Past Prime Ministers

William Pitt 'The Elder', 1st Earl of Chatham

Whig 1766 to 1768

“Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.”

William Pitt 'The Elder', 1st Earl of Chatham


15 November 1708, Westminster, London


11 May 1778, Hayes, Middlesex

Dates in office

1766 to 1768

Political party


Interesting facts

Pitt is credited with the birth of the British Empire. Such activities made him very popular with the people and he became known as the ‘Great Commoner’.


William Pitt ‘the Elder’ dominated British politics in the middle of the eighteenth century, although was only prime minister for 2 years.

A wildly popular politician with great influence, he effectively served as prime minister throughout the earlier premierships of the Duke of Devonshire and the Lord Newcastle.

His appreciated the relationship between war and trading success and chose his military campaigns to increase national trade. Conquering India, Canada, the West Indies and West Africa were all immensely beneficial to Britain’s merchants.

Read more about William Pitt ‘the Elder’, on the History of government blog.