Collections Policy

The holdings of the Conservative Party Archive increase through regular transfers of papers from Conservative Campaign Headquarters, but deposits/donations of material from other sources are also welcome. We actively seek to locate and acquire new material which fits into any of the categories below. If you have or know of such material, or would like to talk to the Conservative Party Archivist about the type of material which we might be interested in, please get in touch:

Jeremy McIlwaine, Conservative Party Archivist
Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts
Bodleian Library
Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG
Tel: (01865)277 181
Email: jeremy.mcilwaine@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

Committees of the Parliamentary Party

Minutes and papers of committees of the Conservative Parliamentary Party have survived only haphazardly for the period 1945-1990s, until the role of servicing these committees was no longer carried out by members of staff of the Conservative Research Department. Since then the minutes, if any were formally taken, were retained by MPs themselves and no record survives in the Conservative Party Archive.

Personal papers

Material from private sources which helps to demonstrate the role of Conservative Central Office or its Area Offices, or any other key component within the Conservative Party structure, are equally welcome, as are the papers of key Party personnel.

Despite the huge amount of archival material which has survived, there are a number of gaps in our holdings owing to various Central Office moves over the years, and salvage drives during the War. These gaps, and a complete record of the history of the Party, can only be filled by the addition of personal papers.

Conservative Party-affiliated organisations

While the files of Conservative Central Office dating back to the 1930s contain details of contacts with other Conservative-leaning or affiliated organisations, the diverse and decentralised nature of these organisations means that often a full record of their activities is not always preserved in the CPA in the same way as for Central Office records.

The CPA has broadened its collections policy and now actively seeks to encourage the deposit of records of organisations affiliated to the Conservative Party. Click here for a list of those organisations whose records would be welcomed on deposit.

The CPA also takes in the records of Conservative-leaning think tanks, and currently holds papers and publications of the Bow Group, the Centre for Policy Studies and Civitas, amongst others.

Local Conservative Associations

Local Association records are just as important as an historical resource as the records of the central Party organisations, and should definitely be preserved. We have produced an advice sheet for local Conservative Associations on what to do with their old records, which can be downloaded here. Unfortunately owing to the sheer volume of constituency papers and minute books, the CPA is not in a position to accept them. There is a long tradition of local associations depositing their records with their local county record office, which will be happy to take them, and the information they contain is usually of much greater relevance if retained locally.

If you would like help in identifying the appropriate county record office to contact, or advice on what might be considered of interest, the Conservative Party Archivist will be happy to help.

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