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Ben Pimlott

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Title: Ben Pimlott  
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Subject: Jean Seaton, 1976 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours, Aga Khan III, Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, List of Newcastle University people
Collection: 1945 Births, 2004 Deaths, Academics of Birkbeck, University of London, Academics of Goldsmiths, University of London, Academics of Newcastle University, Academics of the London School of Economics, Alumni of Newcastle University, Alumni of Worcester College, Oxford, British Historians, Cancer Deaths in England, Deaths from Leukemia, Fellows of the British Academy, Members of the Fabian Society, People Associated with Goldsmiths, University of London, People Educated at Marlborough College
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Ben Pimlott

Ben Pimlott, 1984

Benjamin John Pimlott FBA (4 July 1945 – 10 April 2004), known as Ben Pimlott, was a British historian of the post-war period in Britain. He made a substantial contribution to the literary genre of political biography.


  • Early life 1
  • Writing 2
  • Views and legacy 3
  • References and sources 4

Early life

Educated at [1]


During 1987–88, he was Political Editor of the [1]

Aside from his attempts at a Parliamentary career in the 1970s, not to mention his tenure as Chairman of the Fabian Society in 1993/1994, Pimlott is best remembered for his works of political biography including lives of Hugh Dalton (1985), Harold Wilson (1992), and a study of Queen Elizabeth II (1996). His study of Dalton won him the Whitbread Prize. His other books include Labour And The Left In The 1930s (1977), The Trade Unions In British Politics (with Chris Cook, 1982), Fabian Essays In Socialist Thought (1984), The Alternative (with Tony Wright and Tony Flower, 1990), Frustrate Their Knavish Tricks (1994) and Governing London (with Nirmala Rao, 2002).

Views and legacy

Many of Pimlott's theses have stood the test of time, even if they were marginally controversial when originally published. His studies of the 1930s Labour left, the life of Harold Wilson and the constitutional effect of the monarchy in post-war Britain are said to have made his reputation as a biographer and even bestowed some additional credibility upon the subjects, all of which have received critical accounts under the pen of others. Pimlott sincerely believed and argued consistently that the post-war consensus in British politics was a veritable red-herring.

In 1996 his works were recognised with a Fellowship of the British Academy. At the time of his death from leukemia in 2004, he was Warden of Goldsmiths, University of London (since 1998). He was married to Jean Seaton, who lectures on communications and the media at the University of Westminster. In 2005 the college named a major new Will Alsop-designed building on its New Cross site in his honour and also the same year the Fabian Society and The Guardian inaugurated the first annual Ben Pimlott Prize for Political Writing.

References and sources

  1. ^ a b Kenneth O. Morgan Obituary: Ben Pimlott, The Guardian, 12 April 2004
  • Julian Glover "Labour historian Pimlott dies at 58", The Guardian, 12 April 2004
  • D. R. Thorpe Obituary: Professor Ben Pimlott, The Independent, 14 April 2004.
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