10 Downing Street features

H&P is working in partnership with the Prime Minister's Office to revitalise the history content of the Number 10 Downing Street website.

In a project launched in February 2012, historians from the H&P Network have been delving behind the famous front door of Number 10 Downing Street to bring to life the fascinating history of the house in a dynamic new history section for the Number 10 website.

Lively new biographies of previous Prime Ministers, an exciting monthly feature by expert historians and fresh content on the history of Downing Street itself are among the new features. H&P is continuing to work with Number 10 to publish new material during 2013.

For the full story, read the H&P news release [PDF file].

Go to the Number 10 website to read guest historians' articles and biographies of past Prime Ministers.

Latest features

Clement Attlee: enigmatic, out of time - and formidable

11 March 2014

Dr Robert Crowcroft, of Edinburgh University, examines the formidable political skills of Clement Attlee, best known for implementing ambitious and controversial economic and social legislation after the Second World War. Less commonly known is his impressive record as Deputy Prime Minister to Winston Churchill during the war.

Clement Attlee: enigmatic, out of time and formidable

'We shall fight on the beaches': unpicking Churchill's oratorical success

2 December 2013

It is one of Winston Churchill's most famous speeches, yet is not well understood, important parts are often forgotten and many myths surround it. Professor Richard Toye, of Exeter University, considers the context in which it was delivered delivered on 4 June 1940, the response from the House of Commons and public, and the oratorical characteristics that contributed to Churchill's fame.

'We shall fight on the beaches': three things you never knew about Churchill's most famous speech

The Prime Ministers' people

17 October 2013

Behind every Prime Minister there are other people 'at Power's Elbow'. Who were the aides and advisers to earlier PMs and what role did they play? Professor George Jones, of LSE, and Dr Andrew Blick, of King's College London, consider the staffing arrangements and working practices of three celebrated PMs: Robert Walpole, William Gladstone and Winston Churchill.

The Prime Ministers' people: indispensable aides to three premiers

We're all going on a summer holiday…to Hanover

27 August 2013

Summer breaks have not only been contentious for British Prime Ministers. In the eighteenth century, when Britain's Hanoverian monarchs frequently returned to their homeland, there was ministerial discontent and popular unease at such absences. Dr Andrew Thompson, of Cambridge University, explains the challenges of governing the country during the King's summer sojourn and how this enhanced the emerging role of Prime Minister.

Read the article: We're all going on a summer holiday…to Hanover

'We wanted to wake him up': Mrs Pankhurst, Lloyd George and suffragette militancy

4 July 2013

'I have advised, I have incited, I have conspired', announced Emmeline Pankhurst after the bombing of David Lloyd George's Surrey home in February 1913. It marked a new stage in the women's suffrage campaign according to Elizabeth Crawford. Almost exactly five years after the bomb attack, the Representation of the People Bill was passed, for first time allowing women not only to elect MPs but also to stand for election to Parliament.

Read the article: 'We wanted to wake him up': Mrs Pankhurst, Lloyd George and suffragette militancy

Upsetting the gentlemen's club

8 May 2013

When Margaret Thatcher entered the House of Commons in 1959 she was one of 25 women among 605 men. She overcame considerable prejudice against women in politics during her extraordinary career. Dr Ben Griffin, of Cambridge University, reflects on the uneven erosion of sexual inequality in British parliamentary politics.

Read the article: Thatcher and the glass ceiling

Disraeli's flowery history

26 April 2013

Benjamin Disraeli's coffin was lowered to the ground 132 years ago today - among the floral tributes, a primrose wreath from Queen Victoria. In the latest article for the Downing Street website, Tom Crewe, of Cambridge University, considers 'the unusual bond' forged between Prime Minister and sovereign - and Disraeli's primrose legacy catalysed by Victoria.

Read the article: Disraeli's flowery history

George III and his Prime Ministers

27 March 2013

The long reign of George III proved very important to the development of the modern idea of the Prime Minister. Professor Jeremy Black of Exeter University investigates.

Read the article: George III and his Prime Ministers

Prime Ministers in the House of Lords

6 March 2013

Kathryn Rix from the History of Parliament Trust reminds us that until the early 20th century, it was not unusual for Prime Ministers to govern from the House of Lords, and explores how the centre of political gravity has since shifted to the House of Commons.

Read the article: Prime Ministers in the House of Lords

The Aberdeen Coalition

23 January 2013

Oxford University Professor of Modern History, Angus Hawkins, examines the Aberdeen Coalition of 1852-55, a 'tessellated pavement' of Whigs, Liberals, Peelites and one Radical. With the exception of Gladstone's 1853 Budget, the Coalition proved a political disappointment. Yet it foreshadowed the merging of political elements which led to the foundation of the parliamentary Liberal Party in 1859.

Read the article: The Aberdeen Coalition

The first royal Christmas broadcast

20 December 2012

Matthew Glencross considers the role of Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald and the BBC in encouraging a reluctant George V to broadcast the first personal message by a British monarch at Christmas - and to make it an annual tradition, uninterrupted for 80 years.

Read the article: The first Christmas speech - 80 years on

Prime Ministers and their Chancellors

6 December 2012

The relationship between Prime Minister and Chancellor is one of the most important, and potentially the most problematic, in Government, argues Richard Toye of Exeter University, taking Gladstone's conflict with Palmerston as his starting point.

Read the article: Prime Ministers and their Chancellors

Prime Ministers and their Foreign Secretaries

28 November 2012

From Lord Liverpool and Lord Castlereagh to Clement Attlee and Ernest Bevin, Professor John Bew examines what lies behind a good working relationship between a Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary in the latest article for the No. 10 Downing Street website. Prof Bew, Reader in History and Foreign Policy at the War Studies Department, King's College London, offers revealing insights into this complex and sometimes fractious relationship.

Read the article: Prime Ministers and their Foreign Secretaries

Prime Ministers and the Constitution

15 October 2012

Professor Robert Hazell of UCL discusses Prime Ministers' engagement with the British Constitution and its reform, from the Duke of Wellington and Catholic Emancipation through to Tony Blair and devolution.

Read the article: Prime Ministers and the Constitution

Margaret Thatcher and the Joint Intelligence Committee

30 August 2012

Ian B. Beesley, Official Historian in the Cabinet Office, and Michael S. Goodman, of the War Studies Department, King's College London, explore Margaret Thatcher's interest in intelligence gathering, from becoming the first Prime Minister to attend the Joint Intelligence Committee, to the fall-out from the surprise invasion of the Falkland Islands.

Read the article: Margaret Thatcher and the Joint Intelligence Committee

Prime Ministers and the Olympic Games

26 July 2012

In H&P's latest article for the No. 10 website, Plymouth University historian Kevin Jefferys discusses the changing relationship between Prime Ministers and the Olympic Games, from Herbert Asquith's hands-off approach to the 1908 London Games to David Cameron's hands-on approach today.

Read the article: Prime Ministers and the Olympic Games

Queen Elizabeth and her Twelve Prime Ministers

1 June 2012

Friendliness not friendship was James Callaghan's perception of what the Queen provided to her Prime Ministers. In the latest article for the No. 10 Downing Street website, published today, D R Thorpe considers the different working relations between the Queen and successive Prime Ministers, from Churchill to Cameron, in her 60-year reign.

Read D R Thorpe's article: Queen Elizabeth and her Twelve Prime Ministers

No. 10 under Lloyd George

25 May 2012

Kenneth O. Morgan considers the personal and the political in David Lloyd George's leadership of the Conservative-Liberal Coalition Government of 1916-1922. Published today on the No. 10 Downing Street website, this article is part of the monthly series arising from the H&P partnership with No. 10 to revitalize the history content of the Downing Street website.

Read Lord Morgan's article: No. 10 Under Lloyd George, 1916-1922

Maurice Hankey: 'supreme organiser and creative bureaucrat'

18 April 2012

Jock Gardner's new article for the No. 10 Downing Street website considers the role of military officer-turned-Cabinet Secretary, Maurice Hankey (1877-1963), architect of the Cabinet Office in modern British government. This article is the latest in a series arising from the partnership between H&P and No. 10 to revitalize the history content of the Downing Street website.

Read Jock Gardner's article: Maurice Hankey: architect of modern government

Prime Ministers and Presidents: special relationships

14 March 2012

David Reynolds' new article for the No. 10 Downing Street website explores the personal dimensions of relations between British Prime Ministers and American Presidents, including Churchill and Roosevelt, Macmillan and Kennedy, and Thatcher and Reagan. The article - part of a monthly series by expert historians - arises from the new collaboration between H&P and the Prime Minister's Office, which is designed to bring to life the fascinating history behind the famous black door. As well as featuring in the official No. 10 newsletter, Reynolds' article is highlighted by the White House blog, as David Cameron visits the US.

Read David Reynolds' article: Prime Ministers and Presidents: special relationships

Read the White House blog: Preparing for an Official Visit from the United Kingdom

History & Policy helps historians to the heart of government

2 February 2012

Historians from the H&P Network have been delving behind the famous front door of Number 10 Downing Street to bring to life the fascinating history of the house in a dynamic new history section for the Number 10 website. Lively new biographies of previous Prime Ministers, an exciting monthly feature by expert historians and fresh content on the history of Downing Street itself are among the features launched today. H&P will be working with Number 10 throughout 2012 to publish more new material.

For the full story, read the H&P news release

Read Andrew Blick and George Jones' articles on: The Cabinet Secretary: a tale of three roles and The Institution of Prime Minister

Read Kevin Theakston's article on: Former Prime Ministers

Scroll through the past Prime Ministers section to read Andrew Thompson's new biography of Robert Walpole.

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