Churchill College archive

Brief Guide to the Archives

Churchill College, the national and Commonwealth memorial to Sir Winston Churchill and one of the colleges of the University of Cambridge, admitted its first students in 1960. It has a special statutory bias towards science and technology because of Sir Winston Churchill's desire to rectify the shortage of technological education in the UK.

The College's prehistory spans the 1950s: various schemes for technological education were discussed, including possible postgraduate training schemes at Cranfield Aeronautical College and Birmingham University, before a suggestion was made in 1957 to found a new college in Cambridge bearing Sir Winston's name. The first appeal for funds was launched in May 1958, and a large part of the College's endowment was acquired from British and American industry because of the College's intention to maintain strong links with industry and because of its link with the name of Sir Winston Churchill.

There are several printed articles and books on the history and buildings of Churchill College which are detailed in a bibliography.

Read the College history bibliography.

Professor Anthony Kelly has written a presentation on the College's first generation of famous scientists which is available.

Read presentation (PDF)

Items from the College Archive are regularly displayed within the College and the Archives Centre.

Subject categories

The College's archives are administered separately from the Churchill Archives Centre and are classified under the following categories:

Governing Records

These include records of the College's Council and Governing Body from 1959 to date. They also include papers of some of the individual Trustees who raised the money to establish the College and undertook its early administration. These include:

In particular, Colville's papers include records concerning plans for a "Technological Institute", 1956-8, which predate the idea of founding a new college in Cambridge.

Administrative Records

These include the following:

Academic Records

These include records relating to:

Clubs and Societies

These include records of College sports, social and dramatic clubs and societies.

They also include the records of The Churchill Group, which was active from 1980 to ca. 1990 and aimed to promote the efficient use of graduates as employees, especially in small businesses.

Historical Reference Records

This collection brings together publications, historical articles and reminiscences, drawings and artefacts about the College or events or people connected with it, including:

Cartoon from the Birmingham Mail 15 May 1958 (ref. CCRF 120/1/6)

Cartoon from the Birmingham Mail 15 May 1958 (ref. CCRF 120/1/6).


These include photographs of the following:

Sir Winston Churchill planting the founding tree at Churchill College

Photograph: Churchill's visit to the College, 17 Oct 1959, ref. CCPH 4/2.

Oral History Project

The Churchill Archives Centre holds a number of recordings made in the 1980s and 1990s with key Fellows and members of staff involved in the setting up of the College in the early 1960s and 1970s. These recordings are now being supplemented by further recordings which capture reminiscences of these early days of the College. 

Listen to the recordings

Personal Papers

These are chiefly papers of individual fellows relating to College administration. They include:


Most of the archives are fully catalogued, and access to the records is permitted to researchers, with the exception of those records containing personal, confidential or sensitive information. However, due to restrictions on space, enquiries are dealt with by post or e-mail wherever possible. For further information, please contact:

College Archivist
Churchill College
B3 0DS

Telephone: (01223) 336087
Fax: (01223) 336177

Founder & Foundation exhibition

Find out about our permanent exhibition on the history of the College and its founder.

Founder and Foundation