Shirley Williams: A Life in Politics

Shirley Williams 1984
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The legacy of a woman who changed the course of British politics.

This event takes place in the British Library and will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person, or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up.  In-person ticket bookers will also be sent a bonus link to the online event. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.

The online version of this event will be live captioned.

The late Shirley Williams MP played a key role in the introduction of comprehensive schools, price tags, and Ukraine’s national constitution. Beyond her role as a ‘Gang of four Rebel’ she was also a distinguished scholar and an advocate for European unity. To celebrate the arrival of her archive into the BL collections and to explore her extraordinary life and legacy, this event brings together people closely connected to her life and work.

Rebecca Williams is the daughter of Shirley Williams. She was educated in state schools and has spent most of her career as a government lawyer in the civil service.  She has played a key role in organising the archive and ensuring it was deposited in accordance with her mother’s wishes. Her help has been vital throughout this process, in increasing our understanding of some of its discoveries.

Helena Kennedy
is one of Britain's most distinguished lawyers. She has spent her professional life giving voice to those who have least power within the system, championing civil liberties and promoting human rights. She has used many public platforms – including the House of Lords, to which she was elevated in 1997 – to argue for social justice. She has also written and broadcast on a wide range of issues, from medical negligence to terrorism to the rights of women and children.

Mark Bostridge is an award-winning writer whose books include the biography of Shirley Williams’s mother Vera Brittain, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Biography Prize, the NCR Non-Fiction Award, and the Fawcett Prize. His biography Florence Nightingale was awarded the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography. His new book, In Pursuit of Love, is published by Bloomsbury next summer.

The conversation will be chaired by Rachel Corp, Chief Executive of ITN, who oversees one of the largest independent television production companies in the UK. Prior to becoming CEO, Rachel was Editor of ITV News where she led the team winning a string of Royal Television Society Journalism awards. Rachel began her ITN career as a trainee, and also spent time in Russia as the BBC’s senior Moscow producer. She is passionate about change on and off screen, and is a UK Board Trustee at Women for Women International.  

If you’re attending in person, please arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start time of this event.

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Name: Shirley Williams: A Life in Politics
Where: Pigott Theatre
The Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: From £3.25 – £10
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
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* Please note that there is a £1.50 transaction fee when tickets are posted, or for telephone sales when an e-ticket is requested.