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BBC News Vote 2001 Vote2001 | Audio Video 
Election Battles 1945-1997
Intro 1945 1950 1951
1955
1959 1964 1966 1970 1974
Feb
1974
0ct
1979 1983 1987 1992 1997
1955: Eden's mandate
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Overview
Battlefield
Campaign
Personalities
Issues
Results
1955: Coronation
The coronation chimed with the UK's upbeat mood

Watch and listen 1955
The BBC’s first televised election programme
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The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
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Sir Anthony Eden takes questions from the press
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The BBC used the new Electronic Brain to calculate results
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1955: Winston Churchill
Churchill leaves Downing Street
Key events
1953 Korean War ends
1953 Stalin dies
1953 Elizabeth II crowned
1955, April Churchill resigns
Despite having been in his eighties and his physical and mental health having been shattered by four strokes by the time of his retirement, Winston Churchill held on to the prime ministership as long as possible.

When he finally stepped down in April 1955 it was in favour of his foreign secretary, Sir Anthony Eden.

Eden was popular and suited the public mood, although his public persona hid a deeply neurotic personality.

But his telegenic looks and gentlemanly manner suited a nation quietly on the up.

Food rationing had ended and public optimism was also lifted by the coronation of a young Queen.

Fears of an imminent third world war had been pushed back with the death of Stalin and the end of the Korean War, both in 1953.

With Churchill’s decision to stand down the decks were clear for an election - with the economy beginning to look shaky the Tories decided to chance their arm before a possible downturn.