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The Papers of Enoch Powell

Reference Code: GBR/0014/POLL

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of the personal and public papers of Enoch Powell. The papers include: personal correspondence, literary and academic material and some wartime papers, 1922-1998; diaries, 1946-1995; political papers, including some ministerial and shadow cabinet papers, election material, subject files on a wide range of political issues, papers from Powell's various constituencies and letters from the public on various issues, and also papers from Powell's long-running journalistic career, 1939-1998; speech notes and recordings from Powell's many engagements as a public speaker, 1955-1995; press cuttings 1950-1997; and papers from three of Powell's great political crusades, on the European Economic Community, immigration and Ulster, 1968-1997.


  • Creation: 1650 - 2023

Conditions Governing Access

The majority of the collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge. Please see individual files for details.

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

Enoch Powell was born on 16 June 1912, the son of Albert Enoch Powell and Ellen Mary Breese. He was educated at King Edwards School, Birmingham and Trinity College, Cambridge, his awards and academic qualifications including: Craven Scholar, 1931; First Chancellor’s Classical Medallist; Porson Prizeman; Browne Medallist, 1932; BA (Cantab); Craven Travelling Student, 1933; Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, 1934-1938; MA (Cantab) 1937; Diploma in Oriental and African Studies. In 1952 he married Margaret Pamela Wilson, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Lionel Wilson, Indian Army; they had two daughters.

Powell's academic career continued until the war, in the post of Professor of Greek in the University of Sydney, New South Wales, in Australia, 1937-1939. He then enlisted as a Private and Lance Corporal in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 1939-1940, swiftly winning promotion as: 2nd Lieutenant General List, 1940; Captain, General Staff, 1940-1941; Major, General Staff, 1941; Lieutenant-Colonel, General Staff, 1942; Colonel, General Staff, 1944; Brigadier, 1944.

On leaving the Army, Powell turned to politics. He was a Conservative Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West, from 1950 to February 1974, and (as an Ulster Unionist) Down South, October 1974-1983, and South Down, 1983-1987 (resigning his seat in December 1985 in protest against the Anglo-Irish Agreement; re-elected January 1986), finally contesting (again as an Ulster Unionist) South Down in 1987. Powell's Parliamentary career included the posts of: Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Local Government, December 1955-January 1957; Financial Secretary to the Treasury, 1957-1958; Minister of Health, July 1960-October 1963.

Powell's publications include: The Rendel Harris Papyri (1936); First Poems (1937); A Lexicon to Herodotus (1938); The History of Herodotus (1939); Casting-off, and other poems (1939); Herodotus, Book VIII (1939); Llyfr Blegywryd (1942); Thucydidis Historia (1942); Herodotus (translation) (1949); Dancer’s End and The Wedding Gift (poems) (1951); The Social Services; Needs and Means (1952); (jointly) One Nation (1950); Change is our Ally (1954); Biography of a Nation (with Angus Maude) (1955, 2nd edition 1970); Great Parliamentary Occasions (1960); Saving in a Free Society (1960); A Nation not Afraid (1965); Medicine and Politics (1966, revised edition 1976); The House of Lords in the Middle Ages (with Keith Wallis) (1968); Freedom and Reality (1969); Common Market: the case against (1971); Still to Decide (1972); Common Market: renegotiate or come out (1973); No Easy Answers (1973); Wrestling with the Angel (1977); Joseph Chamberlain (1977); A Nation or No Nation (editor R. Ritchie) (1978); Enoch Powell on 1992 (editor Richard Ritchie) (1989); Collected Poems (1990); The Evolution of the Gospel (1994); numerous political pamphlets.

Enoch Powell died on 8 February 1998.


314 archive box(es) : paper

Language of Materials



The papers are arranged in a combination of alphabetical and chronological order, based on Powell's own arrangement.

Several series were extended or new ones created following the receipt of more personal papers from the Powell family in 2018, including: some correspondence added to POLL 1/1; family material added to POLL 1/3; further tributes to JEP etc added to POLL 1/7; a new section relating to Pamela Powell in POLL 1/8; and a whole new series of photographs in POLL 13.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this catalogue is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were deposited by Powell's literary executors in January 2001. Following Pamela Powell's death, a further 7 boxes of personal papers were deposited at the archive by the Powell family in 2018 and 12 more in 2023.

Related Materials

See also GBR/0014/POLL AS, while for further material on Powell's time as Minister of Health, see the papers of Dame Enid Russell-Smith, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Health, 1956-63, GBR/0014/RUSM.

Related Materials

Further political correspondence, 1948-1995, is held by Staffordshire Record Office, while constituency material relating to Powell's South Down seat 1974 - 1984, is held at the PRO (Northern Ireland).


This collection (fonds) level description and catalogue were prepared by Katharine Thomson at Churchill Archives Centre. The collection was sorted, arranged and listed by Katharine Thomson, with the assistance of the Leverhulme Trust. Information was obtained from the papers themselves, Powell's own former lists to the papers, and the biography of Powell by Simon Heffer, Like the Roman: The Life of Enoch Powell (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1998).

Date information

DateText: The majority of files date from 1922 to 1998.


Powell, John Enoch

2001-11-26 15:00:40+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