18 Mar 1923 Born, son of 1st Baron Silkin PC, CH, younger brother of Samuel Silkin, (later Lord Silkin of Dulwich)
Education: Dulwich College, University of Wales, Trinity Hall, Cambridge (BA 1944, LLM)
1942: Joined Royal Navy
1943: Commissioned as Sub-Lieutenant, R.N.V.R., serving in East Indies Fleet, Eastern Fleet and British Pacific Fleet aboard HMS King George V and HMS Formidable
1945: Promoted Lieutenant, R.N.V.R.
1946: Demobilised, returned to Cambridge
1950: Admitted Solicitor. Married Rosamund John (actress). Contested (Lab) St Marylebone.
1951: Contested (Lab) West Woolwich
1954: Son born, Rory L.F. Silkin
1959: Contested (Lab) South Nottingham
1962-63: Councillor for London Borough of St Marylebone
1963-87: Labour MP for Deptford (July 1963-74), Lewisham, Deptford, 1974-87
1966-69: Government Chief Whip
1968-69: Deputy Leader, House of Commons
1969-70: Minister of Public Buildings and Works
1974-76: Minister for Planning and Local Government in the Department of the Environment
1976-79: Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
1979-80: Opposition Spokesman on Industry
1980-83: Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
1981-83: Opposition Spokesman on Defence and Disarmament
1985-86: Dairy Industry Arbitrator
26 Mar 1987: Died
Posthumous publication: "Changing Battlefields: The Challenge to the Labour Party".
The papers held at Churchill Archives Centre cover Silkin's Parliamentary and Ministerial career, and his other public interests, including the Channel Tunnel, the E.E.C. and the dairy industry. There is material of particular interest on Silkin's difficulties with his Constituency Party in Deptford, and on the Labour Party Leadership and Deputy Leadership elections in 1980 and 1983.
The papers of John Silkin were given to the Churchill Archives Centre by his widow, Mrs Rosamund Silkin in February 1990.