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 or Harrow 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 Women of Downing Street.note
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.
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) — First PM; also longest-serving PM
- 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) — youngest PM, taking office at the age of 24
- Henry Addington (Tory, 1801-04)
- William Pitt The Younger (Tory, 1804-06)
- Lord Grenville (Whig, 1806-07)
- 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) — Congress of Vienna and Treaties of Paris, end of The Napoleonic Wars and beginning of the century-long Pax Britannica; longest-serving PM of the 19th century, no PM since has served a longer term
- George Canning (Tory, April-August 1827)
- Viscount Goderich (Tory, 1827-28)
- The Duke of Wellington (Tory, 1828-30)
- The Earl Grey (Whig, 1830-34) — passed the Great Reform Act and abolished slavery throughout the British Empire; also lent his name to a popular blend of tea
- 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) — only PM to serve four non-consecutive terms; oldest PM, retiring at the age of 84
- Earl of Rosebery (Liberal, 1894-95)
- Marquess of Salisbury (Conservative/Unionist, 1895-1902) — last PM to govern from the House of Lords; last PM to serve three non-consecutive terms; last PM to not also be First Lord of the Treasury
- Arthur Balfour (Conservative/Unionist, 1902-05)
- Henry Campbell-Bannerman (Liberal 1905-08) — first PM to officially use the title
- Herbert Henry Asquith (Liberal, 1908-16) — the (first) PM of World War I
- David Lloyd George (Liberal, 1916-22) — second PM of World War I, represented the United Kingdom at the Paris Peace Conference, and last Liberal Prime Minster; the party split over the issue of Irish independence.
- 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) — passed the Statute of Westminster, granting the Dominions effective political and legislative independence from the British Empire
- Stanley Baldwin (Conservative 1935-37) — Edward VIII abdication crisis
- Neville Chamberlain (Conservative, 1937-40) — forever associated with Head-in-the-Sand Management thanks to his signing of the Munich Agreement, stayed on after the invasion of Poland but resigned after the fall of Norway; last PM to never face the electorate as party leader or at any point during his term
- Winston Churchill (Conservative, 1940-45) — the PM of World War II. Won the War, Lost the Peace(time general election of 1945).
- Clement Attlee (Labour, 1945-51) — introduced the National Health Service, the first universal health care system in history, and bulwark of the modern welfare state
- Winston Churchill (Conservative, 1951-55)
- Anthony Eden (Conservative, 1955-57) — resigned over the Suez Crisis, which effectively marked the end of the British Empire as a geopolitical concept (and British aspirations to superpower status alongside the USA and USSR)
- 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) — took Britain into the Common Market; most recent PM to enter and exit office by means of a general election
- Harold Wilson (Labour, 1974-76) — last PM to be returned to office after a defeat; last PM to leave office voluntarilynote
- James Callaghan (Labour, 1976-79)
- Margaret Thatcher (Conservative, 1979-90) — The first woman of Downing Street, but many humorists felt she was more manly than her entire Cabinet; longest-serving PM of the 20th century
- John Major (Conservative, 1990-97)
- Tony Blair (Labour, 1997-2007)
- Gordon Brown (Labour, 2007-2010)
- David Cameron (Conservative, 2010-16) — First coalition government (with the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg) since the Second World War; returned to single-party government in 2015, albeit with a tiny majority. Won the referenda on the Alternative Vote (he supported NO) and Scottish independence (he supported NO); lost the referendum on continued UK membership of the EU (he supported REMAIN)
- Theresa May (Conservative, 2016-present) — The second woman of Downing Street, taking over from David Cameron following the EU Referendum; following losses in a snap election in 2017, a minority government supported by the DUP