Harriet Ruth Harman is a British solicitor and Labour Party politician who has served as a Member of Parliament since 1982, first for Peckham, for its successor constituency of Camberwell and Peckham since 1997. She has served in various Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet positions and, in her role as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, she has served as the Acting Leader of the Labour Party twice and Leader of the Opposition: from May to September 2010 and from May to September 2015. Born in London, she attended St Paul's Girls' School and obtained a BA in Politics from Goodricke College, University of York, she qualified as a solicitor and worked for Brent Law Centre from 1978 to 1982, when she was elected MP for Peckham in a by-election following the death of sitting Labour MP Harry Lamborn. She served as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury and as Shadow Employment Secretary, Shadow Health Secretary and Shadow Social Security Secretary. Tony Blair appointed her as Secretary of State for Social Security and the first Minister for Women, serving until 1998.
In 2001, she was appointed Solicitor General for England and Wales, serving until 2005 when she became Minister of State for Constitutional Affairs. Harman ran in the deputy leadership election and defeated five other candidates winning over Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson by 50.43% to 49.56%. Gordon Brown, elected as party leader, appointed Harman Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal, Minister for Women and Equality and Chairman of the Labour Party; however she was not appointed Deputy Prime Minister. She held all of these government positions. Upon defeat, Brown resigned as party leader and Harman became Acting Leader and Leader of the Opposition until Ed Miliband was elected leader, she subsequently served as Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, combining the position with that of Shadow Secretary of State for International Development and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture and Sport. After Labour's defeat at the 2015 general election, Miliband resigned as Leader of the Labour Party and Harman once again became Acting Leader and Leader of the Opposition.
She announced that she would resign as Deputy Leader, prompting a concurrent deputy leadership election. Harman holds the record as the longest-ever continuously-serving female MP in the House of Commons. On 13 June 2017, she was dubbed "Mother of the House" by Prime Minister Theresa May, she is married to former trade union leader Jack Dromey, who became Treasurer of the Labour Party in 2004 and MP for Birmingham Erdington in 2010. They have a daughter, she was born Harriet Ruth Harman at 108 Harley Street in London, a daughter of John Bishop Harman, a Harley Street physician and his wife Anna née Spicer, a solicitor. Anna Harman was the Liberal Party candidate for Hertford in the 1964 General Election, her parents each had non-conformist backgrounds – her paternal grandfather Nathaniel Bishop Harman, an ophthalmic surgeon, was a prominent Unitarian and the Spicer family were well known Congregationalists. Her paternal aunt was Elizabeth Pakenham, Countess of Longford, her cousins include the writers Lady Antonia Fraser, Rachel Billington, Thomas Pakenham.
Harman is a great-great niece of the Liberal statesman Joseph Chamberlain and is related to Richard Chamberlain, MP. Harman attended St Paul's Girls' School and gained a 2:1 BA in Politics from the University of York. During her time at York, she was a member of Goodricke College and was involved with student politics. After York, Harman went on to qualify as a solicitor. Harman worked for Brent Law Centre in London. Between 1978 and 1982, Harman was employed as a legal officer for the National Council for Civil Liberties. In this capacity, just before becoming MP for Peckham in a by-election in 1982, she was found in contempt of court. Harman subsequently took the case to the European Court of Human Rights arguing that the prosecution had breached her right to freedom of expression. Harman v United Kingdom is still considered a significant case in British public law. Harman was involved in a European Court of Human Rights case against MI5. During a 1984 television interview by Cathy Massiter, it was revealed personal files were held by MI5 on Harman and on the General Secretary of the NCCL, Patricia Hewitt.
They argued that there had been an infringement of their rights because MI5 was not a constituted and democratically accountable organisation, this being the minimum standard in democracy. The success of the case led to enactment of the Security Service Act 1989. Harry Lamborn, the Labour MP for Peckham, died on 21 August 1982. In the subsequent by-election held on 28 October 1982, Harman was elected to succeed Lamborn with 11,349 votes, a majority of 3,931 over Social Democratic candidate Dick Taverne, a former Labour MP for Lincoln; the Conservative Party candidate was John Redwood, who came third, went on to be elected MP for Wokingham in 1987. In 1984, Harman became a Shadow Social Services minister and served as a Shadow Health minister in 1987. After the 1992 general election she entered the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury and served as Shadow Employment Secretary, Shadow Health Secretary and Shadow Social Security Secretary. After Labour's victory in the 1997 general election, she became Secretary of State for Social Security and the first Minister for Women.
She was given the task of reforming the Welfare State. During this time, her more notable policies in
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
1950 United Kingdom general election
The 1950 United Kingdom general election was the first general election to be held after a full term of Labour government. The election was held on Thursday 23 February 1950. Despite polling over 700,000 votes more than the Conservatives, receiving more votes than they had during the 1945 general election, Labour obtained a slim majority of just five seats—a stark contrast to 1945, when they had achieved a comfortable 146-seat majority. There was a national swing towards the Conservatives, whose performance in terms of popular vote was better than in 1945. Labour called another general election in 1951. Turnout increased to the highest turnout in a UK general election under universal suffrage, it was the first general election to be covered on television, although the footage was not recorded. Richard Dimbleby anchored for the BBC Television coverage of the election, which he would do again for the 1951, 1955, 1959 and the 1964 general elections. On this occasion, Dimbleby was joined in the BBC Lime Grove Studios by R. B.
McCallum, Fellow of Pembroke College and author of The British General Election of 1945 and David Butler, research student of Nuffield College. The first election night programme ran from 10:45 pm until just after 1:00 am. Significant changes since the 1945 general election included the abolition of plural voting by the Representation of the People Act 1948, a major reorganisation of constituencies by the House of Commons Act 1949. Eleven new English seats were created and six were abolished, there were over 170 major alterations to constituencies across the country. Both the Conservative and Labour parties entered the campaign positively; the Conservatives, having recovered from their landslide election defeat in 1945, accepted most of the nationalisation that had taken place under the Attlee government, which included the NHS and the mixed economy. The campaign focused on the possible future nationalisation of other sectors and industries, supported by the Labour Party, opposed by the Conservatives.
The Liberals viewed the struggle between the two parties on this issue as a class struggle. The Liberal Party fielded 475 candidates, more than at any general election since 1929. Liberal Party leader Clement Davies felt that the party had been at a disadvantage at the 1945 general election when they ran fewer candidates than needed to form a government. Davies arranged for the cost of running extra candidates to be offset by the party taking out insurance with Lloyd's of London against more than fifty candidates losing their deposits. In the event, the strategy only succeeded in causing a marginal increase in the overall Liberal vote over the previous election. A total of 319 Liberal candidates lost their deposits, a record number until 2015, when candidates for the Liberal Democrats lost 335 deposits at the general election held in that year; the Labour Party won an overall majority of 5 seats, down from 146 in the previous election. Prominent personalities entering Parliament in this election included Edward Heath, Enoch Powell, Reginald Maudling and Iain Macleod.
MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1950 United Kingdom election results—summary results 1885–1979 This is the Road: The Conservative and Unionist Party's Policy, 1950 Conservative Party manifesto Let Us Win Through Together: A Declaration of Labour Policy for the Consideration of the Nation, 1950 Labour Party manifesto No Easy Way: Britain's Problems and the Liberal Answers, 1950 Liberal Party manifesto
1935 United Kingdom general election
The 1935 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 14 November 1935 and resulted in a large, albeit reduced, majority for the National Government now led by Stanley Baldwin of the Conservative Party. The greatest number of members, as before, were Conservatives, while the National Liberal vote held steady; the National Labour vote held steady, but the resurgence in the main Labour vote caused over a third of their MPs, including party leader Ramsay MacDonald, to lose their seats. Labour, under what was regarded internally as the caretaker leadership of Clement Attlee following the resignation of George Lansbury over a month before the election, made large gains over their poor showing at the 1931 general election, registered their highest-ever share of the vote up until this point; the party made a net gain of more than one-hundred seats, thus reversing much of the ground that it had lost in 1931. The Liberals continued their slow political collapse and lost further ground, with their leader, Sir Herbert Samuel, losing his own seat.
The Independent Labour Party stood separately from Labour for the first time since 1895, having stood candidates unendorsed by Labour at the 1931 general election and having disaffiliated from Labour in 1932. The Scottish National Party contested their first general election, the Communist Party gained the West Fife seat, their first in ten years; the major election issues were the continuing unemployment problems and the role of the League of Nations as regarding the Empire of Japan. No general elections were held during the Second World War; as a result, this Parliament would see two leadership changes. Neville Chamberlain took over from Baldwin as Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party in 1937. Chamberlain in turn resigned in 1940, when the office of Prime Minister passed to Winston Churchill, who linked the three main parties in the House of Commons in an all-party unity government for the duration of the war. All comparisons are with the 1931 election. In some cases the change is due to the MP defecting to the gaining party.
Such circumstances are marked with a *. In other circumstances the change is due to the seat having been won by the gaining party in a by-election in the intervening years, retained in 1935; such circumstances are marked with a †. These are available on the Political Science Resources Elections Database, a link to, given below. MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1935 Craig, F. W. S. British Electoral Facts: 1832–1987, Dartmouth: Gower, ISBN 0900178302 Fry, Geoffrey K. "A Reconsideration of the British General Election of 1935 and the Electoral Revolution of 1945", History, 76: 43–55 Stannage, Baldwin Thwarts the Opposition: The British General Election of 1935 1935 Conservative manifesto 1935 Labour manifesto 1935 Liberal manifesto
Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
Lady Margaret Hall is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England, located on the banks of the River Cherwell at Norham Gardens in north Oxford and adjacent to the University Parks. The college is more formally known under its current royal charter as "The Principal and Fellows of the College of the Lady Margaret in the University of Oxford"; the college was founded in 1878 collaborating with Somerville College. Both colleges opened their doors in 1879 as the first two women's colleges of Oxford; the college began admitting men in 1979. The college has just under 400 undergraduate students, around 200 postgraduate students and 24 visiting students. In 2016, the college became the only college in Oxford or Cambridge to offer a Foundation Year for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. In 2018, Lady Margaret Hall ranked 21st out of 30 in Oxford's Norrington Table, a measurement of the performance of students in finals; the college's colours are blue and white. The college uses a coat of arms which accompanies the college's motto "Souvent me Souviens", an Old French phrase meaning "I remember" or "Think of me often", the motto of Lady Margaret Beaufort, for whom the college is named.
The current principal of the college is Alan Rusbridger. Notable students of Lady Margaret Hall include Benazir Bhutto, Michael Gove, Nigella Lawson, Josie Long, Ann Widdecombe and Malala Yousafzai. In June 1878, the Association for the Higher Education of Women was formed, aiming for the eventual creation of a college for women in Oxford; some of the more prominent members of the association were George Granville Bradley, Master of University College, T. H. Green, a prominent liberal philosopher and Fellow of Balliol College, Edward Stuart Talbot, Warden of Keble College. Talbot insisted on a Anglican institution, unacceptable to most of the other members; the two parties split, Talbot's group founded Lady Margaret Hall, while T. H. Green founded Somerville College. Lady Margaret Hall opened its doors to its first nine students in 1879; the first 21 students from Somerville and Lady Margaret Hall attended lectures in rooms above a baker's shop on Little Clarendon Street. The college was named after Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, patron of scholarship and learning.
The first principal was Elizabeth Wordsworth, the great-niece of the poet William Wordsworth and daughter of Christopher Wordsworth, Bishop of Lincoln. The religious attitudes of the founders and principal were a deliberate contrast with the non-denominational Somerville College, founded shortly afterwards but despite the college's High Anglican origins, not all students were devout Christians. With a new building opening in 1894 the college expanded to 25 students; the land on which the college is built was part of the manor of Norham which belonged to St John's College. The college bought the land from St John's in 1894, the other institution driving a hard bargain and requiring a development price not only on the practical building land but on the undevelopable water meadows. However, this land purchase marked a change in ambition from occupying residential buildings for teaching purposes to erecting buildings befitting an educational institution. In 1897, members of Lady Margaret Hall founded the Lady Margaret Hall Settlement, a charitable initiative a place for graduates from the college to live in North Lambeth where they would work with and help develop opportunities for the poor.
It continues to operate to this day. Before 1920, the university refused to give degrees to women and would not acknowledge them as full members of the university. In 1920 the first women graduated from the college at the Sheldonian Theatre and the principal at the time, Henrietta Jex-Blake, was given an honorary degree. During the Second World War women were not permitted to fight on the front line and thus many of the students and fellows took up other roles to aid in the war effort, becoming nurses and ambulance drivers; the Fellows' Lawn was dug up and the students grew vegetables as part of the Dig for Victory campaign. In 1979, one hundred years after its foundation, the college began admitting men as well as women. In 1919 J. R. R. Tolkien started to give private tuition to students at Oxford, including members of students from LMH where his tuition was much needed given the limited resources and tutors the college had in its early years, his daughter, Priscilla Tolkien, attended the college, graduating in 1951.
In 2017 Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel Prize Peace laureate and Pakistani campaigner for girls' education, became a student of the college. In the same year, prospective Chemistry student Brian White faced deportation at the hands of the Home Office, but was able to take up his place at the college. In 2017, alumnus Paul McClean, a 24-year-old Financial Times journalist who had reported on the scale of treaty renegotiation necessitated by Brexit, was killed by a crocodile while on holiday in Sri Lanka. Lady Margaret Hall is the only Oxford college to offer a foundation year. Students choose a subject to specialise in, take courses in study skills and other general subject areas, with the aim that they progress to an undergraduate degree at the college after a year of study. Pupils live in the college and have access to the same university facilities, both academic and social, as other students. Modelled after a programme at Trinity College
Wilfrid Scawen Blunt
Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, sometimes spelled "Wilfred", was an English poet and writer. He and his wife, Lady Anne Blunt travelled in the Middle East and were instrumental in preserving the Arabian horse bloodlines through their farm, the Crabbet Arabian Stud, he was best known for his poetry, published in a collected edition in 1914, but wrote a number of political essays and polemics. Blunt is known for his views against imperialism, viewed as enlightened for his time. Blunt was born at Petworth House in Sussex and served in the Diplomatic Service from 1858 to 1869, he was raised in the faith of his mother, a Catholic convert, educated at Twyford School, at St Mary's College, Oscott. In 1869, Blunt married Lady Anne Noel, the daughter of the Earl of Lovelace and Ada Lovelace, granddaughter of Lord Byron. Together the Blunts travelled through Spain, Egypt, the Syrian Desert, extensively in the Middle East and India. Based upon pure-blooded Arabian horses they obtained in Egypt and the Nejd, they co-founded Crabbet Arabian Stud, purchased a property near Cairo, named Sheykh Obeyd which housed their horse breeding operation in Egypt.
As an adult, he became an atheist, though he would walk out of episodes of faith. His writings, some of his close friendships, show him to have espoused a serious interest in Islam. Before he died, he agreed to see a priest, Father Vincent McNabb, received Communion. Blunt opposed British imperialism as a matter of philosophy, his support for Irish causes led to his imprisonment in 1888 for chairing an anti-eviction meeting in County Galway, banned by the Chief Secretary, Arthur Balfour, being successively incarcerated in Galway Prison at Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. He attempted to enter Parliament three times, unsuccessfully, he stood as a "Tory Democrat" supporting Irish Home Rule at Camberwell North in 1885, as a Liberal at Kiddermister in 1886 where he lost by 285 votes. While in prison in Ireland, he lost by 275 votes, his most memorable line of poetry on the subject comes from Satan Absolved, where the devil, answering a Kiplingesque remark by God, snaps back: ‘The white man's burden, Lord, is the burden of his cash’Here, Longford explains,'Blunt stood Rudyard Kipling's familiar concept on its head, arguing that the imperialists' burden is not their moral responsibility for the colonised peoples, but their urge to make money out of them.'
Wilfrid and Lady Anne's only child to live to maturity was Judith Blunt-Lytton, 16th Baroness Wentworth known as Lady Wentworth. As an adult, she was married in Cairo but moved permanently to the Crabbet Park Estate in 1904. Wilfrid had a number of mistresses, among them a long term relationship with the courtesan Catherine "Skittles" Walters, the Pre-Raphaelite beauty, Jane Morris, he moved another mistress, Dorothy Carleton, into his home. This event triggered Lady Anne's legal separation from him in 1906. At that time, Lady Anne signed a Deed of Partition drawn up by Wilfrid. Under its terms, unfavourable to Lady Anne, she kept the Crabbet Park property and half the horses, while Blunt took Caxtons Farm known as Newbuildings, the rest of the stock. Always struggling with financial concerns and chemical dependency issues, Wilfrid sold off numerous horses to pay debts and attempted to obtain additional assets. Lady Anne left the management of her properties to Judith, spent many months of every year in Egypt at the Sheykh Obeyd estate, moving there permanently in 1915.
Due to the manoeuvering of Wilfrid in an attempt to disinherit Judith and obtain the entire Crabbet property for himself and her mother were estranged at the time of Lady Anne's death in 1917. As a result, Lady Anne's share of the Crabbet Stud passed to Judith's daughters, under the oversight of an independent trustee. Blunt filed a lawsuit soon afterward. Ownership of the Arabian horses went back and forth between the estates of father and daughter in the following years. Blunt sold more horses to pay off debts and shot at least four in an attempt to spite his daughter, an action which required intervention of the trustee of the estate with a court injunction to prevent him from further "dissipating the assets" of the estate; the lawsuit was settled in favour of the granddaughters in 1920, Judith bought their share from the trustee, combining it with her own assets and reuniting the stud. Father and daughter reconciled shortly before Wilfrid Scawen Blunt's death in 1922, but his promise to rewrite his will to restore Judith's inheritance never materialised.
Blunt was a friend of Winston Churchill, aiding him in his 1906 biography of his father, Randolph Churchill, whom Blunt had befriended years earlier in 1883 at a chess tournament. In the early 1880s, Britain was struggling with its Egyptian colony. Wilfrid Blunt was sent to notify Sir Edward Malet, the British agent, as to the Egyptian public opinion concerning the recent changes in government and development policies. In mid-December 1881, Blunt met with Ahmed ‘Urabi, known as Arabi or'El Wahid' due to his popularity with the Egyptians. Arabi was impressed with Blunt's appreciation of his culture, their mutual respect created an environment in which Arabi could peacefully explain the reasoning behind a new patriotic movement,'Egypt for the Egyptians'. Over the course of several days, Arab
National Portrait Gallery, London
The National Portrait Gallery is an art gallery in London housing a collection of portraits of important and famous British people. It was the first portrait gallery in the world when it opened in 1856; the gallery moved in 1896 to its current site at St Martin's Place, off Trafalgar Square, adjoining the National Gallery. It has been expanded twice since then; the National Portrait Gallery has regional outposts at Beningbrough Hall in Yorkshire and Montacute House in Somerset. It is unconnected to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, with which its remit overlaps; the gallery is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture and Sport. The gallery houses portraits of important and famous British people, selected on the basis of the significance of the sitter, not that of the artist; the collection includes photographs and caricatures as well as paintings and sculpture. One of its best-known images is the Chandos portrait, the most famous portrait of William Shakespeare although there is some uncertainty about whether the painting is of the playwright.
Not all of the portraits are exceptional artistically, although there are self-portraits by William Hogarth, Sir Joshua Reynolds and other British artists of note. Some, such as the group portrait of the participants in the Somerset House Conference of 1604, are important historical documents in their own right; the curiosity value is greater than the artistic worth of a work, as in the case of the anamorphic portrait of Edward VI by William Scrots, Patrick Branwell Brontë's painting of his sisters Charlotte and Anne, or a sculpture of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in medieval costume. Portraits of living figures were allowed from 1969. In addition to its permanent galleries of historical portraits, the National Portrait Gallery exhibits a changing selection of contemporary work, stages exhibitions of portrait art by individual artists and hosts the annual BP Portrait Prize competition; the three people responsible for the founding of the National Portrait Gallery are commemorated with busts over the main entrance.
At centre is Philip Henry Stanhope, 4th Earl Stanhope, with his supporters on either side, Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay and Thomas Carlyle. It was Stanhope who, in 1846 as a Member of Parliament, first proposed the idea of a National Portrait Gallery, it was not until his third attempt, in 1856, this time from the House of Lords, that the proposal was accepted. With Queen Victoria's approval, the House of Commons set aside a sum of £2000 to establish the gallery; as well as Stanhope and Macaulay, the founder Trustees included Benjamin Disraeli and Lord Ellesmere. It was the latter. Carlyle became a trustee after the death of Ellesmere in 1857. For the first 40 years, the gallery was housed in various locations in London; the first 13 years were spent at Westminster. There, the collection increased in size from 57 to 208 items, the number of visitors from 5,300 to 34,500. In 1869, the collection moved to Exhibition Road and buildings managed by the Royal Horticultural Society. Following a fire in those buildings, the collection was moved in 1885, this time to the Bethnal Green Museum.
This location was unsuitable due to its distance from the West End and lack of waterproofing. Following calls for a new location to be found, the government accepted an offer of funds from the philanthropist William Henry Alexander. Alexander donated £60,000 followed by another £20,000, chose the architect, Ewan Christian; the government provided the new site, St Martin's Place, adjacent to the National Gallery, £16,000. The buildings, faced in Portland stone, were constructed by Son. Both the architect, Ewan Christian, the gallery's first director, George Scharf, died shortly before the new building was completed; the gallery opened at its new location on 4 April 1896. The site has since been expanded twice; the first extension, in 1933, was funded by Lord Duveen, resulted in the wing by architect Sir Richard Allison on a site occupied by St George's Barracks running along Orange Street. In February 1909, a murder–suicide took place in a gallery known as the Arctic Room. In an planned attack, John Tempest Dawson, aged 70, shot his 58 year–old wife, Nannie Caskie.
His wife died in hospital several hours later. Both were American nationals. Evidence at the inquest suggested that Dawson, a wealthy and well–travelled man, was suffering from a Persecutory delusion; the incident came to public attention in 2010 when the Gallery's archive was put on-line as this included a personal account of the event by James Donald Milner the Assistant Director of the Gallery. The collections of the National Portrait Gallery were stored at Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire during the Second World War, along with pieces from the Royal Collection and paintings from Speaker's House in the Palace of Westminster; the second extension was funded by Sir Christopher Ondaatje and a £12m Heritage Lottery Fund grant, was designed by London-based architects Edward Jones and Jeremy Dixon. The Ondaatje Wing opened in 2000 and occupies a narrow space of land between the two 19th-century buildings of the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, is notable for its immense, two-storey escalator that takes visitors to the earliest part of the collection, the Tudor portraits.
In January 2008, the Gallery received its largest single donation to date