Thursday, March 16, 2006

Harold Wilson's pipe

Holyrood Chronicles remembers the former prime minister. It seems that famous pipe was just for show:
Mr Wilson was wont to smoke cigars when out of the public eye. In the 1970s, and this is nowadays hard to believe, one was allowed to smoke in the corridors of the House of Commons. The Prime Minister's Commons office was near the corridor at the back of the Speaker's Chair and, for those of us who had to spend time there waiting for whatever Parliamentary business we were interested in, Mr Wilson could be frequently espied trailing clouds of cigar smoke as he made his way to wherever he was going.


Theo Butt Philip said...

You certainly used to be able to get away with smoking in the corridors up stairs (when we were both on FPC).

Anonymous said...

Some more Wilson trivia:

In the early 1970s I had the pleasure of working with HW on one of his election tours. I have three abiding memories from that period:

His instant one line put-downs of hecklers would shame any stand-up comic.

The first "gig" was at the Apollo in Glasgow and the warm up act was someone called Billy Connolly, then pretty well unknown outside of Glasgow. I thought he was a footballer with a good sense of humour.

The third is that HW always carried a crate of Lucozade on tour to sip whilst talking. He also took some blue tumblers to drink from. When I asked him about the politically odd choice of colour he said they were blue because Lucozade in a clear glass looked like Scotch!

He also had the decency to invite all the people that helped out on the tour to a party at Number 10. Much to my annoyance prior commitments prevented me from to attending. I did however keep one of the blue glasses left over from the tour as a much treasured souvenir.

Iain said...

History may treat Wilson better than we all may have thought in 1975. He at least kept Britain out of a disasterous USA led war. Sadly Blair didn't follow his example.