 1964-1970 and 1974-1976.

Economic and trade union policy were significant issues during both these periods and as a result the TUC Library contains a great deal of material relating to Harold Wilson. He delivered a number of speeches to trade unions and at the annual Trades Union Congress (such as the 1964 TUC, above). The TUC Library also holds an extensive archive of Labour Party publications from Wilson’s period as leader.

Wilson was Prime Minister during the last referendum on continued membership of the European Economic Community (later the EU) in 1975. Following renegotiations with Europe, Wilson’s Government were split on the issue but a majority of the Cabinet advocated that Britian should vote to remain within the Common Market (see below).

Leaflet produced by the Government, advocating a vote to remain in the EEC, 1975.

After leaving office Wilson chaired the Committee to Review the Functioning of Financial Institutions from 1977-1980. The Committee had a particular interest in the level of investment being provided to industry and manufacturing by the major banks and financial institutions. The TUC’s General Secretary, Lionel Murray, served as a member of the Committee and the TUC submitted various reports and evidence. These can be found in the TUC Library (see below).

TUC evidence to the Committee, 1979

The libray also holds a number of books and biographies of Wilson and histories of the Labour Party. Below you can see a copy of the programme of Harold Wilson’s memorial service in 1995 following his death.

Service of Thanksgiving, July 1995

For more information about what the TUC Library contains, or to arrange an appointment to visit, get in touch at tuclib@londonmet.ac.uk or 020 7133 3726.



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