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The Papers of Nina, Lady Onslow

Reference Code: GBR/0014/ONSL

Scope and Contents

The collection chiefly compiles Lady Onslow's personal letters written to her parents and sister "Jim" from her travels in Churchill's service. They provide first hand evidence of her experiences and include lively recollections of Churchill, descriptions of her work and colleagues, and descriptions of journeys, accommodation and surroundings. The letters are supplemented by a small number of photographs and other mementos.


  • Creation: 1944 - 1956

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(s) and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

"Jo" Sturdee served as Personal Secretary to Sir Winston Churchill from 1941-1945 and as Churchill's Principal Private Secretary from 1945-1953. During the Second World War, she worked with Mrs Kathleen Hill and Elizabeth Layton (both Personal Secretaries to Churchill) and Grace Hamblin (Clementine Churchill's Secretary).

Miss Sturdee accompanied WSC on many of his overseas travels. During the Second World War she attended him during the second Quebec and Yalta conferences. In 1946 she went with him to the United States and was present in the audience at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri when Churchill made his famous "Sinews of Peace" speech which she had typed for him. After Missouri, the party travelled to Miami where Churchill began work on "The History of the Second World War". Miss Sturdee also accompanied Churchill to Marrakech in Morocco (1947 and 1950), the United States on the Queen Elizabeth (1949), and Madeira (1949).

After Churchill lost the 1945 General Election, Miss Sturdee became head of his Private Office working with Elizabeth Gilliatt and Lettice Marston. She went with him to the Hendaye, Pyranees in July 1945. She had particular responsibility for Churchill's private correspondence.

In 1962, she married 6th Earl Onslow.


1 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

The collection has been catalogued and a copy of the catalogue is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre and at the National Register of Archives.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The letters in this collection came to Churchill Archives Centre by a circuitous route. They were offered for sale by a bookseller, having been stolen from the Onslow family home. Lady Onslow gave her permission for the collection, once recovered, to be deposited at Churchill Archives Centre and it arrived in 1969.


Material in the collection which post-dated Lady Onslow's service with Sir Winston Churchill was returned to Lady Onslow at her request in 2002.

Related Materials

Churchill Archives Centre also holds the papers of Sir Winston Churchill and many other members of his staff, including an oral history interview by Lady Onslow, at GBR/0014/CHOH 1.


This fonds level description and catalogue was prepared by Natalie Adams of Churchill Archives Centre in July 2002 using information from the papers themselves and other material held at Churchill Archives Centre.


Onslow, Nina Edith (?1920-2006), nee Sturdee, 2nd wife of 6th Earl of Onslow and Private Secretary to Sir Winston Churchill

2002-07-22 08:43:54+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