Jim Callaghan Centenary Exhibition

A small exhibit of manuscripts from Jim Callaghan's archive (now held by the Bodleian Library) was put on display for the Centenary event. A selected gallery of these manuscripts is below.

Full exhibition captions for each image are available underneath the gallery.

Full captions

Images 1-2

Jim Callaghan was a member of the delegation from the UK branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association visiting the Federation of Rhodesia & Nyasaland (today’s Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi), 25 Aug-26 September, 1957. Schools feature strongly in the morning programme for 10 September. There were also meetings with local politicians and an article to be written for the British Sunday newspaper Reynolds News. Callaghan papers box 275

Images 3-4

In March 1976 Harold Wilson announced he was standing down as Prime Minister. Callaghan, having won the ensuing leadership election on the third ballot, succeeded him on 5 April 1976.This HMSO notebook records conversations held between 31 March and 7 April. Particularly interesting are those with two of the defeated leadership candidates, Michael Foot on 5 April, and Roy Jenkins on 7 April; the latter pointing to his (temporary) departure from British politics. Callaghan papers box 114

Images 5-8

Transcription of Callaghan’s conversation with the West German Chancellor, Herr Helmut Schmidt in October 1976 just after the latter’s electoral victory and as Britain’s sterling crisis gathered pace. Callaghan and Schmidt, past finance ministers; social democrats, and good friends, enjoyed a close working relationship. Schmidt was supportive and sympathetic but ultimately Britain had to accept the terms of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  Master set of “T” messages. Callaghan papers box 197.

Images 9-12

Among the working papers for his memoirs Time and Chance (1987) is this summary of the process which produced his now famous October 1976 Ruskin speech. The speech attracted controversy from the outset.  In highlighting the national importance of education its impact stretched far beyond Callaghan’s premiership. Callaghan papers Ruskin and later speeches box.

Images 13-17

‘End of Century problems’, 15 November 1987. A far-sighted contribution to the World Forum at Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire.  Among the topics Lord Callaghan addressed were the impact of computers on daily life; education, the environment and the future:‘ language & systems standardisation; privacy & theft of information; can Info be kept “private”; teach youngsters Maths & foreign languages  very early, and “ We have borrowed the world from the next generation”. Callaghan papers Ruskin and later speeches box.


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