Skip to main content

Acquired papers relating to Sir Winston Churchill, 1878 - 1977

Reference Code: GBR/0014/CHAQ

Scope and Contents

From the Fonds:

The papers consist of original documents accumulated by Sir Winston Churchill throughout his life (1874-1965). They have been divided into three sections: the Chartwell Papers (CHAR) and the Churchill Papers (CHUR), with some additional material (CHAQ). Together, the three sets of papers cover the following major areas:

Personal (CHAR 1, CHUR 1 and CHAQ 1/1 and 2/1), 1884-1965

The papers of Churchill as a private person. They include correspondence with or about his family and friends on non-public topics and papers relating to Churchill's personal, financial and legal affairs and his social life.

Public and Political: general (CHAR 2, CHUR 2 and CHAQ 1/2 and 2/2), 1898-1964

The papers relating to Churchill's activities as a person in public life other than his work as MP for a particular constituency or as a Minister. The content of these classes is very diverse and includes 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. These classes also include papers relating to governmental business with which Churchill was not involved as a Minister or a member of the Cabinet.

Constituency (CHAR 3-CHAR 7, CHUR 3 and CHAQ 1/3-4), 1900-1964

These classes cover each of the constituencies represented by Churchill (Oldham, North-West Manchester, Dundee, Epping and Woodford). Each class contains correspondence and papers relating to local affairs generally, elections, meetings and speeches. There is correspondence with constituents on general political topics and about Churchill's actions on behalf of local interests.

Literary (CHAR 8, CHUR 4 and CHAQ 1/5 and 2/3), 1890-1965

These classes contain correspondence with publishers, editors and printers, and other correspondence in connection with Churchill's huge output of literary and journalistic work both during and after publication. The classes also contain material assembled for writing, notes and drafts, printer's copy, proofs and reviews.

Speeches (CHAR 9, CHUR 5 and CHAQ 1/6 and 2/4), 1897-1965

The papers in these classes are arranged (as far as possible) by particular speeches and include notes, drafts, speaking notes, press releases, press cuttings, extracts from Hansard (the parliamentary record of debates in the House of Commons) and printed material.

Official (CHAR 10-27, CHUR 6 and CHAQ 1/7-10 and 2/5), 1902-1957

There is one class for each office held by Churchill. The departmental classes contain the correspondence, memoranda, prints, and other papers arising out of Churchill's activities as a Minister responsible for particular departments and include correspondence with colleagues, officials, acquaintances, and the general public.


  • Creation: 1878 - 1977

Language of Materials

The majority of CHAQ is in English, but also includes material in other languages (mostly French)

Conditions Governing Access

From the Fonds:

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 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 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.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.


24 archive box(es)


There was very little original arrangement surviving, and so the papers have been organised following the arrangement of the Churchill Papers catalogue (CHAR and CHUR).

The arrangement of the Churchill Papers (CHAR and CHUR) follows, in part, the way that papers were arranged by WSC's staff who sorted them into categories such as literary, political, personal, official, speeches, and financial. The initial work of arrangement and listing of the CHAR and CHUR papers was carried out between 1961 and 1964 by staff of the Public Record Office (PRO, now the National Archives).

The Churchill papers (CHAR and CHUR) were divided into 2 groups. The papers dating from before 27 July 1945 when Churchill's first term as Prime Minister ended are known as the Chartwell Papers (catalogue reference CHAR) and were originally owned by the Chartwell Trust. The papers dating from after 27 July 1945 (catalogue reference CHUR) are known as the Churchill Papers and were given to Churchill College by Lady Churchill in 1969. The arrangement of the Churchill Acquired papers (CHAQ) also follows this division. CHAQ 1 is the equivalent of the Chartwell Papers (CHAR), and CHAQ 2 is the equivalent of the Churchill Papers (CHUR).

Custodial History

These papers were mostly acquired from Sir Martin Gilbert between 2015 and 2017. The collection also includes some material deposited by Martin Gilbert in 1974 and previously catalogued as part of the Churchill Additional papers (WCHL 14).

Related Materials

Related to the Churchill Papers (CHAR and CHUR).


Many items are published in ‘Winston S. Churchill’, a multi-volume biography of Winston Churchill and companion volumes by Randolph S. Churchill, Martin Gilbert and Larry P. Arnn (published from 1966 onwards). Publication details of individual documents are included in the catalogue descriptions.


English and French


Finding aid created by Madelin Evans from 2020- using International Standard for Archival Description - General rules.

Note on cataloguing

The term “file” has been used in the catalogue to describe a group of material which was clearly originally kept together. The term “folder” has been used to describe a group of material which was put together at the time of cataloguing.

Note on cataloguing

Notes about custodial history and related materials are at file level if the notes are relevant to the whole file. If the custodial history or related materials note is only relevant to the individual item then these notes are at item level.

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087