Barbados: Political Parties Material

Scope and Content

Manifestos, speeches, pamphlets, leaflets, letters, newsletters, journals, posters, stickers, recordings and miscellaneous election material at national and youth levels issued by the Barbados Electors' Association, the Barbados Labour Party, the Barbados Progressive League, the Democratic Labour Party (Barbados), the Movement for National Liberation (Barbados), the National Democratic Party (Barbados), the Progressive Conservative Party (Barbados), the People's Political Alliance (Barbados) and the People's Progressive Movement (Barbados).

Administrative / Biographical History

The gradual extension of the franchise in the decades prior to independence led to the marginalisation in the House of Assembly of parties such as the Progressive Conservatives, which represented the interests of the planter class (although they maintained their dominance in the Legislative Council), while at the same time the contest for dominance in the democratic arena polarised into a struggle between Grantley Adams' Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and the more radical Democratic Labour Party (DLP) led by Errol Barrow, who was eventually to become Barbados's first post-independence Prime Minister. There was also a vigorous debate over the role and value of the short-lived West Indies Federation (1958-1962) which was strongly supported by Adams. The materials held here deal with these issues in detail as well as covering the electoral struggle between the two main parties after 1966.


Alphabetically by party, and then in rough chronological order.

Access Information

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education.

Acquisition Information

Institute of Commonwealth Studies


The Political Archives Project was a 2.5 year project to catalogue political archive material held in the libraries of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the Institute for the Study of the Americas to the University and present it as a cohesive virtual collection. The project was successfully completed in July 2005. Descriptions of all the documents may be found by searching the library catalogue at, or via the Political Archives website:

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT)

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institutes of Commonwealth and Latin American Studies.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The ICS political parties collection was begun in 1960-1961, with special emphasis being placed on primary material such as party constitutions, policy statements, convention reports and election manifestos. Since then, the main method of gathering material has been to appeal directly to political parties throughout the Commonwealth, though contributions from Institute members and staff following visits to relevant countries have been significant. More recently material has been collected by means of downloading documents from the websites of the major parties.


Further accruals are expected, some in electronic form.

Related Material

See also Barbados: Trades Unions Material (TU.BB) and Barbados: Pressure Groups Material (PG.BB), as well as Political Party, Trades Unions and Pressure Group Materials for other Commonwealth countries and related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held at the ICS.

Geographical Names