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3 Oct 2014
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This Sceptred Isle

Asquith, Pensions, & the Balkans
In 1908 Campbell-Bannerman died and H H Asquith became Prime Minister. The Liberals cut the naval budget. Instead of four Dreadnoughts the Navy would now only get two. A celebration of the Anglo-French Entente Cordiale of 1904 was staged in 1908 at Shepherd's Bush with an exhibition named the White City after its centrepiece - a collection of white oriental palaces over a lake setting.

H H Asquith
H H Asquith
HERBERT HENRY ASQUITH (1852-1928) First Earl of Oxford and Asquith (from 1925)

  • Prime Minister 1908 to 1916
  • An orphan
  • Born in Yorkshire and educated at Balliol College, Oxford
  • Became a barrister and then a politician in 1886
  • Went to Westminster as a Gladstonian Liberal representing East Fife
  • Aappointed Home Secretary in 1892 in Gladstone's last administration
  • Constantly conflicted with Campbell-Bannerman
  • In May 1903 he led the opposition to Joseph Chamberlain on the issue of tariff reform, supporting Free Trade
  • Appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer and Deputy Leader of the Commons and became leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister in 1908
  • Oversaw the Parliament Act of 1911, Old Age Pensions, Suffragettes and the Irish Nationalist Party
  • Home Rule was finally granted in 1914
  • A 'palace coup' resulted in Lloyd George taking over from him in 1916
  • This split the Liberals and contributed to Liberal decline

did you know?
Non-contributory Old Age Pensions were introduced in 1908.

An Extract From H H Asquith'S Letter To His Wife From Biarritz Where He Was Summoned By Edward Vii Who Was On Holiday There

Hotel du Palais, Biarritz, eighth of April, nineteen hundred and eight.

Darling . . . I am comfortably lodged in the King's hotel. This morning I put on a frock-coat, and escorted by Fritz and old Stanley Clarke, went to the King who was similarly attired. I presented him with my written resignation of the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer; and he then said "I appoint you Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury" whereupon I knelt down and kissed his hand. VoilĂ  tout! He then asked me to come into the next room and breakfast with him. We were quite alone for an hour and I went over all the appointments with him. He made no objections to any of them and discussed the various men very freely and with a good deal of shrewdness.

Select historical period

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1903 Chamberlain resigns to campaign for tariff reform
The Women's Social and Political Union is founded by
Emmeline Pankhurst
1904 The Russo-Japanese War begins
1905Campbell-Bannerman becomes Prime Minister
The first motor buses are seen in London
The Piccadilly and Bakerloo tube lines open
1906Trade Disputes Act is passed
1907Anglo-Russian entente is formed
1908 Campbell-Bannerman dies
Asquith becomes Prime Minister
1909 Old Age Pensions are introduced
1910 Edward VII dies
George V becomes king
The Union of South Africa is established
1911National Insurance Acts are passed
1912Scott reaches the South Pole
The Balkan Wars break out
1913Trade Union and Cat and Mouse Acts are passed

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