Item #31386 The Rising of the Luddites [Harold Wilson's Copy]. Frank Peel.
The Rising of the Luddites [Harold Wilson's Copy]
The Rising of the Luddites [Harold Wilson's Copy]
The Rising of the Luddites [Harold Wilson's Copy]

The Rising of the Luddites [Harold Wilson's Copy]

Heckmondwike: T.W. Senior, Herald Office, Cheapside, 1880. First edition. 8vo, 161 pp, publisher's original brown cloth titled in gilt. Provenance: from the library of former British prime minister Harold Wilson, with his grandfather's signature and acquisition date in the year of publication to fep [J. Wilson, Manchester, 6-12-80], and subsequent signature in pencil from his father, J.H. Wilson The book came from the private library in Harold Wilson's Ashley Gardens mansion flat in Westminster. Following the death of of Harold Wilson in 1995, it remained in the flat until the death of Wilson's widow, Mary Wilson, in 2016, ,at which point it entered the trade.

In 1963 Harold Wilson gave his infamous White Heat speech at the Labour Party Conference in which he said that "there was to be no room for Luddites in the Socialist Party." The speech is widely considered one of the most influential political speeches of the last 50 years, and one which, along with the work of C.P. Snow, brought the term ‘Luddite’ back into political discourse.

The speech tacitly signalled sanction for the Beeching Cuts, originally a conservative plan to gut railroad service, particularly in the northern part of the country. Wilson had promised to stop the cuts if elected, but reneged on the promise after election, and the rate of closure actually accelerated under his watch as Britain turned towards a more “scientific” future of car culture, busification, and the M25. The gutting of rail service in the north of the country and in rural areas accelerated the rural / urban divide, and economist Larry Elliot suggests that without the Beeching Cuts Brexit may not have happened.

Text block detached from boards and worn, but complete. No annotations within, but the book appears to have been well-read, with several dog eared pages and scattered thumbprints within. Item #31386

Price: $300.00

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