The Prime Ministers of Great Britain – a list

The first Prime Minister - Robert Walpole / historiasyvidas.com

The first Prime Minister – Robert Walpole / historiasyvidas.com

The first ‘Prime Minister’ to hold that title in Britain was Robert Walpole, a Whig. Before 1721 there were First Ministers, Lord Chancellors, Heads of the Council and other names for the chief adviser to the monarch, and (when there were sitting parliaments) the leader of the governing party, if such a thing existed. ‘Whigs’ became ‘Liberals’ in 1846 with Lord John Russell; ‘Tories’ became ‘Conservatives’ in 1834 with Robert Peel. In 1924 the first Labour Party Prime Minister was James Ramsay Macdonald. In 1935 Stanley Baldwin became the first of two Nationalist Party Prime Ministers. In1783 the Duke of Portland became the first of three Coalition (combination of two or more parties) Prime Ministers followed in 1915 by Asquith, and in 1916 by David Lloyd George. The word ‘Premier’ seems to be a 20th century invention, and its use is perfectly correct.

DATE NAME PARTY

1721 – 42              Robert Walpole                  Whig

1742 – 43             Spencer Compton               Whig

1743 – 54            Henry Pelham                      Whig

1754 – 56           Duke of Newcastle                Whig

1756 – 57          Duke of Devonshire               Whig

1757 – 62         Duke of Newcastle                 Whig

1762 – 63        Earl of Bute                              Tory

1763 – 65       George Grenville                      Whig

1765 – 76      Marquess of Rockingham        Whig

1766 – 70     Duke of Grafton                        Whig

1770 – 82     Lord North                                 Tory

1782           Marquess of Rockingham          Whig

1782 – 83   Earl of Shelburne                       Whig

1783           Duke of Portland                       Coal

1783- 1801 William Pitt                                Tory

1801 – 04  Henry Addington                        Tory

1804 – 06 William Pitt again                        Tory

1806 – 07 Lord Grenville                              Whig

1807 – 09 Duke of Portland again               Tory

1809 – 12 Spencer Percival                          Tory

1812 – 27 Earl of Liverpool                          Tory

1827         George Canning                          Tory

1827 – 28  Viscount Goderich                     Tory

1828 – 30  Duke of Wellington                    Tory

1830 – 04  Earl Grey                                   Whig

1834         Viscount Melbourne                 Whig

1834 – 35  Robert Peel                                Con

1835 – 41 Viscount Melbourne again       Whig

1841 – 46  Robert Peel again                     Con

1846 – 52  Lord John Russell                       Lib

1852         Earl of Derby                             Con

1852 – 55  Lord Aberdeen                    Peelite

1855 – 58  Viscount Palmerston                Lib

1858 – 59  Earl of Derby again                 Con

1859 – 65  Viscount Palmerston again      Lib

1865 – 66  Lord John Russell again           Lib

1866 – 68  Earl of Derby again                Con

1868        Benjamin Disraeli                    Con

1868 – 74  William E. Gladstone              Lib

1874 – 80  Benjamin Disraeli again        Con

1880 – 85  William E. Gladstone again     Lib

1885 – 86  Marquess of Salisbury           Con

1886       William E. Gladstone again        Lib

1886 – 92  Marquess of Salisbury again  Con

1892 – 94  William E. Gladstone again      Lib

1894 -95  Earl of Roseberry                        Lib

1895-1902  Marquess of Salisbury again Con

1902 – 05  Arthur J. Balfour                       Con

1905 – 08 Henry Campbell-Bannerman    Lib

1908 – 15 Herbert H. Asquith                     Lib

1915 – 16  Herbert H. Asquith =               Coal

1916 – 22  David Lloyd George                Coal

1922 – 23  Andrew Bonar Law                  Con

1923 – 24  Stanley Baldwin                       Con

1924       James Ramsay Macdonald         Lab

1924 – 29  Stanley Baldwin again             Con

1929 – 31 James R. Macdonald again       Lab

1931 – 35  James R. Macdonald again =   Nat

1935 – 37  Stanley Baldwin again =          Nat

1937 – 40  Arthur Neville Chamberlain    Nat

1940 – 45  Winston Churchill                   Coal

1945 – 51  Clement Attlee                          Lab

1951 – 55  Winston Churchill again =      Con

1955 – 57  Anthony Eden                          Con

1957 – 63  Harold Macmillan                  Con

1963 – 64  Alec Douglas-Home                Con

1964 – 70  Harold Wilson                         Lab

1970 – 74  Edward Heath                          Con

1974 – 76  Harold Wilson again                Lab

1976 – 79  James Callaghan                      Lab

1979 – 90  Margaret Thatcher                  Con

1990 – 97  John Major                               Con

1997 – 2007  Tony Blair                             Lab

2007 – 2010  Gordon Brown                     Lab

2010 –   David Cameron                            Con

Family names of those with senior titles:

Spencer Compton – Earl of Wilmington

Thomas Pelham-Holles – Duke of Newcastle

William Cavendish – Duke of Devonshire

John Stuart – Earl of Bute

Charles Watson Wentworth – Marquess of Rockingham

Augustus Henry Fitzroy – Duke of Grafton

William Petty Fitzmaurice – Earl of Shelburne

William Henry Cavendish – Duke of Portland

William Wyndham – Lord Grenville

Robert Banks Jenkinson – Earl of Liverpool

Frederick John Robinson – Viscount Goderich

Arthur Wellesley – Duke of Wellington

William Lamb – Viscount Melbourne

Edward George Stanley – Earl of Derby

George Hamilton-Gordon – Lord Aberdeen

Henry John Temple – Viscount Palmerston

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil – Marquess of Salisbury

Arhibald Philip Primrose – Earl of Roseberry

(Sir) Alec Douglas-Home – 14th Earl of Home (renounced)

(Special note: The term ‘Marquis’, meaning Marquess, is French, and the use of it in English is incorrect. Columnists and novelists take note)

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