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The Papers of Lord Randolph Churchill

Reference Code: GBR/0014/RCHL

Scope and Contents

Microfilm copies of correspondence, 1874-1895


  • Creation: 1874 - 1895

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

Lord Randolph Henry Spencer Churchill was born in London, 12 February 1849, the son of John Winston Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, and Lady Frances Anne Emily Vane. He was educated at Mr Tabor's Preparatory School, Cheam; Eton College, 1863-5; and Merton College, Oxford, 1867-70. He married Jeanette (Jennie) Jerome in 1874, with whom he had two sons.

He was Conservative Member of Parliament for Woodstock, 1874-84; the Central Division of Birmingham, 1884-5; and South Paddington, 1885-95. He served as unofficial private secretary to his father in his role as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1877-80. He was instrumental in the creation of the Primrose League and became a founder member, 1883. He toured India for three months during the winter of 1884 to 1885. He was appointed Secretary of State for India, 1885-6. He was Leader of the House of Commons, 1886, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1886. He resigned from the Cabinet over his failure to convince colleagues to reduce expenditure on defence, 1886. However, his proposal to establish a select committee to examine defence estimates was successful and he became its first chairman, 1887.

He suffered from ill health and after his resignation from the Cabinet travelled to the Mediterranean to recuperate. He also made private visits to Russia, 1887-8, and South Africa, 1891, and went on a round-the-world trip with his wife to the United States, Canada, Japan and India, 1894. They were forced to return to London when his health suddenly deteriorated and he died in London on 24 January 1895.

His publications include: "Speeches of the Right Honourable Lord Randolph Churchill, MP, 1880-1888" (1889) and "Men, Mines and Animals in South Africa" (1892).


11 reel(s)

1 volume(s)

Language of Materials



Lord Randolph Churchill's correspondence was bound in chronological order soon after his death in 1895. This may have been done at Blenheim Palace since the spine of each volume is stamped "Blenheim Palace Library". The volumes were transferred to his son, Sir Winston Churchill, when he was working on his father's biography and have remained with his descendants ever since.

Thirty one volumes contain letters to Lord Randolph Churchill with his draft replies and copies of official papers. The arrangement is broadly chronological and undated items are placed at the end of a volume. Each document has been numbered.

The final volume comprises an index of correspondents and subjects, perhaps compiled when the correspondence was bound, ca. 1900. A copy of the index is filed with the printed catalogue to the correspondence in the reading room of Churchill Archives Centre.

Each of the volumes is bound in full blue morocco with the family arms stamped on the front board.

Other Finding Aids

Copies of the collection level description and catalogue are available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were loaned to Churchill Archives Centre by Lord Randolph Churchill's great-grandson, Winston Churchill, on behalf of the Trustees of the Churchill Archives Settlement, 1969. They were withdrawn by the Trustees, 1989, and sold by Sotheby's to Cambridge University Library, 1994. Microfilm copies of the papers were obtained by Churchill Archives Centre.

Existence and Location of Originals

Lord Randolph Churchill's papers are held by Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives (reference: GBR/0012/Add. MS 9248/1-31). A catalogue to the papers is available on the Access to Archives website (

Related Materials

Churchill Archives Centre holds substantial collections relating to members of the Churchill family, in particular the papers of Lord Randolph Churchill's son, Sir Winston Churchill (reference: GBR/0014/CHAR and CHUR), and grandson, Randolph Churchill (reference: GBR/0014/RDCH).

The Archives Centre also holds the following papers of Lord Randolph Churchill and his wife, Lady Jennie Churchill: correspondence and papers of Lady Jennie Churchill, 1868-1921 (reference: GBR/0014/CHAR 28/1, 28/29-39, 28/41-91, 28/113 and 28/121-138), including letters from Sir Winston Churchill to Lady Jennie Churchill, 1882-1919 (reference: GBR/0014/CHAR 28/13-28 and CHAR 28/120); correspondence and papers of Lord Randolph Churchill, 1857-94 (reference: GBR/0014/CHAR 28/103-110 and 28/118-119); correspondence between Lord Randolph Churchill and Lady Jennie Churchill, 1873-94 (reference: GBR/0014/CHAR 28/2-12 and 28/92-102); Lord Randolph Churchill's letters to his parents, 1863-94 (reference: GBR/0014/MARB 1); and some correspondence of Lady Jennie Churchill, 1885-93 (reference: GBR/0014/CSCT 3/3-4).


This collection level description was prepared by Sophie Bridges, July 2005. The papers were catalogued by staff at Churchill Archives Centre in 1969. Biographical information was obtained from the website of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.


Churchill, Lord Randolph Henry Spencer, 1849-1895, politician

2005-07-05 08:52:26+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