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Crisis? What Crisis?: Re-assessing the British ‘winter of discontent’ 1978-1979 I John Shepherd

The National Archives

Thursday, 11 September 2014 from 14:00 to 15:00 (BST)

Crisis? What Crisis?: Re-assessing the British ‘winter...

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Event Details

This event is part of our themed programme. Diplomacy is at the heart of all human interaction. Whether between international states and colonies, monarchs and their ministers, the major players in the theatres of war, kith and kin, or friends and enemies: diplomacy - or lack of it - will play its part. This programme of events aims to reflect the broad spectrum of interpretations of historical diplomacy and the art of peace-making.

Over thirty years later, the ‘winter of discontent of 1978-79 still resonates in British politics. On 22 January 1979, 1.5 million workers were on strike. Industrial unrest swept Britain in an arctic winter. Militant shop stewards blocked medical supplies to hospitals, mountains of rubbish remained uncollected; striking road hauliers almost brought the country to a standstill; even the dead were left unburied. Within weeks the Callaghan Government lost the 1979 election and Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister. Professor John Shepherd explores the origins, character and impact of a turbulent period of industrial unrest in British history when diplomatic relations between government and unions broke down.


John Shepherd is Professor of Modern British History at the University of Huddersfield and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is the author of Crisis? What Crisis? The Callaghan Government and the British ‘Winter of Discontent’ (Manchester University Press, 2013). Currently, he is writing the biography of Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Labour Party Policy Review Co-ordinator.

Do you have questions about Crisis? What Crisis?: Re-assessing the British ‘winter of discontent’ 1978-1979 I John Shepherd? Contact The National Archives

When & Where

The National Archives
Talks Room, first floor
TW9 4DU Kew
United Kingdom

Thursday, 11 September 2014 from 14:00 to 15:00 (BST)

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The National Archives

The National Archives is the official archive and publisher for the UK government, and for England and Wales.  We are the guardians of some of our most iconic national documents, dating back over 1,000 years.

The National Archives' collection of over 11 million historical government and public records is one of the largest in the world. From Domesday Book to modern government papers and digital files, our collection includes paper and parchment, electronic records and websites, photographs, posters, maps, drawings and paintings.

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