Press & Communications

27 Mar 2012

Westminster Abbey is to honour two 20th-century Prime Ministers with memorials.

Sir Edward Heath, who was Prime Minister between 1970 and 1974 and Lord Callaghan who, as James Callaghan was Prime Minister between 1976 and 1979, will follow in a long line of British premiers who are buried or memorialised in the Abbey church

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said: ‘The men and women who have contributed most to our island story and our nation's international influence are memorialised in the Abbey, including most Prime Ministers of the 19th century and of the first half of the 20th century.

‘And yet no Prime Minister since 1956 has a memorial in the Abbey. I am happy to announce that I have decided with the support of those closest to them to include amongst those remembered in the Abbey two Prime Ministers from the 1970s, each of whom gave dutiful service in their own time.

‘The announcement falls on the 100th anniversary of James Callaghan's birth. Although he and Edward Heath were on the opposite side of many political arguments, they were both of that remarkable generation that served in the Second World War and continued to devote their lives to the service of their nation and of the world. It is fitting that we should honour them.’

Further details of the location of the memorial stones within the Abbey church and of the dedication services will be announced later.