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Hugh Jenkins, Baron Jenkins of Putney

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Hugh Jenkins, Baron Jenkins of Putney

Kenilworth Court, Putney, London
Kenilworth Court blue plaque

Hugh Gater Jenkins, Baron Jenkins of Putney, PC (27 July 1908 – 26 January 2004) was a British politician, campaigner and Labour Party member of Parliament and the House of Lords.

Jenkins was Member of Parliament for Putney and served as Arts Minister from 1974 to 1976. He was the Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) between 1979 and 1981, succeeded by Joan Ruddock.

His private papers are held at the London School of Economics.


  • Before Politics 1
  • Political life 2
  • CND 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Before Politics

Jenkins was born in Enfield, Middlesex into a 'modest' family, his parents being a dairyman and a butcher's daughter. He attended Enfield Grammar School and went to work for the Prudential Assurance 1930-40. He married his first wife, Marie Crosbie, in 1936. She died in 1989 and he married a second time to Helena Maria Pavlidis in 1991, separating in 1994. During World War II he served with the Royal Observer Corps and the Royal Air Force from 1941, and after the war worked at Rangoon Radio until 1947, where he was director of English programmes.

Political life

An ardent left-winger, Jenkins was active in the Prudential Staff Association, the National Union of Bank Employees and the actors' union Equity, of which he was assistant general secretary 1957-64. He and his wife, Marie, became active in the politics of his local community in the County Borough of Croydon, Surrey. Jenkins chaired his local Upper Norwood Labour Party and stood for the Council, and Marie was elected to Croydon Council for Whitehorse Manor ward in 1949. He stood for Parliament without success in Enfield West in 1950 and Mitcham in 1955. Jenkins was involved in the Victory for Socialism group opposed to the 1956 Suez War and had been a supporter of CND and nuclear disarmament since its foundation in 1957. In 1958 he became a London County Councillor for Hackney North & Stoke Newington until 1965 and served on the London Labour Party executive in 1962. He was also involved with the Arts Council.

Jenkins won Putney, where he and Marie had moved, in the 1964 election, quickly becoming involved in the Tribune Group of MPs. He was made Shadow Arts Minister in 1973 and became the Arts Minister in 1974, being sacked in 1976 by the Prime Minister James Callaghan. He lost his seat in the 1979 General Election and became Chair of CND in the same year. He was made a life peer as Baron Jenkins of Putney, of Wandsworth in Greater London on 14 May 1981.[1] He continued to write pamphlets and radio plays, serving on the board of the Royal National Theatre.


Jenkins was a long time anti-nuclear campaigner and supporter of CND. His anti-nuclear activities before the formation of CND led to rightwingers within the Labour Party attempting to block him as a parliamentary candidate. He was CND Chair from 1979–81 and Vice-Chair from 1981. As a Member of the House of Lords, he was chair of the Lords CND group. This was the period in which CND underwent a major revival known as the 'Second Wave'.


  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 48615. p. 6951. 19 May 1981.

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Hugh Jenkins
  • Obituary in The Guardian
  • Obituary in The Telegraph
  • CND Press Release after Hugh Jenkin's death
  • Article About Jenkins In Local London
  • Catalogue of the Jenkins papers at the Archives Division of the London School of Economics.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Hugh Linstead
Member of Parliament for Putney
Succeeded by
David Mellor
Political offices
Preceded by
Norman St John-Stevas
Minister for the Arts
Succeeded by
Lord Donaldson
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Bruce Kent
Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Succeeded by
Joan Ruddock
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