Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, was a British Conservative Party statesman who dominated the government of the United Kingdom between the world wars, serving as Prime Minister on three occasions. Born to a prosperous family in Bewdley, Baldwin was educated at Hawtreys, Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge, he joined the family iron and steel making business and entered the House of Commons in 1908 as the Member of Parliament for Bewdley, succeeding his father Alfred. He served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury and President of the Board of Trade in the coalition ministry of David Lloyd George and rose rapidly: in 1922, Baldwin was one of the prime movers in the withdrawal of Conservative support from Lloyd George. Upon Bonar Law's resignation due to health reasons in May 1923, Baldwin became Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party, he called an election in December 1923 on the issue of tariffs and lost the Conservatives' parliamentary majority, after which Ramsay MacDonald formed a minority Labour government.
After winning the 1924 general election Baldwin formed his second government, which saw important tenures of office by Sir Austen Chamberlain, Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain. The latter two ministers strengthened Conservative appeal by reforms in areas associated with the Liberal Party, they included industrial conciliation, unemployment insurance, a more extensive old-age pension system, slum clearance, more private housing and expansion of maternal and childcare. However, continuing sluggish economic growth and declines in mining and heavy industry weakened Baldwin's base of support and his government saw the General Strike in 1926 and the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act 1927 to curb the powers of trade unions. Baldwin narrowly lost the 1929 general election and his continued leadership of the party was subject to extensive criticism by the press barons Lord Rothermere and Lord Beaverbrook. In 1931, with the onset of the Great Depression Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald formed a National Government, most of whose ministers were Conservatives, which won an enormous majority at the 1931 general election.
As Lord President of the Council, one of four Conservatives among the small ten-member Cabinet, Baldwin took over many of the Prime Minister's duties due to MacDonald's failing health. This government saw an Act delivering increased self-government for India, a measure opposed by Churchill and by many rank-and-file Conservatives; the Statute of Westminster 1931 gave Dominion status to Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, while establishing the first step towards the Commonwealth of Nations. As party leader, Baldwin made many striking innovations, such as clever use of radio and film, that made him visible to the public and strengthened Conservative appeal. In 1935, Baldwin replaced MacDonald as Prime Minister of the National Government, won the 1935 general election with another large majority. During this time, he oversaw the beginning of the rearmament process of the British military, as well as the abdication crisis of King Edward VIII. Baldwin's third government saw a number of crises in foreign affairs, including the public uproar over the Hoare–Laval Pact, the Remilitarisation of the Rhineland and the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
Baldwin was succeeded by Neville Chamberlain. At that time, Baldwin was regarded as a popular and successful Prime Minister, but for the final decade of his life, for many years afterwards, he was vilified for having presided over high unemployment in the 1930s and as one of the "Guilty Men" who had tried to appease Adolf Hitler and who had – – not rearmed sufficiently to prepare for the Second World War. Today, modern scholars rank him in the upper half of British prime ministers. Baldwin was born at Lower Park House, Lower Park, Bewdley in Worcestershire, England to Alfred and Louisa Baldwin, through his Scottish mother was a first cousin of the writer and poet Rudyard Kipling, with whom he was close for their entire lives; the family was prosperous, owned the eponymous iron and steel making business that in years became part of Richard Thomas and Baldwins. Baldwin's schools were St Michael's School, at the time located in Slough, followed by Harrow School, he wrote that "all the king's horses and all the king's men would have failed to have drawn me into the company of school masters, in relation to them I once had every qualification as a passive resister."
Baldwin went on to the University of Cambridge, where he studied history at Trinity College. His time at university was blighted by the presence, as Master of Trinity, of Montagu Butler, his former headmaster who had punished him at Harrow for writing a piece of schoolboy smut, he was asked to resign from the Magpie & Stump for never speaking, after receiving a third-class degree in history, he went into the family business of iron manufacturing. His father sent him to Mason College for one session of technical training in metallurgy as preparation; as a young man he served as a Second Lieutenant in the Artillery Volunteers at Malvern, in 1897 became a JP for the county of Worcestershire. Baldwin married Lucy Ridsdale on 12 September 1892; the couple had six children. One child, was injured by shrapnel in March 1941 as a result of a bombing raid which destroyed the Café de Paris nightclub she was attending and decapitated the famous bandleader Ke
Newbury is a market town in Berkshire, home to the administrative headquarters of West Berkshire. The town centre around its large market square retains a rare medieval Cloth Hall, an adjoining half timbered granary, the 15th century St Nicolas Church, along with 17th and 18th century listed buildings; as well as being home to Newbury Racecourse, it is the headquarters of Vodafone UK and software company Micro Focus International. In the valley of the River Kennet, 26 miles south of Oxford, 25 miles north of Winchester, 27 miles south east of Swindon and 20 miles west of Reading. Newbury lies on the edge of the Berkshire Downs. In the suburban village of Donnington lies the part-ruined Donnington Castle and the surrounding hills are home to some of the country's most famous racehorse training grounds. To the south is a narrower range of hills including Walbury Hill and a few private landscape gardens and mansions such as Highclere Castle; the local economy is inter-related to that of the eastern M4 corridor, which has most of its industrial and research businesses close to Newbury around Reading, Bracknell and Slough.
Together with the adjoining town of Thatcham, 3 miles distant, Newbury forms the principal part of an urban area of 70,000 people. There was a Mesolithic settlement at Newbury. Artefacts were recovered from the Greenham Dairy Farm in 1963, the Faraday Road site in 2002. Additional material was found in excavations along the route of the Newbury Bypass. Newbury was founded late in the 11th century following the Norman conquest as a new borough, hence its name. Although there are references to the borough that predate the Domesday Survey it is not mentioned by name in the survey. However, its existence within the manor of Ulvritone is evident from the massive rise in value of that manor at a time when most manors were worth less than in Saxon times. In 1086 the Domesday Book assesses the borough as having land for 12 ploughs, 2 mills, woodland for 25 pigs, 11 villeins, 11 bordars, 51 enclosures rendering 70s 7d. Doubt has been cast over the existence of Newbury Castle, but the town did have royal connections and was visited a number of times by King John and Henry III while hunting in the area.
The town's economic foundation was the cloth trade. This is reflected in the person of the 16th century cloth magnate, Jack of Newbury, the proprietor of what may well have been the first factory in England, the tale of the Newbury Coat; the latter was the outcome of a bet as to whether a gentleman's suit could be produced by the end of the day from wool taken from a sheep's back at the beginning. The local legend was immortalized in a humorous novel by Elizabethan writer Thomas Deloney. Newbury was the site of two battles during the English Civil War, the First Battle of Newbury in 1643, the Second Battle of Newbury in 1644; the nearby Donnington Castle was reduced to a ruin in the aftermath of the second battle. The disruption of trade during the civil war, compounded by a collapse of the local cloth trade in the late 16th century, left Newbury impoverished; the local economy was boosted in the 18th century by the rise of Bath as a popular destination for the wealthy escaping London's summer heat and associated stench.
Newbury was halfway between London and Bath and an obvious stopping point in the two-day journey. Soon Newbury, the Speenhamland area in particular, was filled with coaching inns of increasing grandeur and size. One inn, the George & Pelican, was reputed to have stabling for 300 horses. A theatre was built to provide the travellers with entertainment featuring the major stars of the age. In 1795 local magistrates, meeting at the George and Pelican Inn in Speenhamland, introduced the Speenhamland System which tied parish poor relief to the cost of bread; the opening of the Great Western Railway to the north of Newbury killed the coaching trade. Having been midway on the Bath Road from London, Newbury became something of a backwater market town, with an economy based on agriculture and horse-racing. In the 1980s, British electronics firm Racal decided to locate their newly formed telecommunications company Racal Vodafone in the town. In the subsequent decades Newbury became something of a regional centre for the high-tech industries, the town has since enjoyed a return to general economic prosperity.
A large Royal Air Force station was established during the Second World War at Greenham Common on the edge of the town. In the 1950s, it became home to US Air Force bombers and tankers, for which it was equipped with the longest military runway in the United Kingdom. In the 1980s, it became one of only two USAF bases in the UK equipped with ground-launched nuclear-armed cruise missiles, causing it to become the site of protests by up to 40,000 protesters and the establishment of the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp. With the end of the Cold War, the base was closed, the runway was broken up for use as fill material in building the Newbury bypass, much of the area was restored to heathland. On 10 February 1943 two German bombers on a nuisance raid, followed the Great Western Railway line running west from London. One of the bombers headed towards Reading. At 4:43pm the bomber dropped eight hig
David Eccles, 1st Viscount Eccles
David McAdam Eccles, 1st Viscount Eccles was an English Conservative politician. Eccles was educated at Winchester College and New College, where he obtained a second-class degree in PPE, he worked with the Central Mining Corporation in Johannesburg. During the Second World War he worked for the Ministry of Economic Warfare from 1939 to 1940 and for the Ministry of Production from 1942 to 1943 and was Economic Adviser to the British ambassadors at Lisbon and Madrid from 1940 to 1942. Eccles was elected as Member of Parliament for Chippenham in a wartime by-election in 1943, a seat he held until 1962, he served in the Conservative administrations of Churchill and Macmillan as Minister of Works from 1951 to 1954, as Minister of Education from 1954 to 1957 and again from 1959 to 1962 and as President of the Board of Trade from 1957 to 1959. Eccles was President of the Board of Trade in January 1957. In 1962 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Eccles, of Chute in the County of Wiltshire, in 1964 he was created Viscount Eccles, of Chute in the County of Wiltshire.
Lord Eccles returned to the government in 1970 when Edward Heath appointed him Paymaster-General and Minister for the Arts, a post he held until 1973. As Minister for the Arts he clashed with the Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain Arnold Goodman over the funding of controversial plays and exhibitions and introduced mandatory admission charges at public museums and galleries. Lord Eccles was made a Doctor of Science in 1966 by Loughborough University, he received an Honorary Science Doctorate from the University of Bath in 1972. Eccles married, the Hon. Sybil Frances Dawson, daughter of Bertrand Dawson, 1st Viscount Dawson of Penn, on 1 October 1929, they had three children: The Hon. Selina Eccles, he died at age 94 at home of natural causes leaving an estate of £2.4 million. Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles MP Sir David Eccles KCVO MP The Rt. Hon; the Lord Eccles KCVO PC The Rt. Hon; the Viscount Eccles KCVO PC The Rt. Hon; the Viscount Eccles CH KCVO PC Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Viscount Eccles Newspaper clippings about David Eccles, 1st Viscount Eccles in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics
Petroleum Warfare Department
The Petroleum Warfare Department was an organisation established in Britain in 1940 in response to the invasion crisis during World War II, when it appeared that Germany would invade the country. The department was tasked with developing the uses of petroleum as a weapon of war and it oversaw the introduction of a wide range of flame warfare weapons. In the war, the department was instrumental in the creation of the Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation that cleared runways of fog allowing the landing of aircraft returning from bombing raids over Germany in poor visibility. At the beginning of World War II, in September 1939, there was little fighting in the West until the German invasion of France and the low countries in May 1940. Following the fall of France and the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force from the beaches at Dunkirk in June 1940, Britain was threatened with invasion by German armed forces in 1940 and 1941. In response to this threat of invasion, the British sought to expand the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Army and to replace the equipment, left behind at Dunkirk.
To supplement the regular armed services with volunteer organisations such as the part-time soldiers in the Home Guard. With many types of equipment in short supply, there were frantic efforts to develop new weapons – those that did not require scarce materials. Although oil imports from the Middle East had stopped and most oil for Britain came from the United States, there was at this time no shortage of oil: supplies intended for Europe were filling British storage facilities and there were full tankers kept waiting in American ports; the amount of petrol allocated for civilian use was rationed and pleasure motoring was discouraged. This was not, at least because of a shortage of petrol but because it might lead to large congregations of well-fuelled vehicles at popular places. In the event of an invasion, the British would be faced with the problem of destroying this embarrassment of riches lest it should prove of use to the enemy. By mid-June, as a basic anti-invasion precaution, wayside petrol stations near the coast had been emptied, or at least had their pumps disabled, garages everywhere were required to have a plan to prevent their stocks being of use to the invader.
On 29 May 1940, as the evacuation of the BEF was in progress, Maurice Hankey a cabinet minister without portfolio, joined the Ministerial Committee on Civil Defence chaired by Sir John Anderson, the Secretary of State for the Home Office and Home Security. Among many ideas, Hankey "brought out of his stable a hobby horse which he had ridden hard in the 1914–18 war – namely the use of burning oil for defensive purposes." Hankey used to impede him. Towards the end of June Hankey brought his scheme up at a meeting of the Oil Control Board and produced for Commander-in-Chief Home Forces Edmund Ironside extracts of his paper on experiments with oil in the First World War. On 5 June, Churchill authorised Geoffrey Lloyd, the Secretary for Petroleum to press ahead with experiments, with Hankey taking the matter under his general supervision. Donald Banks had served with distinction in World War I winning the DSO and MC, he had joined the civil service and in 1934 he was made Director-General of the Post Office, he moved to the Air Ministry and served there as Permanent Under Secretary from 1936–38.
Due to overwork, Banks was given lighter duties, including a mission to Australia to advise on aircraft production and a job at the Import Duties Advisory Committee. During this period, Banks had remained on the rolls of the Territorial Army Reserve of Officers and when hostilities broke out in September 1939, the advisory committee was abolished and he was free to serve in the armed forces. Banks was soon posted as air attaché to the quartermaster general of 50th Infantry Division – a first line division of the Territorial Army. Banks got on well with his commander, Giffard LeQuesne Martel, he admired his leadership and his enthusiasm for experimentation and improvisation. In October 1939, the division was sent to the Cotswolds and in January 1940 it was moved to France; when Germany attacked in May, the division was involved in the fighting around Arras and was withdrawn to the coast. Banks recalled looking out to sea from a cliff top and seeing "an awe-inspiring sight A few miles away an oil tanker had been bombed or had struck a mine.
Masses of the blackest smoke pillared up into a gigantic pall in the sky while in the vast lake of fire, spreading it seemed for miles on the water a flame blazed and leapt like an angry volcano I was to recall that scene in subsequent days of Flame Warfare". The division was evacuated to England. Early in July 1940, Donald Banks was summoned to the presence of Geoffrey Lloyd, who explained the vision that he and Hankey shared: "Flame all across Britain" he said, "ringing the coasts, spurting from the hedges and rolling down the hills. We will burn the invader back into the sea."Considering Lloyd's ideas over the next few days Banks consulted with other soldiers, he found both professional scepticism and enthusiasm. Banks, a man who said he preferred the prospect of real fighting over Whitehall warfare, was not himself keen and his first instinct was to suggest that petroleum weapons should be developed locally. Lloyd would have none of it and Banks was ordered to report to him for special duties.
On 9 July, cutting through red tape, the Petroleum Warfare Departme
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, domestically as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, the House of Commons; the two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London. The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual, consisting of the most senior bishops of the Church of England, the Lords Temporal, consisting of life peers, appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, of 92 hereditary peers, sitting either by virtue of holding a royal office, or by being elected by their fellow hereditary peers.
Prior to the opening of the Supreme Court in October 2009, the House of Lords performed a judicial role through the Law Lords. The House of Commons is an elected chamber with elections to 650 single member constituencies held at least every five years under the first-past-the-post system; the two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Palace of Westminster in London. By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including the Prime Minister, are members of the House of Commons or, less the House of Lords and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Most cabinet ministers are from the Commons, whilst junior ministers can be from either House. However, the Leader of the House of Lords must be a peer; the Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Treaty of Union by Acts of Union passed by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, both Acts of Union stating, "That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament to be styled The Parliament of Great Britain".
At the start of the 19th century, Parliament was further enlarged by Acts of Union ratified by the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland that abolished the latter and added 100 Irish MPs and 32 Lords to the former to create the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 formally amended the name to the "Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", five years after the secession of the Irish Free State in 1922. With the global expansion of the British Empire, the UK Parliament has shaped the political systems of many countries as ex-colonies and so it has been called the "Mother of Parliaments". However, John Bright – who coined the epithet – used it in reference to the political culture of "England" rather than just the parliamentary system. In theory, the UK's supreme legislative power is vested in the Crown-in-Parliament. However, the Crown acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the powers of the House of Lords are limited to only delaying legislation.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created on 1 January 1801, by the merger of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union 1800. The principle of ministerial responsibility to the lower House did not develop until the 19th century—the House of Lords was superior to the House of Commons both in theory and in practice. Members of the House of Commons were elected in an antiquated electoral system, under which constituencies of vastly different sizes existed. Thus, the borough of Old Sarum, with seven voters, could elect two members, as could the borough of Dunwich, which had completely disappeared into the sea due to land erosion. Many small constituencies, known as pocket or rotten boroughs, were controlled by members of the House of Lords, who could ensure the election of their relatives or supporters. During the reforms of the 19th century, beginning with the Reform Act 1832, the electoral system for the House of Commons was progressively regularised.
No longer dependent on the Lords for their seats, MPs grew more assertive. The supremacy of the British House of Commons was reaffirmed in the early 20th century. In 1909, the Commons passed the so-called "People's Budget", which made numerous changes to the taxation system which were detrimental to wealthy landowners; the House of Lords, which consisted of powerful landowners, rejected the Budget. On the basis of the Budget's popularity and the Lords' consequent unpopularity, the Liberal Party narrowly won two general elections in 1910. Using the result as a mandate, the Liberal Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, introduced the Parliament Bill, which sought to restrict the powers of the House of Lords; when the Lords refused to pass the bill, Asquith countered with a promise extracted from the King in secret before the second general election of 1910 and requested the creation of several hundred Liberal peers, so as to erase the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. In the face of such a threat, the House of Lords narrowly passed the bill.
The Parliament Act 1911, as it became, prevented the Lords from blocking a money bill, allowed them to delay any other bill for a maximum of three sessions, after which it could become law over their objections. However, regardless of the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949, t
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister directs both the executive and the legislature, together with their Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Monarch, to Parliament, to their political party and to the electorate; the office of Prime Minister is one of the Great Offices of State. The current holder of the office, Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, was appointed by the Queen on 13 July 2016; the office is not established by any statute or constitutional document but exists only by long-established convention, which stipulates that the monarch must appoint as Prime Minister the person most to command the confidence of the House of Commons. The position of Prime Minister was not created; the office is therefore best understood from a historical perspective. The origins of the position are found in constitutional changes that occurred during the Revolutionary Settlement and the resulting shift of political power from the Sovereign to Parliament.
Although the Sovereign was not stripped of the ancient prerogative powers and remained the head of government, politically it became necessary for him or her to govern through a Prime Minister who could command a majority in Parliament. By the 1830s the Westminster system of government had emerged; the political position of Prime Minister was enhanced by the development of modern political parties, the introduction of mass communication, photography. By the start of the 20th century the modern premiership had emerged. Prior to 1902, the Prime Minister sometimes came from the House of Lords, provided that his government could form a majority in the Commons; however as the power of the aristocracy waned during the 19th century the convention developed that the Prime Minister should always sit in the lower house. As leader of the House of Commons, the Prime Minister's authority was further enhanced by the Parliament Act 1911 which marginalised the influence of the House of Lords in the law-making process.
The Prime Minister is ex officio First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. Certain privileges, such as residency of 10 Downing Street, are accorded to Prime Ministers by virtue of their position as First Lord of the Treasury; the status of the position as Prime Minister means that the incumbent is ranked as one of the most powerful and influential people in the world. The Prime Minister is the head of the United Kingdom government; as such, the modern Prime Minister leads the Cabinet. In addition, the Prime Minister leads a major political party and commands a majority in the House of Commons; the incumbent wields both significant legislative and executive powers. Under the British system, there is a unity of powers rather than separation. In the House of Commons, the Prime Minister guides the law-making process with the goal of enacting the legislative agenda of their political party. In an executive capacity, the Prime Minister appoints all other Cabinet members and ministers, co-ordinates the policies and activities of all government departments, the staff of the Civil Service.
The Prime Minister acts as the public "face" and "voice" of Her Majesty's Government, both at home and abroad. Upon the advice of the Prime Minister, the Sovereign exercises many statutory and prerogative powers, including high judicial, political and Church of England ecclesiastical appointments; the British system of government is based on an uncodified constitution, meaning that it is not set out in any single document. The British constitution consists of many documents and most for the evolution of the Office of the Prime Minister, it is based on customs known as constitutional conventions that became accepted practice. In 1928, Prime Minister H. H. Asquith described this characteristic of the British constitution in his memoirs:In this country we live... under an unwritten Constitution. It is true that we have on the Statute-book great instruments like Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the Bill of Rights which define and secure many of our rights and privileges, they rest on usage, convention of slow growth in their early stages, not always uniform, but which in the course of time received universal observance and respect.
The relationships between the Prime Minister and the Sovereign and Cabinet are defined by these unwritten conventions of the constitution. Many of the Prime Minister's executive and legislative powers are royal prerogatives which are still formally vested in the Sovereign, who remains the head of state. Despite its growing