Harold Wilson’s Granddaughter Hopes Islanders Will Mark Centenary

cath ledbitterHarold Wilson’s granddaughter says she hopes that islanders will want to mark the centenary of his birth next year.

Mr Wilson was Prime Minister twice, between 1964 and 1970 and again for two years from 1974.

Cath Ledbitter says the Parliamentary Labour Party will be organising official events on the mainland, including a service in London on 11th March, to mark his contribution to UK life.

But she feels it would be fitting if our islands, his favourite place, also remembered their most famous ambassador, even if it is, “just raising a pint to a good man who enjoyed his time in Scilly.”

Harold Wilson’s greatest legacy is arguably the creation of the Open University and he first outlined his vision for equal access to education whilst on the islands.

Harold Wilson outside the Co-op

Harold Wilson outside the Co-op

Mr Wilson’s regular visits to Scilly provided the biggest boost to our fledgling tourism industry.

He put the islands in the spotlight during his premiership, famously holding a press conference on Samson.

But there’s little here to mark the impact he made to our islands’ life.

There’s a bronze statue of Harold Wilson in his hometown of Huddersfield and another statue at the Houses of Parliament. Back in the 1990s, the Islands’ Council named the former IT centre at the Wesleyan Chapel in his honour, but that facility has now has closed.

Cath isn’t unhappy about that. She says one of the lovely things about Scilly is how it’s always reinventing itself and finding new ways to put buildings to use.

And she says Harold’s legacy “is more than just a building.”

Cath says her own children find it hilarious that people stop and photograph the bungalow on Church Road that her grandfather bought and which is still owned by Lady Wilson.

And she says some formal recognition there, such as a blue plaque, would provide a fitting memorial.

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