8th June 1983 - Mrs Thatcher visits Salisbury

Margaret_Thatcher_1981.jpg On this day in 1983, the day before her ‘khaki election’ Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visited Salisbury.[2] She got an unexpectedly hostile reception.

The Salisbury Journal has an account of the day here:

…but it misses out the hostility of the reception.

I was there [3]when Mrs Thatcher spoke in the Market Place, and at times it was difficult to hear what she was saying because of the noise the protestors were making.

My memory of the occasion is backed up by a photo in Charles Moore’s authorized biography. At the time of writing the photo is available on line here:

The picture shows Mrs Thatcher with a raised clenched fist speaking into a microphone. Thatcher and Robert Key are surrounded by opponents. Placards read ‘Vote Lamberth Labour’[1] and ‘Are you going to vote for the death of the Health Service?’. Moore’s caption reads ‘Shouting down the hecklers in Salisbury, with the Conservative candidate Robert Key, who won’



Celia (I think) Lamberth was the Labour candidate.


The Margaret Thatcher Foundation has her diary for 8th June 1983. I’ve reproduced an extract of it below:

1000Chairman [Cecil Parkinson]
1020BBC Interview
1050ITN Interview
1130Depart CCO [THCR 2/7/3/56 has this at 1055] Depart Battersea by helicopter [THCR 2/7/3/56 has this at 1110]
1145Arrive Old Sarum [To be met by: Mr. Robert Key, Candidate Salisbury, Mrs. Sue Key, Mr. Hugh Simmonds, Wessex Area Treasurer, Mr. David Roberts, Wessex Area COA. Join Campaign Coach.] [THCR 2/7/3/56]
1150Tour of Edgley Aircraft Ltd. [To be met by: Mr. John Edgley, Chairman and Joint Managing Director, Mr. Bill Fraser, Joint Managing Director, Mr. Bill Purbrick, Sales Director] [THCR 2/7/3/56]
1215Demonstration of Optica aircraft
1225Depart Edgley Aircraft Corporation
1245Arrive Guildhall Square, Salisbury [Unscheduled stop/walkabout/speak briefly to supporters - NOT TO BE PUBLICISED IN ADVANCE TO PRESS] [THCR 2/7/3/56]
1300Depart Guildhall Square for UK Provident House
1310Arrive for lunch [To be met by: Mr. S.G. Brooksbank, FCA, Chairman and Managing Director, Mr. A. Speddling, BSc, FIA, FSS, FIS, General Manager] [THCR 2/7/3/56]
1355Tour Life Dept and VDU unit [Visual Display Unit]
1410Computer Centre
1430Depart UK Provident
1445Take off Old Sarum Airfield
1500Arrive British Hovercraft Corporation, Isle of Wight [To be met by: Mrs. Virginia Bottomley, Candidate Isle of Wight, Mr. Edward Giles, Chairman Isle of Wight, Cons. Assoc., The Rt. Hon. The Lord Aldington, KCMG, CBE, DSO, TD, Chairman British Hovercraft Corporation, Mr. Richard Stanton-Jones, Deputy Chairman B.H.C., Mr. Basil Blackwell, Chief Executive B.H.C. Tour works] [THCR 2/7/3/56]
1545Depart British Hovercraft Corporation
1550 [Unscheduled stop at seafront site adjacent to works to meet supporters - NOT TO BE PUBLICISED IN ADVANCE] [THCR 2/7/3/56]
1615Depart by helicopter
1645Arrive Battersea

At the time of writing the full diary for the day is available at: * http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/134478

[3] In the second photo on the Salisbury Journal webpage, I’m the chap to Mrs Thatcher’s left. She’s looking the other way and you can only see the top of my head, my coat, and my left boot.

Image credit

By Williams [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons