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The Papers of Peggy Jay

Reference Code: GBR/0014/PEJY

Scope and Contents

Paper comprising public and personal correspondence, pocket diaries press cuttings and photographs
With some earlier family papers and photographs, from ca. 1860, and publications collected by Peggy Jay, from 1900


  • Creation: 1915 - 2007


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 holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Margaret Christian (Peggy) Garnett was born in Manchester, 28 January 1913, the daughter of James Clerk Maxwell Garnett and Margaret Lucy Garnett (née Poulton). She was educated at Malvern Girls' College; St Paul's Girls' School; and Somerville College, Oxford. She married Douglas Jay in 1933 (divorced 1972), with whom she had two sons and two daughters.

She joined the Labour Party at Oxford and was elected later to the London County Council (LCC) as Labour member for Central Hackney, 1938-49, and then for North Battersea, 1952-67. During her time as a councillor of the LCC, she was chairman of the Schools' Committee; vice-chairman of the Welfare Committee; and a member of the Children's Committee. She served on the LCC's successor body, the Greater London Council (GLC), 1964-7, most notably as chairman of the Parks' Committee and as an instigator of "One O'Clock Clubs" for young mothers. In the early 1980s, she left the Labour Party to join the newly formed Social Democratic Party (SDP), eventually returning to the Labour Party in 2007.

She was also a member of the Royal Commission on Population; chairman of the Friern Psychiatric Hospital Management Committee; and the head of a committee of inquiry into the training of staff working with disabled patients.

In addition to her official responsibilities, she devoted much time to activism and voluntary work, particularly in Hampstead, where she lived almost all her life. She was chairman (later life president) of the Heath and Old Hampstead Society, 1968-89, and one of the campaigners for the preservation of Burgh House as a community arts centre.

She died in Hampstead on 21 January 2008.

Her publications include: "Better Schools Now!" (1953) and "Loves and Labours" (1990).


75 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

Copies of this finding aid are available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were given to Churchill Archives Centre by Peter Jay, 2010.


This collection level description was prepared by Sophie Bridges, April 2010. The collection was catalogued by Sophie Bridges, December 2019. Biographical information was obtained from Who's Who online; obituaries published in The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent; and Peggy Jay's memoir "Loves and Labours".


Jay, Margaret Christian (Peggy), 1913-2008, politician and campaigner

2010-02-08 12:17:32+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