The Churchill Archives Centre – home to the personal papers of Sir Winston Churchill, Baroness Thatcher and Sir John Major – has been awarded Archive Service Accreditation. 

Accredited Archive Services ensure the long-term collection, preservation and accessibility of our archive heritage. Accreditation is the UK quality standard and achieving accredited status demonstrates that Churchill Archives Centre has met clearly defined national standards.

The Churchill Archives Centre was purpose-built in 1973 to house Sir Winston Churchill’s papers— some 3000 boxes of letters and documents ranging from his first childhood letters, via his great war-time speeches, to the writings which earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature. They form an incomparable documentary treasure trove.

Archives Centre Director Allen Packwood said:

“This is an important recognition that the Churchill Archives Centre not only has great collections, but also the systems in place to ensure they are properly and professionally preserved, catalogued and made available. Accreditation is a badge we accept with much pride and pleasure.”

Today, the Centre holds the papers of nearly 600 people, including those of major political, military and scientific figures such as Ernest Bevin, Neil Kinnock, Admiral Ramsay, Field Marshall Slim, Frank Whittle and Rosalind Franklin.

The Archives Centre is situated within the grounds of Churchill College, itself the National and Commonwealth Memorial to Sir Winston. It includes air-conditioned reading rooms, a strong room with elaborate security systems, and a sophisticated conservation laboratory and a sorting room in which raw history is put into boxes. The mission of the Centre is to preserve and provide access to the unique materials in its care.

The Archive Service Accreditation Panel said:

“This was a very impressive application all round. The service offers excellent collections management to its high-profile collections, and provides an impressive and growing range of services to its stakeholders, from leading political figures and researchers, and to the wide range of interested audiences which its internationally-important collections serve. The collections and the Centre are demonstrably an asset to the College and to the University.”

Mr Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper of the National Archives, presented the certificate to Dame Athene Donald, Master of Churchill College, on Monday, July 13.

Accredited Archive Service logo

Photo: Tim Powell (National Archives), Natalie Adams (Churchill Archives), Jeff James (Keeper, National Archives), Dame Athene Donald (Master, Churchill College), Allen Packwood (Churchill Archives) celebrate the award of Accredited Archive status to the Churchill Archives Centre.