Releases of Margaret Thatcher's personal papers

Summary

A summary of the opening of Margaret Thatcher's papers by year of release:

1987 | 1986 | 1985 | AiL | 1984 | 1983 | 1982 | 1981 | 1980 | 1979


Release of MT's personal papers for 1987:

Lady Thatcher’s personal and political papers for 1987 were opened on Tuesday 10 October 2017 at Churchill Archives Centre. Around 50,000 pages have been released. Highlights of the previously unseen materials include:

Papers relating to preparations for Mrs Thatcher’s visit to the Soviet Union in March/April 1987 ahead of the  General Election campaign. The papers released include materials relating to a seminar of Soviet experts assembled  by Mrs Thatcher  and held at Chequers on 27 February 1987 and sketches of clothes for the visit made for the Prime Minister by Margaret King of Aquascutum. 

Reproduced by kind permission of Mrs Margaret King

Reproduced by kind permission of Mrs Margaret King.

As in previous years, key extracts are available on the website of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation.


Release of MT's personal papers for 1986

Lady Thatcher’s personal and political papers for 1986 were opened on Monday 23 January 2017 at Churchill Archives Centre. Around 40,000 pages have been released.

Highlights of the previously unseen materials include:

Thatcher's Signature - 1986 release of Papers

As in previous years, key extracts are available on the website of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation.


Release of MT's personal papers for 1985:

Lady Thatcher’s personal and political papers for 1985 were opened on Monday 12 October 2015 at Churchill Archives Centre. Around 43,000 pages have been released.

Highlights of the previously unseen materials include:

Analysis by Bernard Ingham of public reaction to Margaret Thatcher, 1985

Analysis by Bernard Ingham of public reaction to Margaret Thatcher, 1985. Reference: Thatcher Papers, THCR 5/1/4/101.

Key extracts are available on the website of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation.

Thatcher Foundation


Baroness Thatcher's personal papers are acquired for the nation:

 On 18 June 2015 Arts Council England announced the acceptance in lieu of inheritance tax of papers from the estate of Baroness Thatcher, who was the longest serving British Prime Minster of the 20th century.

The papers accepted complement and complete the rich materials already gifted to the Nation. In 1997, just over six years after leaving office, Baroness Thatcher generously gifted the bulk of her personal and political files to the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust, stressing that she had always wanted her archive to stay in the United Kingdom and to be a resource for students and scholars. The collection, deposited at Churchill Archives Centre, contains material from her earliest life right the way through her time as an MP (1959–92), Conservative party leader (1975–90), Prime Minister (1979–90), and beyond. She kept possession of some key personal papers and of much post 1990 material which is now accepted in lieu and which completes the archive.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England said:

"Whatever our politics we have to recognise Margaret Thatcher as a major historical figure. Her papers will now join those of Churchill and be available to scholars of the 20th century."

The collection accepted in lieu of tax, contains her most personal papers including three handwritten personal memoirs by Margaret Thatcher relating to crucial episodes in her time as Prime Minister.

Other significant items include:

First page of Margaret Thatcher's Falklands memoir

Above: The first page of Margaret Thatcher's Falklands memoir.

Access to the papers accepted will follow existing arrangements for the core collection of the Thatcher papers held by the Churchill Archives Centre. The papers already donated by Margaret Thatcher are generally being opened in parallel with official material held at the UK’s National Archives. Currently the majority of papers up to the end of 1984 are available, subject only to occasional closures recommended by the Cabinet Secretary for sensitive official material and any closures necessary to comply with the Data Protection Act. Certain of the papers accepted (generally those dated before 1985) are already available at the Archives Centre and online on Thatcher Foundation’s website. Further materials will continue to be added to the website on their release.

Later materials accepted are still being sorted and catalogued but include significant materials relating to the 1990 Conservative Leadership election.

Churchill College is delighted that this material will be housed in the Churchill Archives Centre in perpetuity as part of her personal archive. Speaking on the news, Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre said:

“The Churchill Archives Centre is delighted that this important material has been secured in perpetuity, and that it will form part of Lady Thatcher’s personal archive, sitting along side the papers that she donated during her lifetime. As the reaction to this news shows, there is huge research interest in her as a political figure and in the events of her life and premiership, and the material accepted today will inform further study, discussion and debate. It is an important part of the story of our recent past.” 

The acceptance of Margaret Thatcher’s papers settled £1,013,250 of tax. 

The relevant papers are freely available at the Churchill Archives Centre with selections online from the Margaret Thatcher Foundation website.

The Thatcher Papers

Thatcher Foundation


 

Release of MT's personal papers for 1984:

Note by Thatcher on "the enemy within"

Note by Thatcher on "the enemy within", 1984.

Lady Thatcher’s personal and political papers for 1984 were opened on Friday 3 October 2014 at Churchill Archives Centre. Around 40,000 pages have been released.

Highlights include:

Key extracts are available on the website of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation.

Margaret Thatcher Foundation


Release of MT's personal papers for 1983:

Note to Thatcher from Bernard Ingham, 1983

Warning note to Thatcher from Bernard Ingham.

Margaret Thatcher's 1983 papers were opened at the Archives Centre and online on the website of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation in October 2013.

Previously unseen personal papers for that year are now being made available for the first time.

Highlights include:


Release of MT's personal papers for 1982:

Rough notes on Thatcher's Falklands War Cabinet, 1982

MT's notes made at a discussion with former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, showing the names for inclusion in her Falklands War Cabinet (at that stage just MT, Chiefs of Staff, the Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary.

Reference: Thatcher Papers, THCR 1/20/3/5.

Margaret Thatcher's 1982 papers were opened online on the website of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation and at the Archives Centre in March 2013.

Margaret Thatcher Foundation

The year was dominated by the Falklands War, a conflict that defined much of Margaret Thatcher's political career and legacy. Her previously unseen personal papers on the war are now being made available. Highlights include:

Other papers being released include: detailed materials on her visit to China later in 1982, with papers on the diplomatic protocol, Mrs Thatcher's clothes for the visit and the choice of menus for the key dinner for the Chinese; political papers outlining key decisions taken during the year; and something of the Prime Minister's private life at No 10 (the release features a letter from Barry Humphries, who sent her a letter of thanks for dinner with an accompanying Dame Edna Everage cooking apron).

Rough notes on Thatcher's Falklands War Cabinet, 1982

Margaret Thatcher's reaction on hearing of the Argentine surrender and the end of the war, noting details of where men and equipment were to go, and numbers of prisoners and where to put them.

Reference: Thatcher Papers, THCR 1/20/3/48.


Release of MT's personal papers for 1981:

Margaret Thatcher's 1981 papers were opened online on the website of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation and at the Archives Centre in March 2012.

The highlights include:

Doodles by President Reagan, 1981

Doodles left by President Reagan on the table beside Margaret Thatcher at the G7 summit at Ottawa in 1981, which she picked up and filed away in the No 10 Downing Street flat.

Reference: Thatcher Papers, THCR 1/3/6.

Reproduced by kind permission of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.


Release of MT's personal papers for 1980:

On 21 March 2011 the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust opened for study at the Churchill Archives Centre Lady Thatcher's personal and political papers for 1980. In all nearly 30,000 pages of documents were opened.

The highlights include:


Release of MT's personal papers for 1979:

On 30 January 2010 the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust opened for study at the Churchill Archives Centre Lady Thatcher's personal and political papers from her first year as Prime Minister, May to December 1979.

The highlights include:

In 2003 and 2008 the vast majority of Margaret Thatcher's private files up to May 1979 were released at Churchill Archives Centre, the first time the private papers of a living former Prime Minister have been made available to the public.

Margaret Thatcher's official files for 1979 were opened at the National Archives in Kew at the beginning of January 2010: this is the first time a British Prime Minister's private and official papers have been released in tandem.

The Churchill Archives Centre and Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust are currently arranging to digitise all of Margaret Thatcher's personal and political papers files from her earliest years up to the end of her premiership, comprising around a million pages of documents.

When the material is ready for release, many of these documents will be placed online at the official website of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation, which already offers massive online resources.

Margaret Thatcher Foundation


Contact

For further information about this release from the Thatcher Papers, please contact Andrew Riley (Archivist of the Papers at Churchill College) by e-mail:

Thatcher.Archives@chu.cam.ac.uk