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Allen Packwood, Director of the Archives Centre, offers a glimpse into the thousands of boxes stored there as he shares some of his favourite documents and discusses the insights they provide for the study of the modern era.
The Churchill Archives Centre is home to the papers of Sir Winston Churchill, Baroness Thatcher, Sir John Major and almost six hundred of their contemporaries: politicians, diplomats, civil servants, military leaders and scientists of the Churchill era and beyond. It is still collecting. Allen likes to joke that it is the equivalent of four American Presidential Libraries!
Allen Packwood BA, MPhil (Cantab), is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He was awarded an OBE for services to archives and scholarship in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours. He is a qualified archivist who has worked at the Churchill Archives Centre since September 1995, succeeding Dr Piers Brendon as Acting Keeper in 2001, before being appointed Director in 2002. Allen was co-curator of 'Churchill and the Great Republic', a Library of Congress exhibition, which ran from February – July 2004, and of 'Churchill: The Power of Words', a display at the Morgan Library in New York from June till September 2012.
Allen has also organised many events and lectures, including the successful conference on 'The Cold War and its Legacy', staged over two days at Churchill College in November 2009, and attended by senior representatives from China, Germany, Roumania, the Russian Federation and the United States. He also helped to organise Churchill 2015, a programme of events commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Sir Winston’s death, and was successful in getting the Churchill archive inscribed on the UNESCO international register for the Memory of the World.
He is the author of several articles, co-wrote the publication accompanying the Library of Congress display, edited the guide to the Churchill Archives Centre, and has lectured extensively on Churchill in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Allen’s job has taken him to Bermuda, Cuba, Singapore, Hong Kong and in 2011 he accompanied Celia Sandys and Lady Soames on a Chasing Churchill Mediterranean Cruise. His book, How Churchill Waged War, was published by Pen & Sword in 2018.
This event forms part of the University's Alumni Festival and can be booked through their website.