Three passports of former UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson
He enacted social reforms in education, health, housing, gender equality, price controls, pensions, provisions for disabled people and child poverty. Harold Wilson, the son of a chemist and teacher, was born in Yorkshire during the First World War. In 1924, aged 8, he visited 10 Downing Street, which would eventually become his home.
He studied Modern History for a year before transferring to Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford University, graduating with a first class BA. The Labour politician entered Parliament in 1945 as MP for Ormskirk and later becoming MP for Huyton. In 1947, then Prime Minister Clement Attlee made Wilson President of the Board of Trade. Aged 31, he had become the youngest member of the Cabinet in the 20th century. Three passports of former UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Under Hugh Gaitskell’s leadership of the Labour party, Wilson served as Shadow Chancellor from 1955 to 1961, then as Shadow Foreign Secretary from 1961 to 1963. After Gaitskell passed away suddenly, Wilson fought and won a leadership contest against George Brown and James Callaghan. As Labour leader, he won 4 of the 5 General Elections he contested, although this includes a minority government.
His first election victory on 15 October 1964 saw him win with a small majority of 4, which increased significantly to 98 after a second General Election on 31 March 1966. As Prime Minister from 1964 to 1970, his main plan was to modernize. He believed that he would be aided by the “white heat of the technological revolution”. His government supported backbench MPs in liberalizing laws on censorship, divorce, abortion, and homosexuality, and he abolished capital punishment. Crucial steps were taken towards stopping discrimination against women and ethnic minorities, and Wilson’s government also created the Open University. Three passports of former UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson
In comparison, his outlook on foreign affairs was less modernizing. He wanted to maintain Britain’s world role by keeping the Commonwealth united and nurturing the Anglo-American alliance. For example, his approach to the Vietnam War saw him skilfully balance modernist ambitions with Anglo-American interests when, despite repeated American requests, he kept British troops out while still maintaining good relations. Wilson biographer Philip Ziegler characterizes his role as “honest broker”. Read more at gov.uk
FAQ Passport History
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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?
The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...
2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?
Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...
3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?
"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...
4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?
Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...
5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?
Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.
6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?
7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?
During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...
8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?
Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.
9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?
Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.
10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?
A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉
11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?
First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...
Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.
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