Tony Greenwood, Baron Greenwood of Rossendale

Arthur William James Anthony Greenwood, Baron Greenwood of Rossendale, PC (14 September 1911 – 12 April 1982) was a prominent British Labour politician in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Lord Greenwood of Rossendale

Minister of Housing and Local Government
In office
11 August 1966  31 May 1970
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byRichard Crossman
Succeeded byBob Mellish
Minister of Overseas Development
In office
23 December 1965  11 August 1966
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byBarbara Castle
Succeeded byArthur Bottomley
Secretary of State for the Colonies
In office
18 October 1964  23 December 1965
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byDuncan Sandys
Succeeded byThe Earl of Longford
Chairman of the National Executive Committee
In office
4 October 1963  13 December 1964
LeaderHarold Wilson
Preceded byDai Davies
Succeeded byRay Gunter
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
22 September 1970  12 April 1982
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Rossendale
In office
23 February 1950  18 June 1970
Preceded byGeorge Walker
Succeeded byRonald Bray
Member of Parliament
for Heywood and Radcliffe
In office
21 February 1946  23 February 1950
Preceded byJohn Edmondson Whittaker
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born(1911-09-14)14 September 1911
Leeds, England
Died12 April 1982(1982-04-12) (aged 70)
Political partyLabour
ParentsArthur Greenwood (father)
EducationMerchant Taylors' School, Northwood
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/service Royal Air Force
Years of service19421945

Background and education

The son of Arthur Greenwood (Deputy Leader of the Labour Party under Clement Attlee) and his wife Catherine Ainsworth, Greenwood was born in Leeds[1] and educated at Merchant Taylors' School, and then read politics, philosophy and economics at Balliol College, Oxford, where he held the posts of chairman of the Labour Club and, in 1933, president of the Oxford Union. In 1933 he visited India as a member of the British Universities' Debating Team.

Early life

After university Greenwood continued with political work, which included debating trips to the USA and some freelance journalism. He began, but did not complete, studies for the Bar at the Middle Temple. Early employment consisted of a spell as economic secretary to an industrialist and then, in 1938–39, work for the National Fitness Council. From 1939 to 1942 Greenwood worked at the Ministry of Information where, in 1941, he became private secretary to the Director-General Walter Monckton, with whom he travelled to Russia and the Middle East. In the summer of 1942 he joined the Royal Air Force, and in February 1943 was commissioned as an Intelligence Officer. In December 1944 he was seconded to the War Cabinet Offices, to work with Monckton on an inquiry into the Mulberry harbours.

Political career

Greenwood joined the Labour Party at the age of 14 and was a prospective candidate for Colchester before the war. He led the Labour group on Hampstead Borough Council from 1945 until 1949, and entered Parliament as member for Heywood and Radcliffe in a by-election in February 1946. Following boundary changes, he moved to represent Rossendale in 1950. He was vice-chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party in 1950–51, and was in the Shadow Cabinet from 1951 to 1952 and from 1955 to 1960. He also served on the party's National Executive Committee from 1954 to 1960 and became the first Chair of Labour Friends of Israel in 1957.

Greenwood was the left wing challenger to Hugh Gaitskell in the 1961 leadership election when he received the support of just over a quarter of the Labour MPs. He served successively from 1964 to 1969 as Secretary of State for the Colonies, Minister of Overseas Development and Minister for Housing and Local Government in Harold Wilson's governments. On 22 September 1970, he was created a life peer as Baron Greenwood of Rossendale, of East Mersea, in the County of Essex.[2] From 1977 to 1979 he was Chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities and Principal Deputy Chairman of Committees.

Business career

While in the Lords, Greenwood held a number of business directorships. He remained a member of the Commonwealth Development Corporation board until 1978, was a Director of the Britannia Building Society from 1972 until his death and Chairman from 1974 to 1976, Chairman and a Director of Weeks Natural Resources (UK) Ltd., an oil exploration company, and Chairman of Greenwood Development Holdings Ltd. He was Chairman of Integrated Professional Development Service and a Director of Pochin Ltd.

Other public appointments

He also held several public service appointments, such as Chairman of the Local Government Training Board and Staff Commission, President of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities, President of the District Heating Association, President of the Cremation Society of Great Britain, a member of the Maplin Development Authority board and Central Lancashire Development Corporation and became involved in several housing organisations. He was Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lancaster from 1972 to 1978 and financial adviser for the University of Guyana's UK appeal. He became Chairman of the Anglo-Israel Association in 1972, was a Trustee of the Jerusalem Educational Trust and Chairman of the Labour Friends of Israel. He gave support to many charitable organisations and was a founding member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.


Greenwood married Gillian Crawshay-Williams, an artist and a great-granddaughter of Thomas Huxley, in 1940. They had two daughters, Susanna and Dinah. He died in April 1982 aged 70.

See also


  1. Rosen, Greg (2001). Dictionary of Labour Biography (1st ed.). London: Politico's Publishing. p. 238. ISBN 1-902301-18-8.
  2. "No. 45202". The London Gazette. 29 September 1970. p. 10610.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Edmondson Whittaker
Member of Parliament for Heywood and Radcliffe
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
George Walker
Member of Parliament for Rossendale
Succeeded by
Ronald Bray
Political offices
Preceded by
Dai Davies
Chair of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Ray Gunter
Preceded by
Duncan Sandys
Secretary of State for the Colonies
Succeeded by
The Earl of Longford
Preceded by
Barbara Castle
Minister of Overseas Development
Succeeded by
Arthur Bottomley
Preceded by
Richard Crossman
Minister of Housing and Local Government
Succeeded by
Office abolished
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