Useful Notes: The Men of Downing Street
And I say, that England's greatest Prime Minister was Lord Palmerston! Wade Boggs:
Pitt. The. Elder. Barney:
LORD PALMERSTON! Wade Boggs:
PITT! THE! ELDER! Barney:
Okay, you asked for it, Boggs! (punches him out) Moe:
Yeah, that's showing him Barney! Heh, 'Pitt the Elder'! Barney:
LORD PALMERSTON!! (punches Moe out)
British Prime Ministers. A varied lot, be it in the areas of appearance, influence, time, origin, personality, politics or even personal lives, though a lot went to Eton and then Oxbridge. They have had a great deal of impact on worlds both real and fictional and rank second only to The Presidents
in being the most influential and well known Western world leaders.
Downing Street, by the way, is named after Sir George Downing (1623-84), a major schemer whom Samuel Pepys
called a "perfidious rogue". Yep, jokes have been made about that. Before becoming the headquarters of the PM, Number Ten itself was the site of a pit used for cockerel fighting; that's right, Number Ten used to be a meeting place for crooks. Jokes have been made about that
as well. The house is actually several old houses joined together, one of which (known as 'the house at the back') was formerly home to both Oliver Cromwell
and King William III.
Note that the title "Prime Minister" did not come into formal use until the 20th century, the original title being First Lord of the Treasury (a lot of early Prime Ministers also held a second job in the cabinet), a title the PM still holds. Walpole is generally considered the first PM, but many early such figures did not use the title. In fact, the term "Prime Minister" was originally used as an insult for the figure. It was only by the time of Campbell-Bannerman that it became the official title.
Between about 1895 and 1920 the Conservatives and their Liberal Unionist allies were labeled 'Unionists' by the press (and indeed themselves). For convenience's sake Unionist PMs such as Balfour are listed as Conservatives. (Also, the Conservatives merged with Irish Unionists in the 1910s.)
As you will no doubt notice, technically this page should be called The Men and Woman
of Downing Street.
A list of British Prime Ministers, with pages linked for those who have had a significant impact in their own time and/or one in worlds of fiction.
Prime Ministers of the Kingdom of Great Britain
18th-century Prime Ministers came and went at a rate of knots, as the favours of the reigning monarch wavered. It wasn't until the "madness" of George III and the hedonistic rule of George IV (roughly 1810-1830) that the Prime Ministers began to actually run the country...
George I and II
- Sir Robert Walpole (Whig, 1721-42)
- Earl of Wilmington (Whig, 1742-43)
- Henry Pelham (Whig, 1743-54)
- Duke of Newcastle (Whig, 1754-56)
- Duke of Devonshire (Whig, 1756-57) — largely a figurehead for Pitt the Elder.
- Duke of Newcastle (Whig, 1757-62)
- Earl of Bute (Tory, 1762-63) — First Scottish PM
- George Grenville (Whig, 1763-65)
- Marquess of Rockingham (Whig, 1765-66)
- William Pitt The Elder (Whig, 1766-68) — also known as the Earl of Chatham.
- Duke of Grafton (Whig, 1768-70)
- Lord North (Tory, 1770-82)
- Marquess of Rockingham (Whig, March-July 1782) — recognised US independence.
- Earl of Shelburne (Whig, 1782-83) - made peace with US.
- Duke of Portland (Whig, April - December 1783)
- William Pitt The Younger (Tory, 1783-1801)
- Henry Addington (Tory, 1801-04)
- William Pitt The Younger (Tory, 1804-06)
- Lord Grenville (Whig, 1806-07)
Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
- Duke of Portland (Tory 1807-09) - Old and sick, Spencer Perceval ran the show.
- Spencer Perceval (Tory, 1809-12) — The only PM to be assassinated
- Lord Liverpool (Tory, 1812-27)
- The Earl Grey (Whig, 1830-34)
- Viscount Melbourne (Whig, July - November 1834)
- The Duke of Wellington (Tory, November - December 1834)
- Sir Robert Peel (Conservative, December 1834 - April 1835)
- Viscount Melbourne (Whig, 1835-41)
- Sir Robert Peel (Conservative, 1841-46)
- Earl Russell (Whig, 1846-52)
- The Earl Of Derby (Conservative, February - December 1852)
- The Earl Of Aberdeen (Peelite, 1852-55)
- The Viscount Palmerston (Whig, 1855-58)
- The Earl of Derby (Conservative, 1858-59)
- The Viscount Palmerston (Liberal, 1859-65)
- Earl Russell (Liberal, 1865-66)
- The Earl of Derby (Conservative, 1866-68)
- Benjamin Disraeli (Conservative, February - December 1868) — only ethnically Jewish PM
- William Gladstone (Liberal, 1868-74)
- Benjamin Disraeli (Conservative, 1874-80)
- William Gladstone (Liberal, 1880-1885)
- Marquess of Salisbury (Conservative, 1885-86)
- William Gladstone (Liberal, February - July 1886)
- Marquess of Salisbury (Conservative, 1886-92)
- William Gladstone (Liberal, 1892-94)
- Earl of Rosebery (Liberal, 1894-95)
- Marquess of Salisbury (Conservative/Unionist, 1895-1902)
- David Lloyd George (Liberal, 1916-22) — last Liberal Prime Minster: the party split over the issue of Irish independence.
Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- Andrew Bonar Law (Conservative, 1922-23) — The only PM born outside the British Isles, though still within the Empire (Canada, to be exact)
- Stanley Baldwin (Conservative, 1923-16 January 1924)
- Ramsay MacDonald (Labour, January - November 1924) — First Labour party Prime Minister
- Stanley Baldwin (Conservative, 1924-29)
- Ramsay MacDonald (Labour, 1929-31 then National Labour 1931-35)
- Stanley Baldwin (Conservative 1935-37) — Edward VIII abdication crisis.
- Anthony Eden (Conservative, 1955-57)
- Harold Macmillan (Conservative, 1957-63)
- Alec Douglas-Home (Conservative, 1963-64) — pronounced "Douglas-Hume"; the last Prime Minister to sit in the House of Lords (he renounced his peerage and finished his term in the Commons).
- Harold Wilson (Labour, 1964-70)
- Edward Heath (Conservative, 1970-74)
- Harold Wilson (Labour, 1974-76)
- James Callaghan (Labour, 1976-79)
- Margaret Thatcher (Conservative, 1979-90) — The only woman of Downing Street, but many humorists felt she was more manly than her entire Cabinet.
- John Major (Conservative, 1990-97)
- Tony Blair (Labour, 1997-2007)
- Gordon Brown (Labour, 2007-2010)
- David Cameron (Conservative, 2010-) — For the first time since the Second World War, Britain has a coalition government — in this case, between Cameron's Tories and the Liberal Democrats — meaning some concessions have had to be made, like Nick Clegg getting a top position in the coalition.