Work is in progress on the preparation of a full catalogue to the collection, which is available on the Janus webserver.
Based on this collection and from other sources in the archive and elsewhere, Oxford University Press have published a CD-ROM of Thatcher's public statements 1945-90, a comprehensive edition offering the best surviving text of every speech, interview, press conference, and article she delivered over that period (some 7,100 statements, comprising 14m words in all). Copies of the CD-ROM may be used or purchased at the Archives Centre (please contact Thatcher.Archives@chu.cam.ac.uk for further details) while significant parts of the CD-ROM and many early archive documents from the Thatcher Papers are also available on-line at the Margaret Thatcher Foundation's official site, one of the largest contemporary history sites of its kind.
The archive contains over 1 million documents in nearly three thousand archive boxes currently occupying around 300 metres of shelving. The papers date from Margaret Thatcher's childhood to the present day, and include tens of thousands of photographs, as well as a vast collection of press cuttings, and many audio and video tapes of public and private events. Thatcher never kept a diary, but the archive includes rich details of her role in important domestic and world events.
The bulk of the collection, however, relates to the Thatcher's period as leader of the Conservative Party, 1975-90. There are extensive files from her time as Leader of the Opposition (1975-79), including correspondence with Shadow Cabinet colleagues, minutes of Shadow Cabinet and policy committees, and briefing material of all kinds. There are also thousands of speech drafts, press releases and administrative files (e.g., planning for election visits).
Papers on the premiership (1979-90) are more extensive still. Their organisation reflects the way in which Number Ten Downing Street arranged Prime Ministerial business, sharply distinguishing official from party and personal matters. Most of the official archive remains in government hands, while party and personal material can be found at Churchill College.
The papers include an extensive press cutting collection covering the years 1949-80 in over 70 boxes. Originally compiled by Conservative Central Office, it is one of the most comprehensive collections ever attempted, drawing on every national and many regional newspapers.
The archive also includes extensive files amassed in the years since the end of the Thatcher premiership, including correspondence with former colleagues in office, notes of important meetings, and many documents created during the writing of the two volumes of Thatcher's memoirs.
Since the transfer of the Thatcher Papers to Churchill Archives Centre the Trust has agreed to the release of material which is already in the public domain, e.g. press cuttings and photographs. The Trust and Churchill Archives Centre recognise that a significant portion of the Thatcher Papers relates to Margaret Thatcher's time as Prime Minister (1979-90) and that much of the archive will be subject to the Public Records Act and other appropriate official closures as determined by the Cabinet Office.
The Trust and Churchill Archives Centre are also committed to respecting the fair and lawful processing of personal data, as required by the Data Protection Act (1998), relating to parties mentioned directly and indirectly in the Papers. This may necessitate the closure of certain series of papers, or of items within series. In these instances all closure periods and dates of review or opening will be clearly indicated or made available on application to the Trust.
At their annual meeting in 2003, the Trustees enthusiastically endorsed the release of significant sections of the Papers dating from before May 1979. They subsequently authorised the release of her personal and political papers for 1979, the first year of her premiership, in February 2010, and more papers are opened each year.