Scope and Contents
The papers in this class relate to WSC's activities as a person in public life other than those as MP for a particular constituency or as a Minister, and the class inevitably forms a miscellany of papers of widely differing kinds and value. They include notes and correspondence with colleagues, acquaintances, and the general public, on topics of contemporary general interest, on party political matters, and on appointments to various positions, together with invitations to speak at meetings and multifarious letters from members of the public drawn to write to an influential public figure. In particular it should be noted that the class includes papers relating to governmental business with which WSC was not at the relevant time concerned as Minister of a Department or a member of the Cabinet; notable examples occur in 1916 in connection with the Dardanelles Commission of Inquiry, and 1930-39 in connection with India and defence matters, except where the latter concerned him as a member of the Air Defence Research Committee of the Committe of Imperial Defence. The class also includes the papers kept by the Personal Office during World War II. This Office, as opposed to the Private Office, dealt with non-official matters but the distinction is not drawn very clearly and the difference is largely one of administration. While the Personal Office material, viewed as a whole, falls naturally into this class, there are numerous individual items which would in other circumstances have been placed elsewhere, particularly in Personal (CHAR 1). The main series of Personal Office correspondence was known at the time as P(rivate?) and P(ersonal?). It includes some correspondence on gifts made or offered to WSC, although there was also a series know as Gifts which dealt with this topic and has been preserved. Similarly, although there is a series called General Public (formerly Ordinaries), much correspondence from the general public is to be found in the main correspondence series. The Patronage series concerns the activities of WSC as patron or member of, or subscriber to various associations and institutions. There are also files of congratulations on various occasions.
Conditions Governing Access
The Churchill Papers are made available to researchers using Churchill Archives Centre and worldwide in digital format. The digital edition of the Churchill Papers is published by Bloomsbury Academic and is available online to subscribing institutions at churchillarchive.com. The Churchill archive is freely available in our reading rooms and onsite at Churchill College (via the Churchill College wireless network). Researchers can download images of documents directly from churchillarchive.com and so are encouraged to consider bringing a laptop or other device for this purpose. For conservation reasons, the fragile originals are no longer issued to researchers.
This digital edition is open to researchers unless otherwise marked in the catalogue. Some material has been closed by the Cabinet Office or by Churchill Archives Centre in accordance with data protection legislation.