Edward Heath

Edward Heath

Infobox Prime Minister
honorific-prefix = The Right Honourable
name = Sir Edward Heath
honorific-suffix =

imagesize = 250px
birth_date = birth date|df=yes|1916|7|9|
birth_place = Broadstairs, Kent, United Kingdom
death_date = death date and age|2005|07|17|1916|07|09|df=yes
death_place = Salisbury, Wiltshire, United Kingdom
office = Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
term_start =19 June 1970
term_end =4 March 1974
monarch = Elizabeth II
predecessor = Harold Wilson
successor = Harold Wilson
office2 = Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development, and President of the Board of Trade
term_start2 = 20 October 1963
term_end2 = 16 October 1964
primeminister2 = Alec Douglas-Home
predecessor2 = Fred Erroll
successor2 = Douglas Jay
office3 = Minister of Labour and National Service (until 1959)
Minister of Labour (from 1959)

term_start3 = 14 October 1959
term_end3 = 27 July 1960
primeminister3 = Harold Macmillan
predecessor3 = Iain MacLeod
successor3 = John Hare
alma_mater =Balliol College, Oxford
profession =Journalist/ Civil Servant
religion = Anglican
party = Conservative

Sir Edward Richard George Heath, KG, MBE (9 July 1916 – 17 July 2005), often known as Ted Heath, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and leader of the Conservative Party from 1965 to 1975. Heath's accession represented a change in the leadership of the Conservative party, from aristocratic figures such as Harold Macmillan and Lord Home to the self-consciously meritocratic Heath, and later, Margaret Thatcher.

He is most remembered as being the Prime Minister who took Britain into the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973. His premiership was also marked by an escalation of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, and industrial disputes, which led to the "three-day week" in 1974.

Early life

Ted (or "Teddy" as he was known as a young man) Heath was born the son of a carpenter and a maid from Broadstairs in Kent, England. His father was later a successful small businessman. He was educated at Chatham House Grammar School in Ramsgate, and also at The King's School, Canterbury for the Sixth form, where he was head boy, 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 Economics in 1939. In later life Heath's peculiar accent, with its "strangulated" vowel sounds, was a source of much comment; Heath's biographer John Campbell speculates that, unlike his father and younger brother, who both spoke with Kent accents, his speech must have undergone "drastic alteration on encountering Oxford".

While at university Heath became active in Conservative politics. However, on the key political issue of the day, foreign policy, he opposed the Conservative-dominated government of the day ever more openly. His first Paper Speech (i.e. a major speech listed on the order paper along with the visiting guest speakers) at the Oxford Union, in Michaelmas 1936, was in opposition to the appeasement of Germany by returning her colonies, confiscated after the First World War. In June 1937 he was elected President of the Oxford University Conservative Association as a pro-Spanish Republic candidate, in opposition to the pro-Franco John Stokes (later a Conservative MP). In 1937-8 he was also chairman of the national Federation of University Conservative Associations, and in the same year (his third at University) he was Secretary then Librarian of the Oxford Union. At the end of the year, however, he was defeated for the Presidency of the Oxford Union by another Balliol candidate, Alan Wood, on the issue of whether the Chamberlain government should give way to a left-wing Popular Front. On this occasion Heath supported the government.

In his final year Heath was President of Balliol College Junior Common Room, an office held in subsequent years by his near-contemporaries Denis Healey and Roy Jenkins, and as such was invited to support the Master of Balliol Alexander Lindsay, who stood as an anti-appeasement 'Independent Progressive' candidate against the official Conservative candidate, Quintin Hogg, in the October 1938 Oxford by-election. Heath, who had himself applied to be the Conservative candidate for the by-election [Heath, Edward. "The Course of My Life". London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1998, p58] , accused the government in an October Union Debate of "turning all four cheeks" to Hitler, and was elected as President of the Oxford Union in November 1938, sponsored by Balliol, after winning the Presidential Debate that "This House has No Confidence in the National Government as presently constituted". He was thus President in Hilary Term 1939; the visiting Leo Amery described him in his diaries as "a pleasant youth".

As an undergraduate, Heath travelled widely in Europe. His opposition to appeasement was nourished by his witnessing first-hand a Nazi Party Nuremberg rally in 1937, where he met top Nazis Hermann Göring, Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler at an SS cocktail party. He later described Himmler as "the most evil man I have ever met".Citequote|date=August 2008 In 1938 he visited Barcelona, then under attack from Spanish Nationalist forces. In the summer of 1939 he again travelled across Germany, returning to England just in time before the declaration of war.

World War II

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 in the Royal Artillery. During the Second World 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 now a major commanding a battery of his own, he provided artillery support in the European campaign of 1944-5. He later remarked that, although he did not personally kill anybody, as the British forces advanced he saw devastation which must have been caused by his unit's bombardments. In September 1945 he commanded a firing squad to execute a Polish soldier convicted of rape and murder, a fact which he did not reveal until his memoirs were published in 1998. After demobilisation as a lieutenant-colonel in August 1946 Heath joined the Honourable Artillery Company, in which he remained active throughout the 1950s, rising to Commanding officer of the Second Regiment; a portrait of him in full dress uniform still hangs in the Long Room. In April 1971, as Prime Minister, he wore his lieutenant-colonel's insignia to inspect troops.

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 [Heath, Edward. "The Course of My Life". London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1998, p111] ). He resigned in November 1947 after his adoption as the prospective parliamentary candidate for Bexley.

Member of Parliament

After working as Editor of the "Church Times" from 1948 to 1949, Heath worked as a management trainee at the merchant bankers Brown, Shipley & Co. until his election as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bexley in the February 1950 general election. In the election he defeated an old contemporary from the Oxford Union, Ashley Bramall, with a majority of 133 votes. 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.

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 Anthony 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 premiership in January 1957.Fact|date=May 2007 Macmillan later appointed Heath Minister of Labour after the successful October 1959 election.

Heath was appointed Lord Privy Seal in 1960 by Harold Macmillan with responsibility for the negotiations to secure the UK's first attempt to join the Common Market (as the European Community was then called). After extensive negotiations, involving detailed agreements about the UK's agricultural trade with Commonwealth countries such as New Zealand; British entry was vetoed by the French President, General de Gaulle, at a press conference in January 1963. After this setback, a major humiliation for Macmillan's foreign policy, Heath was not a contender for the party leadership on Macmillan's retirement in October 1963. Under Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home he was President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development, and oversaw the abolition of retail price controls.

Leadership bid

After the Conservative Party lost the general election of 1964, the defeated Douglas-Home changed the party leadership rules to allow for an 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. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/july/27/newsid_2956000/2956082.stm BBC ON THIS DAY | 27 | 1965: Heath is new Tory leader ] ] Heath became the Tories' youngest leader and retained office after the party's defeat in the general election of 1966.

Leader of the Opposition

Heath sacked Enoch Powell from the Shadow Cabinet in April 1968, shortly after Powell made his Rivers of Blood speech which criticised the recent mass immigration of Commonwealth immigrants to the United Kingdom and predicted dire consequences if such immigration continued.

Heath never spoke to him again. Powell hadn't notified Conservative Central Office of his intentions to deliver the speech, and this was put forward as one reason for his dismissal.

When Powell died on 8 February 1998, Heath was asked for his reaction, but he simply told the media: "I won't be making a statement."

Prime Minister

With another general election looming in 1970, a Conservative policy document emerged from the Selsdon Park Hotel, which according to some historians [Young, Hugo. "One Of Us" London: MacMillan, 1989] embraced fairly radical 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 which had actually been evolving since he became leader of the Conservative Party. Labour's Prime Minister Harold Wilson thought the document a vote loser and dubbed it "Selsdon Man" in the attempt to portray it as reactionary. But Heath's Conservative Party won the general election of 1970 in a victory seen as a personal triumph that surprised almost all contemporary commentators. Fact|date=February 2007

The new Cabinet contained some important future figures, including Margaret Thatcher (Education & Science), William Whitelaw (Leader of the House of Commons), and also an ex-Prime minister, Alec Douglas-Home, who filled the important brief of Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs.

As with all British governments in the 1970s, Heath's time in office was difficult. The government suffered an early blow with the death of Chancellor of the Exchequer Iain Macleod on 20 July 1970; his replacement Anthony Barber was a much less strong political personality. Heath's planned economic policy changes (including a significant shift from direct to indirect taxation) remained largely unimplemented; the Selsdon policy document was more or less abandoned as unemployment climbed by 1972 (the so-called "U-Turn"). From this point on, the economy was inflated in an attempt to bring unemployment down, resulting in the so-called "Barber Boom".

Heath did attempt to rein in an increasingly militant trade union movement, which had so far managed to stop legal attempts to curb their power under preceding Labour and Tory governments. Heath's Industrial Relations Act set up a special court under the judge Lord Donaldson, whose imprisonment of striking dockworkers was a public relations disaster which the Thatcher Government of the 1980s was to take pains to avoid, relying instead on confiscating the assets of unions found to have broken the law. Heath's attempt to confront trade union power only resulted in an unwinnable pitched political battle, hobbled as the government was by the country's galloping inflation and high unemployment rate. Especially damaging to the government's credibility was a confrontation with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), from which the union emerged victorious. Energy shortages infamously resulted in much of the country's industry working a three-day week in an attempt to conserve energy. The resulting breakdown of domestic consensus contributed to the eventual downfall of his government.

Heath's government did little to curtail welfare spending, yet at one point the squeeze in the education budget resulted in Margaret Thatcher, then Secretary of State for Education and Science, acting on the late Iain Macleod's wishes, further extending the restrictions (begun by the preceding Labour Government), upon free school milk removing it from 8 to 11 year olds. For this the tabloid press christened her "Thatcher the Milk Snatcher". [Young, Hugo. "One Of Us" London: MacMillan, 1989] She did however succeed in blocking Macleod's other posthumous Education policy of abolishing the Open University recently founded by the preceding Labour Government. [Young, Hugo. "One Of Us" London: MacMillan, 1989]

Heath's Government passed the 1972 Local Government Act, which changed the boundaries of England's counties and created "Metropolitan Counties" around the major cities (e.g. Merseyside around Liverpool); this caused a significant amount of anger from sections of the public and is still not fully embraced to this day. In some cases local pressure has since caused the boundary changes to be reversed, e.g. Weston-Super-Mare has ceased to be part of the newly-formed Avon (i.e. Greater Bristol) and is now once again part of Somerset. However, Heath did not divide England into regions, choosing instead to await the report of the Crowther Commission on the constitution; the ten Government Office Regions were eventually set up by the Major government in 1994.

Along with the changing of the "historic" (in fact they had been revised as recently as 1889) county boundaries, another reform implemented by the Heath Government added to an uneasy feeling of change: the decimalisation of British coinage, begun under the previous Labour Government, was completed eight months after he came to power. Old pence (known as "d" for denarii) were abolished, with one "silver" shilling being equal to five "New Pence" (Shilling and Two Shilling coins would remain in circulation as 5p and 10p until the early 1990s). A special edition of the relatively new 50p coin (introduced in 1969) showed a circle of linked hands to commemorate British entry into the Common Market. The acceleration of inflation made this change seem even more unsettling.

Foreign policy

Edward Heath took the United Kingdom into the European Community in 1973. In October 1973 he placed a British arms embargo on all combatants in the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur war; that mainly affected the Israelis in obtaining spares for the Centurion tank. He also officially recognised the People's Republic of China in 1972, visited Mao Zedong in Beijing in 1974 and 1975 and remained an honoured guest in China on frequent visits thereafter. Heath also maintained a good relationship with U.S. President Richard Nixon.


Heath governed during the bloodiest period in the history of the Northern Ireland Troubles. He was prime minister at the time of Bloody Sunday in 1972 when 14 unarmed men were killed by British soldiers during an illegal march in Derry. (In 2003, he gave evidence to the Saville Inquiry and stated that he never sanctioned unlawful lethal force in Northern Ireland.) In July 1972, he permitted his Secretary of State for Northern Ireland William Whitelaw to hold unofficial talks in London with a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) delegation by Seán Mac Stiofáin. In the aftermath of these unsuccessful talks, the Heath government pushed for a peaceful settlement with the democratic political parties.

The 1973 Sunningdale Agreement was strongly repudiated by many Unionists and the Ulster Unionist Party soon ceased to support the Conservative party at Westminster. This breakdown in co-operation largely accounted for Heath's eventual electoral defeat in 1974.

Heath was targeted by the IRA for introducing 'Internment' in Northern Ireland. In December 1974 the Balcombe Street ASU threw a bomb on to the first-floor balcony of his home in Wilton Street, Belgravia where it exploded. Heath had been conducting a Christmas carol concert in his constituency at Broadstairs, Kent, and arrived home 10 minutes after the bomb exploded. No one was injured in the attack, but a landscape portrait painted by Winston Churchill — given to Heath as a present — was damaged. [ [http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/H/history/t-z/year02.html Channel 4 - History - The Year London Blew Up ] ]

Fall from power

1974 general elections

A seven-week miners' strike in 1974 helped bring down the Conservative Government and cost Edward Heath the party leadership. [cite news | url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E01E1DB1E38F937A15752C0A964948260&sec=health&spon=&pagewanted=print |title=The World; British Miners Settle for Less | publisher= New York Times | date= 1982-01-24]

Heath tried to bolster his government by calling a general election for 28 February 1974. The result was inconclusive: the Conservative Party won a plurality in terms of votes cast but the Labour Party won a plurality in terms of seats, with Ulster Unionist MPs refusing to support the Conservatives. Heath then began coalition negotiations with leaders of the Liberal Party, but, when these failed, on 4 March 1974, he resigned as Prime Minister and was replaced by Harold Wilson and a minority Labour government. Wilson was eventually confirmed with a wafer-thin majority in a second election in October of the same year. In the second 1974 general election, Heath called for an all party "National Government".

It was around this time that The Centre for Policy Studies, a Conservative discussion group with close spiritual ties to the 1970 Selsdon document, began to formulate a monetarist and free-market diagnosis of the failures of Heath's government. Initially the group was spearheaded by Sir Keith Joseph. Although Margaret Thatcher was associated with the CPS, she was initially seen as a potential moderate go-between by Heath's lieutenant, James Prior.

The rise of Thatcher

With the Conservative Party losing three out of four general elections by 1974 under his leadership, Heath came to be seen as a liability by many Conservative MPs, party activists, and sympathetic newspaper editors. Among the wider electorate he attracted more sympathy, partly because of public statements he had made hinting at his willingness to consider the idea of serving in a government of national unity.

Heath resolved to remain Conservative leader and at first it appeared that by calling on the loyalty of his front bench colleagues he might prevail. At the time the Conservative leadership rules allowed for an election to fill a vacancy but contained no provision for a sitting leader to either seek a fresh mandate or be challenged. In late 1974, Heath came under tremendous pressure to concede a review of the rules.

It was agreed to establish a commission to propose changes in the election rules, and to have Heath put himself up for election under the new guidelines. Initially he expected to be comfortably re-elected, for there was no clear challenger to him after Enoch Powell had left the party and Keith Joseph had ruled himself out following controversial statements implying that the working classes should be encouraged to use more birth control. However Joseph's close friend and ally Margaret Thatcher, who believed an adherent to CPS philosophy should run, joined the leadership contest in his place, alongside the outsider Hugh Fraser. [Young, Hugo. "One Of Us" London: MacMillan, 1989] Aided in this by the determined campaigning amongst back-bench MPs of Airey Neave - whose earlier approach to William Whitelaw had been rebuffed out of loyalty to Heath - she emerged as the only serious challenger. [Young, Hugo. "One Of Us" London: MacMillan, 1989]

As the rules of the leadership contest permitted new candidates to enter the fray in a second round of voting should the leader not be confirmed by a large enough majority in the first, Thatcher's challenge was considered by some to be that of a stalking horse. Heath himself blamed his defeat on the "cunning" of Neave in deliberately understating her support in order to attract wavering votes [Heath, Edward. "The Course of My Life". London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1998, p532] . In the end, Heath lost on the first ballot, 119 to 130 votes, (Fraser 16) on 4 February 1975. Heath then withdrew from the contest and his favoured candidate William Whitelaw lost to Thatcher in the second vote one week later, 146 to 79. (Howe 19, Prior 19, Peyton 11)

The new leader Margaret Thatcher visited him at his flat; accounts differ as to whether she offered him a place in her Shadow Cabinet - by some accounts she was detained for coffee by a colleague so that the waiting press would not realise how brief the meeting had been. Heath himself claimed that he had already informed her that he did not want a Shadow Cabinet place, and the purpose of her visit was simply to seek his advice as to how to handle the press. Nonetheless, after the 1979 general election, he nursed hopes of being appointed Foreign Secretary. Instead he was offered, and declined, the post of British Ambassador to the United States.

After the Leadership

Heath remained bitter over his defeat and was persistent in his criticisms of the party's new ideological direction for many years. He never forgave Margaret Thatcher for challenging and replacing him as leader of the Conservatives and would refer to her as 'That woman'. 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, facts which were used after 1997 as an argument against giving Party members too large a say in the election of the Party Leader (usually as a retort to the argument that ordinary members supported Mrs Thatcher when she was in turn ousted in 1990). He continued to be seen as a figurehead by some on the left of the party up to the time of the 1981 Conservative Party conference, at which he openly criticised the government's economic policies.

Heath played a leading role in the 1975 referendum campaign, in which Britain voted to remain part of the EEC. He also remained active on the international stage, serving on the Brandt Commission investigation into developmental issues, particularly on the North-South projects. In 1990 he flew to Baghdad to attempt to negotiate the release of British aircraft passengers taken hostage when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. After Black Wednesday in 1992 he called in the House of Commons for governments to build up a fund of reserves to defeat what he called currency "speculators".

In the 1960s Heath had lived at a flat in the Albany, off Piccadilly; at the unexpected end of his premiership he was left homeless and had to take over the flat of a Conservative MP Tim Kitson for some months. In February 1985, Heath moved to Salisbury, where he resided until his death.

In 1987 Heath was nominated in the election for the Chancellorship of the University of Oxford but came third, behind Roy Jenkins and Lord Blake.

Heath continued to serve as a backbench MP for the London constituency of Old Bexley and Sidcup until retiring from Parliament at the 2001 general election, by which time he had been created a Knight of the Garter and was, from 1992, the longest-serving MP and "Father of the House", as well as the oldest sitting British MP. As Father of the House, he oversaw the election of two Speakers of the Commons, Betty Boothroyd and Michael Martin.

Parliament broke with precedent by commissioning a bust of Heath while he was still alive. [UK Parliament: [http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/acwa/thatcherstatue.cfm Unveiling of a Statue of Baroness Thatcher in Members Lobby, House of Commons] . Commentators have noted how the statue of Margaret Thatcher appears to overshadow Heath's bust.] The 1993 bronze work, by Martin Jennings, was moved to the Members' Lobby in 2002.


In August 2003, at the age of 87, Heath suffered a pulmonary embolism while on holiday in Salzburg, Austria. He never fully recovered, and due to his declining health and mobility made very few public appearances in the final two years of his life. His final ever public appearance was at the unveiling of a set of gates to Winston Churchill at St Paul's Cathedral on 30 November 2004. Sir Edward Heath died from pneumonia on the evening of 17 July 2005, at the age of 89. He was cremated on 25 July 2005 at a funeral service with fifteen hundred people present. As a tribute, the day after his death the BBC Parliament channel showed the BBC coverage of the 1970 election. A memorial service was held for Heath in Westminster Abbey on 8 November 2005 which was attended by two thousand people. Three days later his ashes were interred in Salisbury Cathedral.

In January 2006, it was announced that Heath had left £5 million in his will, most of it to a charitable foundation to conserve his eighteenth-century house, Arundells, next to Salisbury Cathedral. As he had no descendants, he left only two legacies: to his brother's widow (£20,000); and to his housekeeper (£2500). [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4632094.stm BBC NEWS | Politics | Former PM Heath left £5m in will ] ]

3 years after his death, Heath was reported to police in Whitley Bay for 'crimes of treason and sedition' by former members of UKIP because he led Britain into the EEC. [ [http://www.newsguardian.co.uk/latest-news/Local-MP-and-former-PM.4549758.jp Local MP and former PM reported for 'treason crimes'] ]


The house where Sir Edward Heath used to live in Salisbury, opposite the Cathedral, is opened to the public for guided tours from March to September. The house preserves a large collection of personal artefacts as well as his personal library, photo collections and Winston Churchill paintings. Details of openings are on the Arundells website, arundells.org.

Personal life


Heath was a keen yachtsman. He bought his first yacht "Morning Cloud" in 1969 and won the Sydney to Hobart race that year. He captained Britain's winning team for the Admiral's Cup in 1971 — while Prime Minister — and also captained the team in the 1979 Fastnet race.He was a member of the Sailing Club in his home town Broadstairs. In 1970 he nearly achieved the unique accolade of being the only British Prime Minister to win the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year award, narrowly being pipped to the title by boxer Henry Cooper.


Heath also maintained an interest in orchestral music as an organist and conductor, famously installing a Steinway grand in 10 Downing Street — bought with his £450 Charlemagne Prize money, awarded for his unsuccessful efforts to bring Britain into the EEC in 1963, and chosen on the advice of his friend, the pianist Moura Lympany — and conducting Christmas carol concerts in Broadstairs, Kent every year from his teens until old age.

Heath conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, notably at a gala concert at the Festival Hall in November 1971, at which he conducted Elgar's Cockaigne (In London Town), as pictured at right. He also conducted the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra, as well as orchestras in Germany and the U.S. Heath received honorary degrees from the Royal College of Music and Royal College of Organists. During his premiership, Heath invited musician friends, such as Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Clifford Curzon and the Amadeus Quartet, to perform either at Chequers or Downing Street.

In 1988, Heath recorded Beethoven's triple concerto op. 56 and Boccherini's Cello Concerto in G major G480.

Performing arts

Heath enjoyed the performing arts as a whole. In particular, he gave a great deal of support to performing arts causes in his constituency and was known to be proud of the fact that his constituency boasted two of the country's leading performing arts schools. Rose Bruford College and Bird College are both situated in Sidcup, and a purpose built facility for the latter was officially opened by Heath in 1979.


He wrote three non-political books, Sailing, Music, and Travels, and an autobiography, "The Course of My Life" (1998). The latter took 14 years to produce; Heath's obituary in the Daily Telegraph alleged that he never paid many of the ghost-writers.


Heath was a lifelong bachelor and perhaps celibate, although Michael Palin claimed, rather mischievously, that Heath was involved for a small time with fellow comedian, Graham Chapman. Heath's interest in music kept him on friendly terms with a number of female musicians including the pianist Moura Lympany, and he always had the company of women when social circumstances required. Lympany thought he would marry her, but when asked about the most intimate thing he had done, replied, "He put his arm around my shoulder." ["The Guardian", March 19th, 2001]

John Campbell, who published a biography of Heath in 1993, devoted four pages to a discussion of the evidence concerning Heath's sexuality. Whilst acknowledging that Heath was often assumed by the public to be gay, not least because it is "nowadays... whispered of any bachelor" he found "no positive evidence" that this was actually so "except for the faintest unsubstantiated rumour" (the footnote refers to a mention of a "disturbing incident" at the beginning of the war in a 1972 biography by Andrew Roth). [http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article2483866.ece Heath was told to stop gay sex activity, Tory claims] Campbell also pointed out that Heath was at least as likely to be a repressed heterosexual (given his awkwardness with women), although he thought it unlikely that he was "asexual" given how "unrelaxed" he was about sexual matters, and concluded that the fact of Heath's sublimation of his sexuality was more important than what his original inclinations had been. Heath 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 terse 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. After Heath's death, Conservative London Assembly member Brian Coleman suggested in 2007 that the former Prime Minister was homosexual. Coleman, writing on the website of the "New Statesman" on the issue of 'outing', said: "The late Ted Heath managed to obtain the highest office of state after he was supposedly advised to cease his cottaging activities in the 1950s when he became a privy councillor." [http://www.newstatesman.com/200704230063 The closet is a lonely place] [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/04/25/nheath25.xml Heath warned about gay sex trysts] The claim was denied by MP Sir Peter Tapsell, [http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories/tm_headline=hamps-ted-heath&method=full&objectid=18958668&siteid=89520-name_page.html HAMPS-TED HEATH] and Heath's friend and MP Derek Conway stated that "if there was some secret I’m sure it would be out by now". [ [http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2007190138,00.html PM Ted 'cruised for gay sex' | The Sun |HomePage|News ] ]

Titles from birth

*Edward Heath, Esq (9 July 1916–1992)
*Lieutenant Colonel Edward Heath (1945)
*Lieutenant Colonel Edward Heath, MBE (1946)
*Edward Heath, Esq, MBE (?-23 February 1950)
*Edward Heath, Esq, MBE, MP (23 February 1950–1955)
*The Right Honourable Edward Heath, MBE, MP (1955–24 April 1992)
*The Right Honourable Sir Edward Heath, KG, MBE, MP (24 April 1992–7 June 2001)
*The Right Honourable Sir Edward Heath, KG, MBE (7 June 2001– 17 July 2005)


Heath was persistently referred to as "The Grocer", or "Grocer Heath" by magazine "Private Eye" after he negotiated for Britain at a Common Market food prices conference in November 1962. The nickname was used periodically, but became a permanent fixture in the magazine after he fought the 1970 General Election on a promise to reduce the price of groceries.

Edward Heath's Government (June 1970 – March 1974)

*Prime Minister: Edward Heath
*Lord Chancellor: Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone
*Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons: William Whitelaw
*Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords: Lord Jellicoe
*Chancellor of the Exchequer: Iain Macleod
*Foreign Secretary: Alec Douglas-Home
*Home Secretary: Reginald Maudling
*Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: James Prior
*Secretary of State for Defence: Lord Carrington
*Secretary of State for Education and Science: Margaret Thatcher
*Secretary of State for Employment: Robert Carr
*Minister of Housing and Local Government: Peter Walker
*Secretary of State for Health and Social Security: Keith Joseph
*Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Anthony Barber
*Secretary of State for Scotland: Gordon Campbell
*Secretary of State for Technology: Geoffrey Rippon
*President of the Board of Trade: Michael Noble
*Secretary of State for Wales: Peter Thomas


*July 1970 — Iain Macleod dies, and is succeeded as Chancellor by Anthony Barber. Geoffrey Rippon succeeds Barber as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. John Davies succeeds Rippon as Secretary for Technology.
*October 1970 — The Ministry of Technology and the Board of Trade are merged to become the Department of Trade and Industry. John Davies becomes Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. Michael Noble leaves the cabinet. The Ministry of Housing and Local Government is succeeded by the new department of the Environment which was headed by Peter Walker.
*March 1972 — Robert Carr succeeds William Whitelaw as Lord President and Leader of the House of Commons. Maurice Macmillan succeeds Carr as Secretary for Employment. Whitelaw becomes Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
*July 1972 — Robert Carr succeeds Reginald Maudling as Home Secretary. James Prior succeeds Robert Carr as Lord President and Leader of the House of Commons. Joseph Godber succeeds Prior as Secretary for Agriculture.
*November 1972 — Geoffrey Rippon succeeds Peter Walker as Secretary for the Environment. John Davies succeeds Rippon as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Peter Walker succeeds Davies as Secretary for Trade and Industry. Geoffrey Howe becomes Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs with a seat in the cabinet.
*June 1973 — Lord Windlesham succeeds Lord Jellicoe as Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords.
*December 1973 — William Whitelaw succeeds Maurice Macmillan as Secretary for Employment. Francis Pym succeeds Whitelaw as Secretary for Northern Ireland. Macmillan becomes Paymaster-General.
*January 1974 — Ian Gilmour succeeds Lord Carrington as Secretary for Defence; Lord Carrington becomes Secretary of State for Energy.

Political offices


Honorary degrees

*University of Calgary 7 June 1991 (LL.D) [http://www.senate.ucalgary.ca/senate/files/senate/HDRECIP_LST_2006.pdf] [http://contentdm.ucalgary.ca/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/archiveshd&CISOSTART=1,121]
*University of Wales (LL.D) 1998 [http://www.wales.ac.uk/newpages/external/E1405.asp]
*University of Greenwich (LL.D) 18 July 2001 [http://w3.gre.ac.uk/pr/releasearchive/583.htm]



*Heath, Edward. "Sailing: A Course of My Life". London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1975.
*Heath, Edward. "Music: A Joy for Life". London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1976.
*Heath, Edward. "Travels: People and Places in My Life". London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1977.
*Heath, Edward. "The Course of My Life". London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1998.


*Ball, Stuart & Seldon, Anthony (editors). "The Heath Government: 1970-1974: A Reappraisal". London: Longman, 1996.
*Campbell, John. "Edward Heath: A Biography". London: Jonathan Cape, 1993.
*Holmes, Martin. "The Failure of the Heath Government". Basingstoke: Longman, 1997.


External links

* The Guardian [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/conservatives/story/0,9061,1530831,00.html Obituary]
* [http://www.badley.info/history/Heath-Edward-Richard-George-Great-Britain.biog.html Heath, Edward Chronology]
* [http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page128.asp More about Edward Heath] on the Downing Street website.
* [http://www.arundells.org] Sir Edward Heath's home open to the public Easter - September

NAME = Heath, Edward Richard George, Sir
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
DATE OF BIRTH = 9 July 1916
PLACE OF BIRTH = Broadstairs, Kent, England
DATE OF DEATH = 17 July 2005
PLACE OF DEATH = Salzburg, Austria

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