World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936. Born during the reign of his grandmother Queen Victoria, George was third in the line of succession behind his father, Prince Albert Edward, his own elder brother, Prince Albert Victor. From 1877 to 1891, George served in the Royal Navy, until the unexpected death of his elder brother in early 1892 put him directly in line for the throne. On the death of his grandmother in 1901, George's father ascended the throne as Edward VII, George was created Prince of Wales, he became king-emperor on his father's death in 1910. George V's reign saw the rise of socialism, fascism, Irish republicanism, the Indian independence movement, all of which radically changed the political landscape; the Parliament Act 1911 established the supremacy of the elected British House of Commons over the unelected House of Lords. As a result of the First World War, the empires of his first cousins Nicholas II of Russia and Wilhelm II of Germany fell, while the British Empire expanded to its greatest effective extent.
In 1917, George became the first monarch of the House of Windsor, which he renamed from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as a result of anti-German public sentiment. In 1924 he appointed the first Labour ministry and in 1931 the Statute of Westminster recognised the dominions of the Empire as separate, independent states within the Commonwealth of Nations, he had smoking-related health problems throughout much of his reign and at his death was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII. George was born on 3 June 1865, in London, he was the second son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, Alexandra, Princess of Wales. His father was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, his mother was the eldest daughter of King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark, he was baptised at Windsor Castle on 7 July 1865 by the Archbishop of Charles Longley. As a younger son of the Prince of Wales, there was little expectation, he was third in line after his father and elder brother, Prince Albert Victor.
George was only 17 months younger than Albert Victor, the two princes were educated together. John Neale Dalton was appointed as their tutor in 1871. Neither Albert Victor nor George excelled intellectually; as their father thought that the navy was "the best possible training for any boy", in September 1877, when George was 12 years old, both brothers joined the cadet training ship HMS Britannia at Dartmouth, Devon. For three years from 1879, the royal brothers served on HMS Bacchante, accompanied by Dalton, they toured the colonies of the British Empire in the Caribbean, South Africa and Australia, visited Norfolk, Virginia, as well as South America, the Mediterranean and East Asia. In 1881 on a visit to Japan, George had a local artist tattoo a blue and red dragon on his arm, was received in an audience by the Emperor Meiji. Dalton wrote an account of their journey entitled The Cruise of HMS Bacchante. Between Melbourne and Sydney, Dalton recorded a sighting of the Flying Dutchman, a mythical ghost ship.
When they returned to Britain, Queen Victoria complained that her grandsons could not speak French or German, so they spent six months in Lausanne in an unsuccessful attempt to learn another language. After Lausanne, the brothers were separated, he travelled the world. During his naval career he commanded Torpedo Boat 79 in home waters HMS Thrush on the North America station, before his last active service in command of HMS Melampus in 1891–92. From on, his naval rank was honorary; as a young man destined to serve in the navy, Prince George served for many years under the command of his uncle, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, stationed in Malta. There, he fell in love with his cousin, Princess Marie, his grandmother and uncle all approved the match, but the mothers—the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Edinburgh—opposed it. The Princess of Wales thought the family was too pro-German, the Duchess of Edinburgh disliked England. Marie's mother was the only daughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia.
She resented the fact that, as the wife of a younger son of the British sovereign, she had to yield precedence to George's mother, the Princess of Wales, whose father had been a minor German prince before being called unexpectedly to the throne of Denmark. Guided by her mother, Marie refused George, she married Ferdinand, the future King of Romania, in 1893. In November 1891, George's elder brother, Albert Victor, became engaged to his second cousin once removed, Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, known as "May" within the family. May's father, Prince Francis, Duke of Teck, belonged to a morganatic, cadet branch of the house of Württemberg, her mother, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, was a male-line granddaughter of King George III and a first cousin of Queen Victoria. On 14 January 1892, six weeks after the formal engagement, Albert Victor died of pneumonia, leaving George second in line to the throne, to succeed after his father. George had only just recovered from a serious illness himself, after being confined to bed for six weeks with typhoid fever, the disease, thought to have killed his grandfather Prince Albert.
Queen Victoria still regarded Princess May as a suitable match for her grandson, George and May grew close during their shared perio
55 Broadway is a Grade I listed building overlooking St James's Park in London. It was designed by Charles Holden and built between 1927 and 1929, it was constructed as a new headquarters for the Underground Electric Railways Company of London, the main forerunner of London Underground. Upon completion, it was the tallest office block in the city. London Underground was due to vacate the building in 2015 for new headquarters in the Olympic Park, London, 55 Broadway was to be converted for residential use, but this planning permission expired in 2018. Transport for London still occupies no transfer of ownership has been announced. Faced with Portland stone and covering a site with an irregular footprint, the upper office floors of the building are on a cruciform plan, stepping back towards the central clock tower at the top; the cruciform design afforded the optimum level of natural light to the offices. The ground floor now contains many art deco details; the ground floor was given over to London Transport offices, including a travel information centre, cash office and a library.
The whole building straddles St. James's Park tube station, the east and west wings being above the railway tunnel; when finished it was the tallest steel-framed office building in London, until construction of another Holden building, the University of London's Senate House. On each elevation, the pediment above the sixth floor is decorated with a relief, collectively known as'the four winds', although the four points of the compass are repeated twice for a total of eight reliefs; each relief was carved by an avant-garde sculptor of the day. Halfway along the north and east facades are a matched pair of sculptures and Night by Jacob Epstein; the modernism and graphic nakedness of these sculptures created public outrage on their unveiling. Newspapers started a campaign to have the statues removed and one company director, Lord Colwyn, offered to pay the cost. Frank Pick, the managing director of the UERL at the time, took overall responsibility and offered his resignation over the scandal. In the end, Epstein agreed to remove 1.5 inches from the penis of the smaller figure on Day and the furore died down.
The function suite on the 10th floor of the building was set up as a dining room for the chairman and senior executives. At this level there are four roof gardens, one of, dedicated to the wife of a former managing director in recognition of her enthusiasm to encourage this early form of environmental work; the building, first listed as Grade II in 1970, was upgraded to Grade I in 2011. In 2013, it was announced that 55 Broadway would be converted into luxury apartments once London Underground move operations from the building in 2015. In May 2014, it was announced that the architects, TateHindle, would lead the redevelopment and in June 2015 planning permission and listed building consent was granted, however this has yet to be implemented and expires in June 2018. TfL continue to occupy the building in early 2018. Day and Night, Jacob Epstein North Wind, Alfred Gerrard North Wind, Eric Gill East Wind, Eric Gill East Wind, Allan G. Wyon South Wind, Eric Gill South Wind, Eric Aumonier West Wind, Samuel Rabinovitch West Wind, Henry Moore Modern Architectural Sculpture, Ed. William Aumonier, The Architectural Press, London 1930 Karol, Eitan.
Charles Holden: Architect. Shaun Tyas. ISBN 978-1-900289-81-8. Transport for London - 55 Broadway London Transport Museum Photographic Archive Building 1920s illustration of buildings demolished to construct 55 Broadway 1920s illustration of 55 Broadway 55 Broadway, 1930 The Library, 1952 Sculptures Epstein's Day Epstein's Night Gerrard's North Wind Gill's North Wind Gill's East Wind Wyon's East Wind Aumonier's South Wind Gill's South Wind Moore's West Wind Rabinovitch's West Wind Henry Moore carving West Wind, 1928 Jacob Epstein with Night during its carving, 1929 Underground Journeys: The Heart of London Illustrated history of 55 Broadway, from the Royal Institute of British Architects
Henry Graham Greene, better known by his pen name Graham Greene, was an English novelist regarded by many as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Combining literary acclaim with widespread popularity, Greene acquired a reputation early in his lifetime as a major writer, both of serious Catholic novels, of thrillers, he was shortlisted, for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Through 67 years of writings, which included over 25 novels, he explored the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world through a Catholic perspective. Although Greene objected to being described as a Roman Catholic novelist, rather than as a novelist who happened to be Catholic, Catholic religious themes are at the root of much of his writing the four major Catholic novels: Brighton Rock, The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter, The End of the Affair. Several works, such as The Confidential Agent, The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, The Human Factor, his screenplay for The Third Man show Greene's avid interest in the workings and intrigues of international politics and espionage.
Greene was born in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire into a large, influential family that included the owners of the Greene King Brewery. He boarded at Berkhamsted School in Hertfordshire, where his father became headmaster. Unhappy at the school, he attempted suicide several times, he went up to Balliol College, Oxford, to study history, while an undergraduate, he published his first work in 1925—a poorly received volume of poetry, Babbling April. After graduating, Greene worked first as a private tutor and as a journalist – first on the Nottingham Journal and as a sub-editor on The Times, he converted to Catholicism in 1926 after meeting Vivien Dayrell-Browning. In life he took to calling himself a "Catholic agnostic", he published his first novel, The Man Within, in 1929. He supplemented his novelist's income with freelance journalism, book and film reviews, his 1937 film review of Wee Willie Winkie, commented on the sexuality of the nine-year-old star, Shirley Temple. This provoked Twentieth Century Fox to sue, prompting Greene to live in Mexico until after the trial was over.
While in Mexico, Greene developed the ideas for the Glory. Greene divided his fiction into two genres: thrillers—often with notable philosophic edges—such as The Ministry of Fear. Greene had a history of depression, which had a profound effect on personal life. In a letter to his wife, Vivien, he told her that he had "a character profoundly antagonistic to ordinary domestic life," and that "unfortunately, the disease is one's material." William Golding praised Greene as "the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man's consciousness and anxiety." He died in 1991, at age 86, of leukemia, was buried in Corseaux cemetery. Henry Graham Greene was born in 1904 in St. John's House, a boarding house of Berkhamsted School, where his father was housemaster, he was the fourth of six children. His parents, Charles Henry Greene and Marion Raymond Greene, were first cousins, both members of a large, influential family that included the owners of Greene King Brewery and statesmen. Charles Greene was second master at Berkhamsted School, where the headmaster was Dr Thomas Fry, married to Charles' cousin.
Another cousin was the right-wing pacifist Ben Greene, whose politics led to his internment during World War II. In his childhood, Greene spent his summers with his uncle, Sir William, at Harston House in Cambridgeshire. In Greene's description of his childhood, he describes his learning to read there: "It was at Harston I found quite I could read — the book was Dixon Brett, Detective. I didn't want anyone to know of my discovery, so I read only in secret, in a remote attic, but my mother must have spotted what I was at all the same, for she gave me Ballantyne's The Coral Island for the train journey home — always an interminable journey with the long wait between trains at Bletchley…" In 1910, Charles Greene succeeded Dr Fry as headmaster of Berkhamsted. Graham attended the school as a boarder. Bullied and profoundly depressed, he made several suicide attempts, including, as he wrote in his autobiography, by Russian roulette and by taking aspirin before going swimming in the school pool. In 1920, aged 16, in what was a radical step for the time, he was sent for psychoanalysis for six months in London, afterwards returning to school as a day student.
School friends included Claud Cockburn the journalist, Peter Quennell the historian. In 1922, Greene was for a short time a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, sought an invitation to the new Soviet Union, of which nothing came. In 1925, while he was an undergraduate at Balliol College, his first work, a poorly received volume of poetry titled Babbling April, was published. Greene suffered from periodic bouts of depression while at Oxford, kept to himself. Of Greene's time at Oxford, his contemporary Evelyn Waugh noted that: "Graham Greene looked down on us as childish and ostentatious, he shared in none of our revelry." He gradu
A chancellor is a leader of a college or university either the executive or ceremonial head of the university or of a university campus within a university system. In most Commonwealth and former Commonwealth nations, the chancellor is a ceremonial non-resident head of the university. In such institutions, the chief executive of a university is the vice-chancellor, who may carry an additional title, such as "president & vice-chancellor"; the chancellor may serve as chairman of the governing body. In many countries, the administrative and educational head of the university is known as the president, principal or rector. In the United States, the head of a university is most a university president. In U. S. university systems that have more than one affiliated university or campus, the executive head of a specific campus may have the title of chancellor and report to the overall system's president, or vice versa. In both Australia and New Zealand, a chancellor is the chairman of a university's governing body.
The chancellor is assisted by a deputy chancellor. The chancellor and deputy chancellor are drawn from the senior ranks of business or the judiciary; some universities have a visitor, senior to the chancellor. University disputes can be appealed from the governing board to the visitor, but nowadays, such appeals are prohibited by legislation, the position has only ceremonial functions; the vice-chancellor serves as the chief executive of the university. Macquarie University in Sydney is a noteworthy anomaly as it once had the unique position of Emeritus Deputy Chancellor, a post created for John Lincoln upon his retirement from his long-held post of deputy chancellor in 2000; the position was not an honorary title, as it retained for Lincoln a place in the University Council until his death in 2011. Canadian universities and British universities in Scotland have a titular chancellor similar to those in England and Wales, with day-to-day operations handled by a principal. In Scotland, for example, the chancellor of the University of Edinburgh is Anne, Princess Royal, whilst the current chancellor of the University of Aberdeen is Camilla, Duchess of Rothesay.
In Canada, the vice-chancellor carries the joint title of "president and vice-chancellor" or "rector and vice-chancellor." Scottish principals carry the title of "principal and vice-chancellor." In Scotland, the title and post of rector is reserved to the third ranked official of university governance. The position exists in common throughout the five ancient universities of Scotland with rectorships in existence at the universities of St Andrews, Aberdeen and Dundee, considered to have ancient status as a result of its early connections to the University of St Andrews; the position of Lord Rector was given legal standing by virtue of the Universities Act 1889. Rectors appoint a rector's assessor a deputy or stand-in, who may carry out their functions when they are absent from the university; the Rector chairs meetings of the university court, the governing body of the university, is elected by the matriculated student body at regular intervals. An exception exists at Edinburgh, where the Rector is elected by staff.
In Finland, if the university has a chancellor, he is the leading official in the university. The duties of the chancellor are to promote sciences and to look after the best interests of the university; as the rector of the university remains the de facto administrative leader and chief executive official, the role of the chancellor is more of a social and historical nature. However some administrative duties still belong to the chancellor's jurisdiction despite their arguably ceremonial nature. Examples of these include the appointment of new docents; the chancellor of University of Helsinki has the notable right to be present and to speak in the plenary meetings of the Council of State when matters regarding the university are discussed. Despite his role as the chancellor of only one university, he is regarded as the political representative of Finland's entire university institution when he exercises his rights in the Council of State. In the history of Finland the office of the chancellor dates all the way back to the Swedish Empire, the Russian Empire.
The chancellor's duty was to function as the official representative of the monarch in the autonomous university. The number of chancellors in Finnish universities has declined over the years, in vast majority of Finnish universities the highest official is the rector; the remaining universities with chancellors are University of Åbo Akademi University. In France, chancellor is one of the titles of the rector, a senior civil servant of the Ministry of Education serving as manager of a regional educational district. In his capacity as chancellor, the rector awards academic degrees to the university's gradua
Kensington is a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, West London, England. The district's commercial heart is Kensington High Street, running on an east-west axis; the north east is taken up by Kensington Gardens, containing the Albert Memorial, the Serpentine Gallery and Speke's monument. South Kensington is home to Imperial College London, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Albert Hall; the area is home to many European embassies. The manor of Chenesitone is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, which in the Anglo-Saxon language means "Chenesi's ton". One early spelling is Kesyngton, as written in 1396; the manor of Kensington in the county of Middlesex, was one of several hundred granted by King William the Conqueror to Geoffrey de Montbray, Bishop of Coutances in Normandy, one of his inner circle of advisors and one of the wealthiest men in post-Conquest England. He granted the tenancy of Kensington to his follower Aubrey de Vere I, holding the manor from him as overlord in 1086, according to the Domesday Book.
The bishop's heir, Robert de Mowbray, rebelled against King William II and his vast feudal barony was forfeited to the Crown. Aubrey de Vere I thus became a tenant-in-chief, holding directly from the king after 1095, which increased his status in feudal England, he granted the church and an estate within the manor to Abingdon Abbey in Oxfordshire, at the deathbed request of his eldest son Geoffrey. As the de Veres became Earls of Oxford, their principal manor at Kensington came to be known as Earl's Court, as they were not resident in the manor, their manorial business was not conducted in the great hall of a manor house but in a court house. In order to differentiate it, the new sub-manor granted to Abingdon Abbey became known as Abbot's Kensington and the church St Mary Abbots; the original Kensington Barracks, built at Kensington Gate in the late 18th century, were demolished in 1858 and new barracks were built in Kensington Church Street. The focus of the area is Kensington High Street, a busy commercial centre with many shops upmarket.
The street was declared London's second best shopping street in February 2005 due to its wide range and number of shops. However, since October 2008 the street has faced competition from the Westfield shopping centre in nearby White City. Kensington's second group of commercial buildings is at South Kensington, where several streets of small to medium-sized shops and service businesses are situated close to South Kensington tube station; this is the southern end of Exhibition Road, the thoroughfare which serves the area's museums and educational institutions. The boundaries of Kensington are not well-defined. To the west, a border is defined by the line of the Counter Creek marked by the West London railway line. To the north, the only obvious border line is Holland Park Avenue, to the north of, the district of Notting Hill classed as within "North Kensington". In the north east is situated the large public Royal Park of Kensington Gardens; the other main green area in Kensington is Holland Park, on the north side of the eastern end of Kensington High Street.
Many residential roads have small communal garden squares, for the exclusive use of the residents. South Kensington largely comprises private housing. North Kensington and West Kensington are devoid of features to attract the visitor. Kensington is, in general, an affluent area, a trait that it shares with Chelsea, its neighbour to the south; the area has some of London's most expensive streets and garden squares, at about the turn of the 21st century the Holland Park neighbourhood became high-status. In early 2007 houses sold in Upper Phillimore Gardens east of Holland Park, for over £20 million. Brompton is another definable area of Kensington; the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea forms part of the most densely populated local government district in the United Kingdom. This high density has come about through the subdivision of large mid-rise Georgian and Victorian terraced houses into flats; the less-affluent northern extremity of Kensington has high-rise residential buildings, while this type of building in the southern part is only represented by the Holiday Inn's London Kensington Forum Hotel in Cromwell Road, a 27-storey building.
Notable attractions and institutions in Kensington include: Kensington Palace in Kensington Gardens. The Olympia Exhibition Hall is just over the western border in West Kensington. Kensington is administered within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, lies within the Kensington parliamentary constituency; the head office of newspaper group DMGT is located in Northcliffe House off Kensington High Street in part of the large Barkers department store building. In addition to housing the offices for the DMGT newspapers Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Metro, Northcliffe House accommodates the offices of the newspapers owned by Evgeny Lebedev: The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, the Evening Standard; the i newspaper, sold to Johnston Press in 2016, is still produced from offices in Northcliffe House. Most of these titles were for many decades produced and printed in Fl
Sir John Major is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997. He served as Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Thatcher Government from 1989 to 1990, was the Member of Parliament for Huntingdon from 1979 until his retirement in 2001. Since the death of Margaret Thatcher in 2013, Major has been the oldest living former Prime Minister. Born in St Helier, Major grew up in Brixton, he worked as an insurance clerk, at the London Electricity Board, before becoming an executive at Standard Chartered. He was first elected to the House of Commons at the 1979 general election as the Member of Parliament for Huntingdon, he served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary, Assistant Whip and as a Minister for Social Security. In 1987, he joined the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was promoted to Foreign Secretary two years later. Just three months in October 1989, he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, where he presented the 1990 budget.
Major became Prime Minister after Thatcher's reluctant resignation in November 1990. He presided over British participation in the Gulf War in March 1991, negotiated the Maastricht Treaty in December 1991, he went on to lead the Conservatives to a record fourth consecutive electoral victory, winning the most votes in British electoral history with over 14,000,000 votes at the 1992 general election, albeit with a reduced majority in the House of Commons. Shortly after this though a staunch supporter of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, his government became responsible for British exit from the ERM after Black Wednesday on 16 September 1992; this event led to a loss of confidence in Conservative economic policies and Major was never able to achieve a lead in opinion polls again. Despite the eventual revival of economic growth amongst other successes such as the beginnings of the Northern Ireland peace process, by the mid-1990s, the Conservative Party was embroiled in scandals involving various MPs.
Criticism of Major's leadership reached such a pitch that he chose to resign as party leader in June 1995, challenging his critics to either back him or challenge him. By this time, the Labour Party had abandoned its socialist ideology and moved to the centre under the leadership of Tony Blair and won a large number of by-elections depriving Major's government of a parliamentary majority in December 1996. Major went on to lose the 1997 general election five months in one of the largest electoral defeats since the Great Reform Act of 1832. Major was succeeded by William Hague as Leader of the Conservative Party in June 1997, he went on to retire from active politics, leaving the House of Commons at the 2001 general election. In 1999, a BBC Radio 4 poll ranked. Major was born on 29 March 1943 at St Helier Hospital and Queen Mary's Hospital for Children in St Helier, the son of Gwen Major and former music hall performer Tom Major-Ball, sixty-three years old when Major was born, he was christened "John Roy Major" but only "John Major" was recorded on his birth certificate.
He used his middle name until the early 1980s. Major grew up in Longfellow Road, Worcester Park, where he attended primary school at Cheam Common and from 1954, he attended Rutlish School, a grammar school in the London Borough of Merton. In 1955, with his father's garden ornaments business in decline, the family moved to Brixton; the following year, Major watched his first debate in the House of Commons, where Harold Macmillan presented his only Budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer, has attributed his political ambitions to that event. He credited a chance meeting with former Prime Minister Clement Attlee on the King's Road shortly afterwards. Major left school just before his 16th birthday in 1959 with three O-levels in History, English Language and English Literature, he gained three more O-levels by correspondence course, in the British Constitution and Economics. Major's first job was as a clerk in the London based insurance brokerage firm Pratt & Sons in 1959. Disliking this job, he resigned.
Major joined the Young Conservatives in Brixton at this time. Major was nineteen years old when his father died, at the age of eighty-two on 27 March 1962, his mother died eight and a half years in September 1970, at the age of sixty-five. After Major became Prime Minister, it was misreported that his failure to get a job as a bus conductor resulted from his failing to pass a maths test, he had been passed over owing to his height. After a period of unemployment, Major started working at the London Electricity Board in 1963, where incidentally his successor as Prime Minister, Tony Blair worked when he was young, he decided to undertake a correspondence course in banking. Major took up a post as an executive at the Standard Chartered Bank in May 1965 and he rose through the ranks, he was sent to work in Jos, Nigeria, by the bank in 1967 and he nearly died in a car accident there. Major was interested in politics from an early age. Encouraged by fellow Conservative Derek Stone, he started giving speeches on a soap-box in Brixton Market.
He stood as a candidate for Lambeth London Borough Council at the age of 21 in 1964, was elected in the Conservative landslide in 1968. While on the Council he was Chairman of the Housing Committee, being responsible for overseeing the building of several large council housing estates, he lost his seat in 1971. Major was an active Young Conserv