Access Restrictions

All published and printed material, including transcripts of speeches, Party political broadcasts or election addresses, General Election posters, and Party publications, is available for research.

Most unpublished and manuscript material in the Conservative Party Archive is subject to a 30-year rule, so that, currently, only material up to 31st December 1988 is freely available for consultation. The general conditions applying as of 1st January 2019 are as follows:

  • Material dated up to 31 December 1988 is available for research.
  • Material from 1st January 1989 to 31st December 2003 can be viewed only with permission from Conservative Campaign Headquarters (see Access Permission Applications below for contact details).
  • Material dated after 31st December 2003 is closed.

Application may be made to view closed material dated between 1st January 1989 and 31st December 2003 via the Conservative Party Archivist who will liaise with Conservative Campaign Headquarters on readers' behalf. Please give full details of the files which you wish to consult and the reason that you require access in order to assist Conservative Campaign Headquarters in their considerations. For a checklist of what must be included in your letter or email application click here. Blanket permission to access whole series of restricted files is never given, and permission requests will only be considered for specific files on a file-by-file basis.

Please note: as well as the general 30-year access restriction, certain series within the Conservative Party Archive are closed, regardless of date. This includes the papers of the 1922 Committee [Series shelfmark: 1922], the Whips' Office [Series shelfmark: WHIP], Party Chairman's Office [Series shelfmark: CCO 20] and the papers of Sir Keith Joseph [Series shelfmark: KJ]. Again, it is possible to make application to view files from these series, and the relevant contact for each is provided below:

Party Chairman's Office papers

The Conservative Party Archivist, Room 3.19, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG (Tel: +44 (0) 1865 277181, Email:

Whips' Office

The Chief Whip, House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A OAA

1922 Committee papers

The Chairman, 1922 Committee, House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A OAA

Please note: you should ensure that you have arranged the necessary permission to view any restricted access files before you visit the Library as they cannot be produced until this permission has been received. It is advisable to make any application several weeks in advance of your intended visit in order to guarantee that you receive it in time. Owing to the demands on staff time in processing restricted file access requests, a maximum of 5 restricted files only may be requested at any one time (this is an absolute number and does not increase should permission not be granted for some files).  

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