England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom, described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists. The party's platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and strengthening workers' rights; the Labour Party was founded in 1900, having grown out of the trade union movement and socialist parties of the nineteenth century. It overtook the Liberal Party to become the main opposition to the Conservative Party in the early 1920s, forming two minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in the 1920s and early 1930s. Labour served in the wartime coalition of 1940-1945, after which Clement Attlee's Labour government established the National Health Service and expanded the welfare state from 1945 to 1951. Under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, Labour again governed from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1979. In the 1990s Tony Blair took Labour closer to the centre as part of his "New Labour" project, which governed the UK under Blair and Gordon Brown from 1997 to 2010.
After Corbyn took over in 2015, the party has moved leftward. Labour is the Official Opposition in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, having won the second-largest number of seats in the 2017 general election; the Labour Party is the largest party in the Welsh Assembly, forming the main party in the current Welsh government. The party is the third largest in the Scottish Parliament. Labour is a member of the Party of European Socialists and Progressive Alliance, holds observer status in the Socialist International, sits with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament; the party includes semi-autonomous Scottish and Welsh branches and supports the Social Democratic and Labour Party in Northern Ireland. As of 2017, Labour had the largest membership of any party in Western Europe; the Labour Party originated in the late 19th century, meeting the demand for a new political party to represent the interests and needs of the urban working class, a demographic which had increased in number, many of whom only gained suffrage with the passage of the Representation of the People Act 1884.
Some members of the trades union movement became interested in moving into the political field, after further extensions of the voting franchise in 1867 and 1885, the Liberal Party endorsed some trade-union sponsored candidates. The first Lib–Lab candidate to stand was George Odger in the Southwark by-election of 1870. In addition, several small socialist groups had formed around this time, with the intention of linking the movement to political policies. Among these were the Independent Labour Party, the intellectual and middle-class Fabian Society, the Marxist Social Democratic Federation and the Scottish Labour Party. At the 1895 general election, the Independent Labour Party put up 28 candidates but won only 44,325 votes. Keir Hardie, the leader of the party, believed that to obtain success in parliamentary elections, it would be necessary to join with other left-wing groups. Hardie's roots as a lay preacher contributed to an ethos in the party which led to the comment by 1950s General Secretary Morgan Phillips that "Socialism in Britain owed more to Methodism than Marx".
In 1899, a Doncaster member of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, Thomas R. Steels, proposed in his union branch that the Trade Union Congress call a special conference to bring together all left-wing organisations and form them into a single body that would sponsor Parliamentary candidates; the motion was passed at all stages by the TUC, the proposed conference was held at the Memorial Hall on Farringdon Street on 26 and 27 February 1900. The meeting was attended by a broad spectrum of working-class and left-wing organisations—trades unions represented about one third of the membership of the TUC delegates. After a debate, the 129 delegates passed Hardie's motion to establish "a distinct Labour group in Parliament, who shall have their own whips, agree upon their policy, which must embrace a readiness to cooperate with any party which for the time being may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interests of labour." This created an association called the Labour Representation Committee, meant to co-ordinate attempts to support MPs sponsored by trade unions and represent the working-class population.
It had no single leader, in the absence of one, the Independent Labour Party nominee Ramsay MacDonald was elected as Secretary. He had the difficult task of keeping the various strands of opinions in the LRC united; the October 1900 "Khaki election" came too soon for the new party to campaign effectively. Only 15 candidatures were sponsored. Support for the LRC was boosted by the 1901 Taff Vale Case, a dispute between strikers and a railway company that ended with the union being ordered to pay £23,000 damages for a strike; the judgement made strikes illegal since employers could recoup the cost of lost business from the unions. The apparent acquiescence of the Conservative Government of Arthur Balfour to industrial and business interests intensified support for the LRC against a government that appeared to have little concern for the industrial proletariat and its problems. In the 1906 election, the LRC won 29 seats—helped by a secret 1903 pact between Ramsay MacDonald and Liberal Chief Whip Herbert Gladstone that aimed to avoid splitting the opposition vote between Labour and Liberal candidates in the interest of removing the Conservatives from office.
In their first meeting after the election the group's Members of Parliament decided to adop
The Birmingham–Peterborough line is a cross-country railway line in the United Kingdom, linking Birmingham and Peterborough, via Nuneaton and Oakham. Since the Beeching Axe railway closures in the 1960s, it is the only direct railway link between the West Midlands and the East of England; the line is important for cross-country passenger services, East of Peterborough, the route gives access from the Midlands to various locations in the east of England, such as Ely and Stansted Airport via the West Anglia lines. It is strategically important for freight, as it allows container trains from the Port of Felixstowe to travel to the Midlands and beyond; the present route is an amalgamation of lines. The sections were: The route from Birmingham to Whitacre Junction was built for the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway in 1840, which became part of the Midland Railway; the line from Whitacre junction to Nuneaton was built by the Midland Railway, opened in 1864. The line between Nuneaton and Wigston was built by the South Leicestershire Railway and was completed in 1864.
The South Leicestershire Railway was taken over by the London and North Western Railway in 1867. The section between Wigston and Syston via Leicester was built for the Midland Counties Railway in 1840, it is now part of the Midland Main Line. The eastern section, the Syston and Peterborough Railway, was built for the Midland Railway and opened in 1846; the entire route became part of the London and Scottish Railway in the 1923 grouping, the LMS was nationalised on 1 January 1948 as part of British Railways. Most Birmingham-Leicester passenger trains were taken over by diesel units from 14 April 1958, taking about 79 minutes between the two cities. In 1977 the Parliamentary Select Committee on Nationalised Industries recommended considering electrification of more of Britain's rail network. By 1979 BR presented a range of options to do so by 2000, some of which included the Birmingham to Peterborough Line. Under the 1979–90 Conservative governments that succeeded the 1976–79 Labour government, the proposal was not implemented.
The route is now part of Network Rail. In the 1980s, local services were worked by Class 105 Diesel Multiple Units and long-distance services, such as those between Birmingham New Street and Norwich, were operated by formations of Class 31 locomotives with rakes of four Mark 1 carriages. From 1986 the first Sprinter trains operated on the line, Class 150s, subsequently replaced by Class 156 SuperSprinter units from 1988. From this time, the service operated hourly between Birmingham New Street and Ely with alternate services continuing to Cambridge or Norwich. Central Trains operated the route from privatisation, for operational convenience combined services on the route either side of Birmingham New Street, which created through services such as Aberystwyth and Chester to Cambridge and Stansted Airport and Liverpool Lime Street to Stansted Airport, although these were subsequently cut back - services to Aberystwyth ceased in 2001, although a few services continued to terminate at Shrewsbury until 2004, whilst Liverpool was removed in 2003 to improve performance.
The service in 2016 consists of two trains per hour between Birmingham and Leicester, one of the two calling at limited stops to Leicester and continuing to Stansted Airport via Peterborough and Cambridge, operated by CrossCountry. East Midlands Trains operates a handful of services along the section between Syston and Peterborough as part of its London London St Pancras service via Corby. In addition, there are a few services between Nottingham and Norwich operated by EMT which serve Stamford. Cross Country services are worked by Class 170 Turbostar units, while EMT use Class 158 Express Sprinter trains on services to Norwich and Class 222 Meridian trains for London services. In addition, EMT operate an evening Spalding to Nottingham service, worked by a Class 153 SuperSprinter. Freight trains use the route between the West Midlands and the East Anglia container trains to the Port of Felixstowe and sand trains to King's Lynn; this is a large project with a number of elements that will allow more railfreight traffic between the Haven ports and the Midlands.
The work was prompted by the'Felixstowe South' expansion at the Port of Felixstowe. It is in response to the predicted increase in the number of high-cube shipping containers arriving at the ports that cannot be accommodated on the route; the percentage of high-cube containers is expected to increase from 30% in 2007 to 50% in 2012. Without loading gauge enhancement these larger containers would have to be transported by road or via a longer rail route via London, operating at capacity. Network Rail completed the gauge enhancement from Ipswich to Peterborough in 2008. Work will take place in three phases: Phase 1 Nuneaton North Chord Peterborough to Nuneaton Gauge Phase 2aDualling 8 km of the Felixstowe Branch Line Dualling the Ipswich to Ely Line between Soham Junction and Ely Removing speed restrictions for freight trains between Ipswich and Peterborough Phase 2b Capacity enhancement Peterborough to Nuneaton during CP5The work, detailed in the Network Rail Freight Route Utilisation Strategy, should be completed by 2014.
At an estimated cost of £291 million. The government is providing £80 million and it will receive £5 million from Network Rail and £1 million from the East of England Development Agency, it has been estimated. In February 2010 Network Rail confirmed t
In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government, they are a territorial designation, the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or their combined form, the unitary authority. Civil parishes can trace their origin to the ancient system of ecclesiastical parishes which played a role in both civil and ecclesiastical administration; the unit rolled out across England in the 1860s. A civil parish can range in size from a large town with a population of about 75,000 to a single village with fewer than a hundred inhabitants. Eight parishes have city status. A civil parish may be known as and confirmed as a town, neighbourhood or community by resolution of its parish council, a right reserved not conferred on other units of English local government. 35% of the English population live in a civil parish. As of 31 December 2015 there were 10,449 parishes in England; the most populous is Weston super Mare and those with cathedral city status are Chichester, Hereford, Ripon, Salisbury and Wells.
On 1 April 2014, Queen's Park became the first civil parish in Greater London. Before 2008 their creation was not permitted within a London borough. Wales was divided into civil parishes until 1974, when they were replaced by communities, which are similar to English parishes in the way they operate. Civil parishes in Scotland were abolished for local government purposes by the Local Government Act 1929, the Scottish equivalent of English civil parishes are community council areas, which were established by the Local Government Act 1973; the Parish system in Europe was established between the 8th and 12th centuries and in England was old by the time of the Conquest. These areas were based on the territory of one or more manors, areas which in some cases derived their bounds from Roman or Iron Age estates. Parish boundaries were conservative, changing little, after 1180'froze' so that boundaries could no longer be changed at all, despite changes to manorial landholdings - though there were some examples of sub-division.
The consistency of these boundaries, up until the 19th century is useful to historians, is of cultural significance in terms of shaping local identities, a factor reinforced by the adoption of parish boundaries unchanged, by successor local government units. There was huge variation in size between parishes, for instance Writtle in Essex was 13,568 acres while neighbouring Shellow Bowells was just 469 acres, Chignall Smealy 476 acres; until the break with Rome, parishes managed ecclesiastical matters, while the manor was the principal unit of local administration and justice. The church replaced the manor court as the rural administrative centre, levied a local tax on produce known as a tithe. In the medieval period, responsibilities such as relief of the poor passed from the Lord of the Manor to the parish's rector, who in practice would delegate tasks among his vestry or the monasteries. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the power to levy a rate to fund relief of the poor was conferred on the parish authorities by the Act for the Relief of the Poor 1601.
Both before and after this optional social change, local charities are well-documented. The parish authorities were consisted of all the ratepayers of the parish; as the number of ratepayers of some parishes grew, it became difficult to convene meetings as an open vestry. In some built up, areas the select vestry took over responsibility from the entire body of ratepayers; this innovation allowed governance by a self-perpetuating elite. The administration of the parish system relied on the monopoly of the established English Church, which for a few years after Henry VIII alternated between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, before settling on the latter on the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558. By the 18th century, religious membership was becoming more fractured in some places, due for instance to the progress of Methodism; the legitimacy of the parish vestry came into question and the perceived inefficiency and corruption inherent in the system became a source for concern in some places.
For this reason, during the early 19th century the parish progressively lost its powers to ad hoc boards and other organisations, for example the loss of responsibility for poor relief through the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834. Sanitary districts covered England in Ireland three years later; the replacement boards were each entitled to levy their own rate in the parish. The church rate ceased to be levied in many parishes and became voluntary from 1868; the ancient parishes diverged into two distinct, nearly overlapping, systems of parishes during the 19th century. The Poor Law Amendment Act 1866 declared all areas that levied a separate rate: C of E ecclesiastical parishes, extra-parochial areas and their analogue, chapelries, to be "civil parishes". To have collected rates this means these beforehand had their own vestries, boards or equivalent bodies; the Church of England parishes, which cover more than 99% of England, became termed "ecclesiastical parishes" and the boundaries of these soon diverged from those of the Ancient Parishes in order to reflect modern circumstances.
After 1921 each ecclesiastical parish has been the responsibility of the parochial church councils. In the late 19th century, most of the ancient irregularities inheri
Warwickshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. The county town is Warwick; the county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. The county is divided into five districts of North Warwickshire and Bedworth, Rugby and Stratford-on-Avon; the current county boundaries were set in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972. The historic county boundaries include Solihull, as well as much of Birmingham; the county is bordered by Leicestershire to the northeast, Staffordshire to the northwest and the West Midlands to the west, Northamptonshire to the east and southeast, Gloucestershire to the southwest and Oxfordshire to the south. The northern tip of the county is only 3 miles from the Derbyshire border. An average-sized English county covering an area of 2,000 km2, it runs some 60 miles north to south. Equivalently it extends as far north as Shrewsbury in Shropshire and as far south as Banbury in north Oxfordshire; the majority of Warwickshire's population live in the centre of the county.
The market towns of northern and eastern Warwickshire were industrialised in the 19th century, include Atherstone, Bedworth and Rugby. Of these, Atherstone has retained most of its original character. Major industries included coal mining, textiles and cement production, but heavy industry is in decline, being replaced by distribution centres, light to medium industry and services. Of the northern and eastern towns, only Nuneaton and Rugby are well known outside of Warwickshire; the prosperous towns of central and western Warwickshire including Royal Leamington Spa, Stratford-upon-Avon, Alcester and Wellesbourne harbour light to medium industries and tourism as major employment sectors. The north of the county, bordering Staffordshire and Leicestershire, is mildly undulating countryside and the northernmost village, No Man's Heath, is only 34 miles south of the Peak District National Park's southernmost point; the south of the county is rural and sparsely populated, includes a small area of the Cotswolds, at the border with northeast Gloucestershire.
The plain between the outlying Cotswolds and the Edgehill escarpment is known as the Vale of Red Horse. The only town in the south of Warwickshire is Shipston-on-Stour; the highest point in the county, at 261 m, is Ebrington Hill, again on the border with Gloucestershire, grid reference SP187426 at the county's southwest extremity. There are no cities in Warwickshire since both Coventry and Birmingham were incorporated into the West Midlands county in 1974 and are now metropolitan authorities in themselves; the largest towns in Warwickshire in 2011 were: Nuneaton, Leamington Spa, Warwick and Kenilworth. Much of western Warwickshire, including that area now forming part of Coventry and Birmingham, was covered by the ancient Forest of Arden, thus the names of a number of places in the central-western part of Warwickshire end with the phrase "-in-Arden", such as Henley-in-Arden, Hampton-in-Arden and Tanworth-in-Arden. The remaining area, not part of the forest, was called the Felden – from fielden.
Areas part of Warwickshire include Coventry, Sutton Coldfield and some of Birmingham including Aston and Edgbaston. These became part of the metropolitan county of West Midlands following local government re-organisation in 1974. In 1986 the West Midlands County Council was abolished and Birmingham and Solihull became effective unitary authorities, however the West Midlands county name has not been altogether abolished, still exists for ceremonial purposes, so the town and two cities remain outside Warwickshire; some organisations, such as Warwickshire County Cricket Club, based in Edgbaston, in Birmingham, still observe the historic county boundaries. The flag of the historic county was registered in October 2016, it is a design of a bear and ragged staff on a red field, long associated with the county. Coventry is in the centre of the Warwickshire area, still has strong ties with the county. Coventry and Warwickshire are sometimes treated as a single area and share a single Chamber of Commerce and BBC Local Radio Station.
Coventry has been a part of Warwickshire for only some of its history. In 1451 Coventry was separated from Warwickshire and made a county corporate in its own right, called the County of the City of Coventry. In 1842 the county of Coventry was abolished and Coventry was remerged with Warwickshire. In recent times, there have been calls to formally re-introduce Coventry into Warwickshire, although nothing has yet come of this; the county's population would increase by a third-of-a-million overnight should this occur, Coventry being the UK's 11th largest city. The town of Tamworth was divided between Warwickshire and Staffordshire, but since 1888 has been in Staffordshire. In 1931, Warwickshire gained the town of Shipston-on-Stour from Worcestershire and several villages, including Long Marston and Welford-on-Avon, from Gloucestershire. Warwickshire contains a large expanse of green belt area, surrounding the West Midlands and Coventry conurbations, was first drawn up from the 1950s. All the county's districts contain some portion of the belt.
The following towns and villages in Warwickshire have populations of over 5,000. Warwickshire came into being as a divisio
River Bourne, Warwickshire
The River Bourne flows for 10.9 miles through North Warwickshire, is a tributary of the River Tame. In the 19th century, the river with its undeveloped catchment close to Birmingham, was selected to provide a source of clean drinking water for the city; the river rises between Ansley Common and Birchley Heath, to the south west of Atherstone where it is shown as the Bourne brook. It flows in a south-westerly direction past Church End to Ansley Mill where it is forded by a minor road, it continues in the same direction passing between New and Old Arley to join the Didgley brook which drains the area around Fillongley. Downstream of this confluence, the brook becomes the River Bourne; the river continues to Furnace End, where it is joined by the Whitacre Brook, turns to flow in a westerly direction alongside Shustoke reservoir, beyond which it joins the River Tame downstream of the River Blythe confluence. The drainage basin for the Bourne lies between that of the River Blythe to the south and west, with the River Anker to the north and east, it has a catchment area of 47 square kilometres.
Raw water is taken from the river for storage in the Shustoke reservoirs. The main reservoir is used to supply drinking water to various parts of Warwickshire, including Atherstone and Bedworth; the various streams in the River Bourne catchment have all been classed at the lower end of the scale in terms of ecological quality under the Water Framework Directive. The upper Bourne has been ranked as bad, Didgley brook as moderate and the lower Bourne as poor; the five part framework scale, ranges from high and moderate, through to poor and bad
Alfred Robens, Baron Robens of Woldingham
Alfred Robens, Baron Robens of Woldingham, PC, sometimes known as Alf Robens, was an English trade unionist, Labour politician and industrialist. His political ambitions, including an aspiration to become Prime Minister, were frustrated by bad timing, his outlook was paternalistic, but in life, he moved away from his early socialism towards the Conservative Party. His reputation remains tarnished by his failure to have foreseen and prevented the Aberfan disaster, followed by actions regarded as insensitive during this disaster's aftermath. Robens was born in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, the son of George Robens, a cotton salesman and Edith Robens, he left school aged 15 to work as an errand boy, but his career began when he joined the Manchester and Salford Co-operative Society as a clerk. He was an official in the Union of Distributive and Allied Workers from 1935 to 1945, he married Eva Powell on 9 September 1936. Following the war, in the dramatic Labour landslide victory of 1945, Robens was elected Member of Parliament for the mining constituency of Wansbeck in Northumberland.
He started on a sustained rise through the parliamentary ranks, serving in junior posts at the Ministry of Transport and at the Ministry of Fuel and Power under Hugh Gaitskell. In 1950, following boundary changes, Robens moved to the new constituency of Blyth Blyth Valley, he was Minister of Labour and National Service in 1951, but the Conservative Party won the general election that year. In opposition, Robens continued to rise in the party, being appointed Shadow Foreign Secretary by Clement Attlee while Aneurin Bevan was indisposed, he began to be considered as a future candidate for party leader. Robens himself "yearned to become Prime Minister". However, he failed to impress during the Suez Crisis of 1956 because he had been briefed in confidence by the Conservative Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, on the night before the invasion. Furthermore, party leader Gaitskell felt him too left-wing, he was replaced as Shadow Foreign Secretary by Bevan, felt that his political ambitions had been frustrated.
Thus, when Harold Macmillan offered Robens the chairmanship of the National Coal Board in 1960, he accepted enthusiastically. Gaitskell died in January 1963. Geoffrey Tweedale, writing in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, has expressed the view that, had Robens persisted in politics, he, rather than Harold Wilson, would have become Prime Minister. Indeed, George Brown stated in his autobiography that had Robens been in Parliament he himself would not have opposed him, if he had, Robens would have defeated him. Robens took up his appointment at the NCB in 1961 at a salary believed to be £10,000 a year and was created a life peer as Baron Robens of Woldingham, of Woldingham in the County of Surrey, on 28 June. Amongst those critical of this sudden elevation were his successor as MP for Blyth, Eddie Milne. Robens' leadership of the NCB was high-handed, he expected unflinching loyalty from colleagues and subordinates alike, was confrontational with politicians. He enjoyed the trappings of power including a Daimler with the vehicle registration number "NCB 1", an executive aeroplane and a flat in Eaton Square.
His behaviour earned him a pun on Old King Cole. However, he threw himself into the job with vigour and enthusiasm, visiting pits, arguing with miners at the coalface and developing a deep knowledge of the industry. In 1963 he was invited to deliver the MacMillan Memorial Lecture to the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, he chose the subject "Coal - Its Place in the National Economy". As Chairman of the NCB, Robens oversaw substantial cuts in the mining industry, many of them reflecting market forces and government policies originated before he assumed the post. Although he lobbied to protect the industry, his reputation as a socialist suffered—when he took over as NCB chair there were 698 pits employing 583,000 miners, but by the time he left the post ten years there were only 292 pits employing 283,000 miners. For a while Robens had a constructive working relationship with miners' leader Will Paynter, but he had a combative relationship with the Wilson Labour government.
Industrial relations deteriorated during his tenure, there was an unofficial strike in 1969 that lost £15 million and 2.5 million tonnes of coal as a result of a walkout by 140 of the 307 NCB collieries. Robens expressed concern at the poor health and safety record of the coal industry, championed campaigns to reduce accidents and to counter chronic occupational diseases such as pneumoconiosis. Although the number of fatal and serious accidents fell by over 60% during his tenure, there was a fall in the workforce of over 50%, from 583,000 to 283,000; the largest single blow to his reputation came from his reaction to the catastrophic 1966 industrial ac