Last Friday I visited Wirral Grammar School for Boys to unveil a plaque to mark the centenary of Harold Wilson’s birth.
It was a very proud moment for me to mark such an occasion for two reasons: Wirral Grammar is in my constituency and I attended the Girls school next door and we were celebrating the achievements of a great Labour Leader and Prime Minister on the day he was born 100 years ago.
I don’t think there would be a more fitting place for me to be on such an occasion as at his former school. The school holds some beautifully written letters from Wilson to his old teachers, which I’ve been lucky to read. They demonstrate his affection for those at the school who taught him and helped him gain entry to Jesus College, Oxford. The school no doubt played a significant part in the life he went on to lead.
I visited the school alongside Gerald Kaufman MP back in 2012 to view a collection of photographs and letters of Harold Wilson’s. Gerald Kaufman and served as member of Harold Wilson’s Kitchen Cabinet.
Harold Wilson, who entered Parliament in1945 served as MP for both Merseyside constituencies Ormskirk and Huyton, was a former head boy at the School before he became a leading figure in UK politics during the 1960s and 1970s.
He moved to Bromborough in my constituency in the early 1930s. His father, a chemist, had been made redundant in Huddersfield, so the move signalled a new start for the family.
Politically he was very concerned with unemployment and believed that government should provide for high levels of employment. He confessed that unemployment more than anything else made him politically conscious. His political achievements include the creation of the Open University which opened access to education opportunities and as Labour Leader he won four of the five general elections he contested.