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Margaret Thatcher

© Clay Perry

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Margaret Thatcher

by Clay Perry
C-type colour print, 1974
17 7/8 in. x 11 7/8 in. (455 mm x 302 mm) image size
Purchased, 2012
Photographs Collection
NPG x136993

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Clay Perry (1940-), Photographer. Artist of 19 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Pioneering Women, p. 124 Read entry

    Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013), Conservative politician, was the first woman to lead a major UK political party and, following victory in the General Election of 1979, the country’s first female prime minister (she was re-elected twice, in 1983 and 1987). The daughter of a grocer, she was educated at Kesteven & Grantham Girls’ School and Somerville College, Oxford. Her first career was as a research chemist (1947-51), her second as a lawyer (she was called to the Bar in 1954), before beginning her parliamentary career as MP for Finchley five years later. She was dubbed ‘Milk Snatcher’ for removing free school milk for children over seven when Education Secretary in 1971, and ‘Iron Lady’ by a Soviet newspaper in 1976 – a sobriquet she embraced. Her premiership was characterised by tough economic policies that included privatising industries and closing coal mines, and military engagement in the Falklands War (1982). The year of this photograph IRA bombs killed and injured many – and she herself became a target in 1984. ‘I fight on. I fight to win,’ she declared in 1990, after an inconclusive first ballot in the Tory leadership election that she lost – signalling a determined character and distinguished, though highly controversial, political career.

Events of 1974back to top

Current affairs

28 people are killed and hundreds injured in the IRA pub bombings. Two pubs in Guilford popular with army personnel were attacked with gelignite bombs, followed by a pub in Woolwich and then two in Birmingham. 17 people, known as the Guilford Four, the Maguire Seven and the Birmingham Six, were arrested for the bombing but all were eventually found to have been wrongfully imprisoned.

Art and science

John Le Carré publishes his classic spy thriller, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The novel was later made into a BBC miniseries starring Alec Guinness.


A one party communist state is established in Ethiopia after a committee of military officers known as the Derg depose Halie Selassie from power.
Greek Cypriot officers depose President Archbishop Makarios III in a coup d'etat sponsored by the Greek Government. Taking advantage of the situation, Turkey sent troops to occupy half the island, proclaiming the Turkish Federal State of Cyprus the following year.

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