With many thanks to Elizabeth McCarthy, Conservative Party Archive, Bodleian Library, who wrote this guest blog.The Conservative Party Archive (CPA), held in the Bodleian Library, is the official archive of the Conservative Party; the papers it holds date back to 1867 and the first conference of the Conservative & Unionist Association (in a London pub!). The archive was established in 1978, and it is currently one of the biggest archives in the Bodleian, with more material arriving all the time.
What’s in it?
The CPA can be divided into a number of main sections, representing the primary areas of Conservative Party organisation.
It holds the papers of the ‘elected’ or ‘parliamentary’ party – for example, the papers of the 1922 Committee and the Shadow Cabinet.
It also includes the Party’s ‘voluntary’ organisations, from the National Union of Conservative & Unionist Associations to think tanks around the nation.
Finally, it holds the material of what can be called the ‘professional’ Party – Conservative Central Office, the Conservative Research Department and high level committees.The CPA also holds large collections of published material and ephemera, including over 100 years of election posters.
What subjects are covered?
CPA material is particularly strong in the following areas:
- Conservative policy on foreign, colonial and commonwealth affairs, 1930s-present
- All areas of domestic policy – health, education, social security, transport, trade and industry, etc., 1930s-present
- General Election planning and strategies, 1929-2010
- Development of parliamentary democracy in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, c 1945-present
- Debates during annual Conservative Party conferences, 1867-1977
The CPA collections are growing all the time, and the archive is in the process of making available a number of sections that have not been used for research before.
If you are keen to get your hands on an ‘untapped’ collection, just get in touch!
How do I use it?
CPA material is read in Duke Humfrey’s Library in the Old Bodleian, and you’ll need to make an appointment to see it. To do so, email email@example.com or phone 01865 277181. You’ll need to have a category A reader’s card (more on Admissions); get in touch with the CPA or with the Admissions office if you have any questions about this.
Get in touch
- Website: http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/cpa/
- Online catalogue http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/wmss/online/modern/cpa/catalogue.html
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Blog: http://conservativepartyarchive.blogspot.co.uk/
- Follow on Twitter @ToryArchives
Minutes of the first ever annual Conservative Party Conference, 12 November 1867
[CPA: NUA 2/1/1]
Minutes of the Special Meeting of the National Union’s Central Council held on 14 July 1971, at which Heath addressed 1,800 members on the subject of the terms for Britain’s entry into the EEC as published in the Government’s White Paper; one of the questions put to him after his speech concerned whether or not Conservative MPs would be allowed a free vote in Parliament. [CPA: NUA 3/1/4]
Summary of recommendations made for the reorganisation of the Conservative Party following defeat in the 1945 General Election
[CPA: CCO 500/1/13]