Conservative Party Archive
This collection, on deposit from the Conservative Party, comprises the archives of the various components which make up the modern Conservative Party from the late 19th century when it first developed a truly national organisation, up to the present day.
It consists primarily of the records of Conservative Central Office which was set up in 1870 (but which only survive from the 1930s onwards), including its many departments and committees, the most significant of which was the Chairman’s Office.
Probably the most important part of the archive are the papers of the Conservative Research Department, which was set up by Chamberlain following defeat in the 1929 general election. Its papers are complete back to that date and continue to be added to regularly. Of particular significance are the minutes and papers of its many policy groups, particularly during periods when the party was in opposition, as well as the minutes and papers of some committees of the parliamentary party for the period c.1945–1980s. Besides these, the archive also holds the records of the 1922 Committee (since 1923), the Whips’ Office (since 1923), and the Shadow Cabinet (since 1945).
The oldest extant records of the Conservative Party are those of the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations, which represented the voluntary wing of the party and its grass-roots membership, from its founding in 1867 until it was superseded by the National Conservative Convention in 1998. Its records include those of the annual Conservative Party conferences (since 1867), its regional area offices (since 1886), and its various national advisory committees for women, trade unions, local government, teachers and students (since 1945).
In addition, there is a small but growing collection of publications and papers of conservative-leaning think tanks and Conservative Party-affiliated groups.
Audio-visual collections include:
- press agency photographs of Conservative Party conferences, events and personalities, 1903–present
- video tapes and audio cassettes (PDF) of party conferences and party political broadcasts, 1970s–1990s
- CDs, DVDs, digital video tape of party conferences, PPBs, Webcameron etc. since c. 2001
- copies of interviews with key Conservative Party personalities carried out either as part of our oral history programme or donated from other sources
- some film, c. 1950s–1970s
Printed and published material includes: