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The Papers of Lord and Lady Esher

Reference Code: GBR/0014/ESHR

Scope and Contents

The collection includes: Lord Esher's journals; general, political, royal, personal and literary correspondence; political papers, particularly on army reform and India; literary papers; press cuttings.


  • Creation: 1848 - 1997

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

Esher was born in London, on 30 June 1852. He was the eldest son of the 1st Viscount Esher and Eugenie (daughter of Louis Mayer). He succeeded his father in 1899. He married Eleanor (daughter of M. Van de Weyer, Belgian Minister at the Court of St James’s) in 1869, they had two sons and two daughters. Esher was educated at Eton and at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Esher was MP for Penryn and Falmouth, 1880-1885, and Private Secretary to the Marquess of Hartington, 1878-1885. He was Secretary to HM Office of Works, 1895-1902, and Chairman of the War Office Reconstitution Committee in 1904. Esher was also Deputy Governor of Windsor Castle [Berkshire] from 1901-28 (and Governor from 1928 until his death in 1930) and a permanent member of the Committee of Imperial Defence from 1905.


128 archive box(es) : paper

Language of Materials



The papers have been arranged in series of: journals; letters and memoranda; correspondence; papers; and literary material.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The papers have been bound by a number of binders. Often papers have been folded to fit the volume and the bindings are quite tight. For this reason, it is not possible to obtain photocopies of the papers.

Other Finding Aids

The collection has been catalogued. This finding aid is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London. Printed copies of the complete catalogue are available at Churchill Archives Centre, and an online version is available from the Access to Archives site (

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were mainly deposited by Lord Esher, with one addition from Captain Stephen Roskill.

Related Materials

There is a collection of correspondence between Lord Esher and W K Stead in the Stead Papers (GBR/0014/STED 1/25).


"The journals and letters of Lord Esher" have been edited by Maurice V Brett and published in four volumes (Ivor Nicholson and Watson Limited, London, 1934-1938). Copies are available for consultation in Churchill Archives Centre's Reading Room.


The collection level description was prepared by Louise King and Natalie Adams of Churchill Archives Centre using information from the catalogue to the papers. Further series descriptions were added by Katharine Thomson in December 2005, and the catalogue was retro converted, with further series and file descriptions by Sandra Marsh in May 2007.


Brett, Reginald Baliol, 1852-1930, 2nd Viscount Esher, politician

2002-01-16 14:45:14+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

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