IT WAS on this day in 1990 when John Major won the Conservative leadership election, allowing him to replace Margaret Thatcher as prime minister.

The occasion had a profound effect on politics and the country in general.

To mark the date we present 10 facts about the two PMs of 1990 as well as the role of prime minister and 10 Downing Street which you might not know:

  • There have been 53 prime ministers to date, 52 of them men and just one woman.
  • There are actually three No.10 Downing Street doors. A blast-proof steel door, so heavy it takes eight men to lift it, is regularly replaced with a replica to allow refurbishment. The original black oak door, replaced after an IRA attack in 1991, is held in the Imperial War Museum.
  • The title ‘prime minister’ was originally a term of abuse rather than a description of an official role.
  • Serving for 20 years as First Lord of the Treasury in the 18th century, Sir Robert Walpole is generally regarded as having been the first modern PM. His official title of the time remains on the letterbox of No 10.
  • As PM from1979 to 1990, Mrs Thatcher was the longest-serving person in the position during the 20th century. Robert Walpole is the longest serving PM of all.
  • The nickname of the Iron Lady applied to Margaret Thatcher was coined by Russian military journalist Captain Yuri Gavrilov in 1976 in response to a speech the future PM gave warning about the rise of the Soviet Union.
  • Mrs Thatcher lost both the 1950 and 1951 general elections as Dartford candidate but met her future husband Denis in 1951 at a Paint Trades Federation function in the town.
  • The former prime minister attempted to be the Conservative candidate for the Orpington parliamentary by-election of 1955 but she was defeated – however, she made her family home in the area, living in Holwood Park Avenue, Farnborough, while her children Carol and Mark were growing up.
  • John Major’s grandson Harrison was born at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup in 1990. His son James was married to model Emma Noble at the time.
  • John Major once said: “The politician who never made a mistake never made a decision.” Arguably his most famous quote is: “It is time to get back to basics: to self-discipline and respect for the law, to consideration for others, to accepting responsibility for yourself and your family, and not shuffling it off on the state.”

Were you pleased at the time to see the back of Margaret Thatcher as PM or did you want her to continue for longer? What do you think are the positives from John Major's premiership? Who do you think has been Britain's greatest prime minister? Add your comments below.