Edward Heath was born at 54 Albion Road, Broadstairs, Kent on 9 July 1916, the son of William George Heath (1888–1976), a carpenter who built airframes for Vickers during the First World War, and was subsequently employed as a builder and Edith Anne Heath (née Pantony; 1888–1951), a lady's maid.
Oct 04, 2017 · Edward Heath, seen aboard Morning Cloud in 1971, was a world-class yachtsman The lifelong bachelor was famed for his love of music and sailing, in which he competed at international level.
- Early Life
- Political Career
- Joining Europe
- Other Interests
Edward Heath was from a working class family, the son of a carpenter and a maid. He was the first of two important post-World War II prime ministers to come from the lower ranks of society (the other being Margaret Thatcher). Heath went to a grammar school in Ramsgate, and won a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford. Heath was a talented musician, and won the college's organ scholarshipin his first term. This enabled him to stay at the university for a fourth year. He eventually graduated with in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) in 1939. Heath served in the army in WWII, starting as a second lieutenant in the Royal Artillery. In 1944 he took part in the Normandy Landings. Heath was eventually demobilised (left the army) as a lieutenant-colonelin 1947. After a spell in the Civil Service, Heath won a seat as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bexley in the February 1950 general election.
Heath's early appointments were as a whip in the Conservative Party in the House of Commons. He rose to be Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury from 1955 to 1959. Harold Macmillan appointed him Minister of Labour, a Cabinetpost, in 1959. In 1960 Macmillan gave Heath responsibility for negotiating the UK's first attempt to join the European Economic Community (as the European Union was then called). After extensive negotiations, the British entry was vetoed by the French President, Charles de Gaulle. From 1965 to 1970 Heath was Leader of the Opposition when the Labour Party were in power. Then he was elected Prime Minister in the General Election of 1970. During his premiership the UK government passed through parliament some quite radical changes.
Heath took the United Kingdom into Europe with the European Communities Act 1972in October. Once de Gaulle had left office, Heath was determined to get the UK into the (then) European Economic Community. The EEC economy had also slowed down and British membership was seen as a way to revitalise it. After a 12-hour talk between Heath and French President Georges PompidouBritain's third application succeeded.
Heath never married. He had been expected to marry childhood friend Kay Raven, who reportedly tired of waiting and married an RAF officer whom she met on holiday in 1950. In a four-sentence paragraph of his memoirs, Heath claimed that he had been too busy establishing a career after the war and had "perhaps ... taken too much for granted". In a 1998 TV interview with Michael Cockerell, Heath admitted that he had kept her photograph in his flat for many years afterwards. His interest in music kept him on friendly terms with a number of female musicians including Moura Lympany. Lympany had thought Heath would marry her, but when asked about the most intimate thing he had done, replied, "He put his arm around my shoulder." Bernard Levin wrote at the time in The Observer, forgetting two other prime ministers who were bachelors with no known romantic interests, that the UK had to wait until the emergence of the permissive society for a prime minister who was a virgin. In later life, acco...
- Early Life
- Second World War
- Post War
- Member of Parliament
- Leader of The Opposition
- Prime Minister
- Fall from Power
- Later Career
- Illness and Death
Edward Heath (known as "Teddy" as a young man) was born at 54 Albion Road, Broadstairs, Kent, the son of William George Heath, a carpenter and builder, and Edith Anne Heath (née Pantony), a maid. His father was later a successful small businessman. He was educated at Chatham House Grammar School in Ramsgate and in 1935 with the aid of a county scholarship he went up to study at Balliol College, Oxford. A talented musician, he won the college's organ scholarship in his first term (he had previously tried for the organ scholarships at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and Keble College, Oxford) which enabled him to stay at the university for a fourth year; he eventually graduated with a Second Class Honours BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economicsin 1939. In later years, Heath's peculiar accent – with its "strangulated" vowel sounds, combined with his non-Standard pronunciation of "l" as "w" and "out" as "eout" – was satirised by the Monty Python's Flying Circus in the audio sketch "...
Heath spent the winter of 1939–40 on a debating tour of the United States before being called up, and early in 1941 was commissioned into the Royal Artillery. During the war he initially served with heavy anti-aircraft guns around Liverpool (which suffered heavy German bombing in May 1941) and by early 1942 was regimental adjutant, with the rank of Captain. Later, by then a Major commanding a battery of his own, he provided artillery support in the North-West Europe Campaign of 1944-1945. According to his autobiography Heath participated as an Adjutant in the Normandy Landings, where he met Maurice Schumann, French Foreign Minister under Pompidou. Heath later remarked that, although he did not personally kill anybody, as the British forces advanced he saw the devastation caused by his unit's artillery bombardments. In September 1945 he commanded a firing squad that executed a Polish soldier convicted of rape and murder. After demobilisation as a Lieutenant-colonel in August 1946, He...
Before the war Heath had won a scholarship to Gray's Inn and had begun making preparations for a career at the Bar, but after the war he instead passed top into the Civil Service. He then became a civil servant in the Ministry of Civil Aviation (he was disappointed not to be posted to the Treasury, but declined an offer to join the Foreign Office, fearing that foreign postings might prevent him from entering politics). He joined a team under (later, Dame) Alison Munro tasked with drawing up a scheme for British airports using some of the many WW2 RAF bases, and was specifically charged with planning the home counties. Years later she attributed his evident enthusiasm for Maplin Airport to this work. Then much to the surprise of civil service colleagues, he sought adoption as the prospective parliamentary candidate for Bexleyand resigned in November 1947. After working as News Editor of the Church Times from February 1948 to September 1949, Heath worked as a management trainee at the...
Heath made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 26 June 1950, in which he appealed to the Labour Government to participate in the Schuman Plan. As MP for Bexley, he gave enthusiastic speeches in support of the young, unknown candidate for neighbouring Dartford, Margaret Roberts, soon to become Margaret Thatcher. In February 1951, Heath was appointed as an Opposition Whip by Winston Churchill. He remained in the Whip's Office after the Conservatives won the 1951 general election, rising rapidly to Joint Deputy Chief Whip, Deputy Chief Whip and, in December 1955, Government Chief Whip under Anthony Eden. Because of the convention that Whips do not speak in Parliament, Heath managed to keep out of the controversy over the Suez Crisis. On the announcement of Eden's resignation, Heath submitted a report on the opinions of the Conservative MPs regarding Eden's possible successors. This report favoured Harold Macmillan and was instrumental in eventually securing Macmillan the premi...
After the Conservative Party lost the general election of 1964, the defeated Home changed the party leadership rules to allow for a MP ballot vote, and then resigned. The following year, Heath – who was Shadow Chancellor at the time, and had recently won favourable publicity for leading the fight against Labour's Finance Bill – unexpectedly won the party's leadership contest, gaining 150 votes to Reginald Maudling's 133 and Enoch Powell's 15.Heath became the Tories' youngest leader and retained office after the party's defeat in the general election of 1966. Heath sacked Enoch Powell from the Shadow Cabinet in April 1968, shortly after Powell made his controversial "Rivers of Blood"speech which criticised Commonwealth immigration to the United Kingdom. Heath never spoke to Powell again.
With another general election approaching in 1970 a Conservative policy document emerged from the Selsdon Park Hotel that, according to some historians, offered monetarist and free-market oriented policies as solutions to the country's unemployment and inflation problems. Heath stated that the Selsdon weekend only reaffirmed policies that had actually been evolving since he became leader of the Conservative Party. The prime minister, Harold Wilson, thought the document a vote-loser and dubbed it the product of Selsdon Man – after the supposedly prehistoric Piltdown Man – in order to portray it as reactionary. But Heath's Conservative Party won the general election of 1970 – 330 seats to Labour's 288. It was the only occasion since 1945 in which one party with a working majority had been replaced in a single election by another party with a working majority.[Clarification needed] The new cabinet included Margaret Thatcher (Education and Science), William Whitelaw (Leader of the House...
1974 general election
Heath tried to bolster his government by calling a general election for 28 February 1974, using the election slogan "Who governs Britain?". The result of the election was inconclusive with no party gaining an overall majority in the House of Commons; the Tories had the most votes but Labour had slightly more seats. Heath began negotiations with Jeremy Thorpe, leader of the Liberal Party but, when these failed, he resigned as Prime Minister on 4 March 1974, and was replaced by Wilson's minorit...
Rise of Thatcher
Heath came to be seen as a liability by many Conservative MPs, party activists and newspaper editors. His personality was cold and aloof, annoying even to his friends. He resolved to remain Conservative leader, even after two general election defeats in one year, and at first it appeared that by calling on the loyalty of his front bench colleagues he might prevail. In the weeks following the second election defeat, Heath came under tremendous pressure to concede a review of the rules and agre...
Heath for many years persisted in criticism of the party's new ideological direction. At the time of his defeat he was still popular with rank and file Conservative members and was warmly applauded at the 1975 Party Conference. He continued as a central figure on the left of the party and, at the 1981 Conservative Party conference, openly criticised the government's economic policies – namely monetarism, which had seen inflation cut from 27% in 1979 to 4% by 1983, but had seen unemployment double from around 1,500,000 to a postwar high of more than 3,000,000 during that time. He campaigned in the 1975 referendum in which Britain voted to remain part of the EEC and remained active on the international stage, serving on the Brandt Commission investigation into developmental issues, particularly on North-South projects (Brandt Report). In 1990 he flew to Baghdad to attempt to negotiate the release of aircraft passengers and other British nationals taken hostage when Saddam Hussein inva...
In August 2003, at the age of 87, Heath suffered a pulmonary embolism while on holiday in Salzburg, Austria. He never fully recovered, and owing to his declining health and mobility made very few public appearances in the final two years of his life. His last public appearance was at the unveiling of a set of gates to Sir Winston Churchillat St Paul's Cathedral on 30 November 2004. Heath paid tribute to James Callaghan who died on 26 March 2005, saying that "James Callaghanwas a major fixture in the political life of this country during his long and varied career. When in opposition he never hesitated to put firmly his party's case. When in office he took a smoother approach towards his supporters and opponents alike. Although he left the House of Commons in 1987 he continued to follow political life and it was always a pleasure to meet with him. We have lost a major figure from our political landscape". This was his last public statement. Heath died from pneumonia on the evening of...
In January 2006, it was announced that Heath had left his house and contents to the value of £5 million in his will, most of it to a charitable foundation to conserve his 18th-century house, Arundells, opposite Salisbury Cathedral, as a museum to his career. The house is open to the public for guided tours from March to October, and displayed is a large collection of personal effects as well as Heath's personal library, photo collections and paintings by Winston Churchill. In his will Heath, who had had no descendants, left only two legacies: £20,000 to his brother's widow, and £2,500 to his housekeeper.
Sir Edward Heath, in full Sir Edward Richard George Heath, (born July 9, 1916, Broadstairs, Kent, England—died July 17, 2005, Salisbury, Wiltshire), Conservative prime minister of Great Britain from 1970 to 1974.
From the Guardian archive Conservative students go wild as Edward Heath is dumped as patron – archive, 1985 2 April 1985: Closing the debate, conference was urged to ‘remove this scurrilous ...
Oct 15, 2017 · Sir Edward Heath KG MBE. Sir Edward was born on July 9 th, 1916, the son of a carpenter and a maid. His parents were probably very nice people, but in this case the apple fell some way from the tree. A grammar school boy, he went up to Balliol College Oxford in 1935.
- Michael Shrimpton