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Thursday, 5 March, 1998, 20:40 GMT
Chancellors boxing clever
New Labour...new Budget Box
For his first Budget in July 1997, Gordon Brown had a new Budget Box made by trainees at Rosyth dockyard. The four trainees appeared on the steps of Number 11 on Budget Day for a photo-opportunity with the new Chancellor.

Gladstone Box
The famous Gladstone box
Prior to this the Budget speech was usually carried to the Commons in a red leather box made for William Gladstone around 1860. James Callaghan, Chancellor from 1964-67, rejected the box as being too small and had a new larger box made in brown leather. The original 'Gladstone' box went on display in the Public Records Office until Callaghan's successor, Roy Jenkins, requested its return.

In 1868, Chancellor George Ward-Hunt discovered on opening his box in the Chamber that he had left his speech at home. The custom of brandishing the box for photographers on the steps of 11 Downing Street is believed to have originated with Hugh Dalton, the first post-war Chancellor.

On Budget Day a special scaffold is erected outside Number 11 so that the hundreds of photographers can get the all-important shot of the Chancellor holding the box aloft.

Links to more DID YOU KNOW stories are at the foot of the page.


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