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Online Talk: Iron Lady or Iron Chancellor? The 1981 Defence Review and the RAF Forty Years On

April 30, 2021 at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Join us on Zoom for a new Online Talk and discover the impact of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Defence policies on the RAF in the Cold War.

This talk will be presented by Dr Alastair Noble and is available to join FREE through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

In 1979, following the election as Prime Minister of Mrs Thatcher – dubbed ‘The Iron Lady’ by Moscow – the Cold War got even colder. This was exacerbated by the election the following year of Ronald Reagan as US President.

While Mrs Thatcher talked tough on Defence and expounded the value of the Special Relationship with Washington – the British economy, enduring the new Government’s strict monetarist policies – could not cope with funding considerably increased defence spending.

This talk will consider the resultant 1981 Defence Review, undertaken by John Nott, highlighting its impact on the Royal Air Force and its Cold War capabilities.

By Dr Alastair Noble

Joining the Talk

The talk will be held online on Zoom at 11am on Friday 30th April. Limited places are available.

Book your free ticket online here. One ticket per Zoom screen is required.

The Zoom joining details (ID & password) will be emailed to you shortly before the start of the talk. Please log on at 10.50am, ready for a prompt start at 11am.

During the talk, you will see and hear the speaker, but you will not be heard or seen on screen yourself. There will be the opportunity to ask questions via the Q&A function.

About the Cold War Talks Series

Bentley Priory Museum is delighted to be running a series of online talks exploring the Cold War, to complement our current project, Bentley Priory Bunker: Defending Britain from Nazi and Nuclear Threat.

These special talks are free to all, thanks to the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund. If you enjoy the talk and would like to support the Museum with a donation, any amount great or small is hugely appreciated!


A team of volunteers have been recruited to work on the project which aims to record and share the memories of RAF, ROC and WAAF personnel who worked in the Top Secret Bunker at RAF Bentley Priory, focusing on the key historical periods of the Battle of Britain in 1940 and the Cold War from 1945 to 1991.

A temporary exhibition is running at the Museum on open days throughout 2021, and a permanent exhibition is being created – we look forward to sharing it with you soon!

Our ongoing podcast series brings to life the experiences of those who worked in the Bunker during WWII and the Cold War through fascinating oral history interviews. Please listen to the podcasts via our website here: Bunker Podcasts


April 30, 2021
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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