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Draft autobiography of Harold Wilson


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Manuscript and typed drafts of autobiography of Harold Wilson and supporting material.


  • Creation: c.1982- c.1988


5 boxes

0.35 Linear metres (5 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 16194/1]

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Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. 16194/1-5

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 16194


Draft autobiography of James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx (1916-1995), statesman

Biographical / Historical

Harold Wilson (1916-1995) was born and brought up in Huddersfield and, latterly, the Wirral. He won a history exhibition at Jesus College, Oxford but switched to PPE, obtaining a first. He was elected a junior research fellow of University College in 1938, after working with its master, William Beveridge for a year. At the beginning of World War 2 Wilson joined the temporary civil service, his statistical and administative skill being quickly recognized and leading to an appointment in the department of mines, part of the Board of Trade. He married (Gladys) Mary Wilson (b.1916) in 1940. He stood as a Labour candidate in 1945 and won at Ormskirk. He became one of the youngest cabinet ministers, as President of the Board of Trade from 1947 until 1951. In 1950 he fought and won the Huyton seat, which he retained until his resignation from the Commons in 1983.

Wilson was shadow Chancellor 1955-1961, and shadow Foreign Secretary 1961-1963. In February 1963 he was elected leader of the Labour Party, following the death of Hugh Gaitskell. He led the Party to Government in the 1964 General Election, and was re-elected in 1966, then losing to Edward Heath in 1970. He regained the premiership in March 1974 and retained it once again in October 1974. He resigned as Prime Minister in April 1976, shortly after his 60th birthday. He was created Baron Wilson of Rievaulx in 1983, and died in 1995.

For a fuller biography of Wilson, see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.


Original order has been maintained.

Catalogue of the draft autobiography of Harold Wilson
Rosemary Rey
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
1st edition

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom