Jim Callaghan Remembered

Centenary Reflections on Callaghan, Labour and Britain since 1912

The event

Convocation House, Bodleian Library, Oxford; Thursday 7 March 2013.

A joint event staged by the Bodleian Libraries, the History Faculty, University of Oxford, and Oxford University Press/Dictionary of National Biography marking the life of Jim Callaghan, Baron Callaghan (1912-2005). A leading campaigner against British colonialism during the 1950s, Callaghan became one of the key figures in the Wilson governments 1964-70 and 1974-6, holding all three of the most senior Cabinet posts: Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, and Foreign Secretary. From 1976 to 1979 he served as Prime Minister. In retirement, he was an active Elder Statesman. His private papers in the Bodleian Library are a major historical resource.

The event (which was open to all) was chaired by Dr Lawrence Goldman, editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. After papers by Dr Goldman, Lord (Kenneth) Morgan, Lord (Bernard) Donoughue; Lord (David) Owen, Andrew Smith MP, and Lord Callaghan’s son, Michael Callaghan, questions were taken from the audience. Baroness (Margaret) Jay, Lord Callaghan’s daughter, rounded off the evening with her recollections of her father.

The event concluded with a reception in the adjoining Divinity School. A selection of manuscripts from the Callaghan papers was on display in the Proscholium, the entrance to the Old Bodleian Library.

Audio recordings

Recordings of all the main speakers' contributions are available via the University of Oxford podcast page.

The question and answer session after the event was also recorded and the answers are available to stream or download:

Lord (Kenneth) Morgan and Lord (Bernard) Donoughue answer a question from the audience relating to the Crossman/Shackleton plan to reform the House of Lords in 1968 and 1969 and Callaghan’s interest in constitutional reform generally [MP3, 2.3MB]

Lord (David) Owen, Lord (Kenneth) Morgan and Lord (Bernard) Donoughue respond to a question on the importance of nonconformism to Jim Callaghan and the modern Labour Party [MP3, 3.3MB]

Lord (Bernard) Donoughue, Rt. Hon. Andrew Smith MP and Lord (David) Owen discuss the timing of Callaghan’s resignation as leader of the Labour Party following the election defeat of 1979 [MP3, 4MB]


A recording of the entire event had been added to the archive and can be made available to researchers on request.

Back to top