Coventry Borough Labour Party

Scope and Content

Minutes and papers of various committees, 1932-1960; financial accounts and papers, 1939-1965; circulars, 1954-1955.

Correspondence relating to: civil defence, 1942-1955; 'Coventry Labour's Voice' newspaper, 1954-1958; constituency affairs of Elaine Burton MP, 1955-1956; municipal elections of 7 May 1959 and the General Election of 8 October 1959, 1958-1959; Richard Crossman MP, Maurice Edelman MP and Elaine Burton MP, 1953-1959; returns of election sub-agents and canvas returns, 1959-1960; wards, 1959-1960; attitude of Coventry Borough Pabour Party towards a proposed visit to the city by Hugh Gaitskell, 1960-1961; accounts, especially from the Labour Party Agents' Superannuation Society and Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd, Bankers, 1954-1963; City of Coventry Labour Group, 1961-1963; 'Coventry Citizen' (including draft articles), 1960-1961; Coventry Corporation Bill, 1947-1958; education, 1954-1956; elections and general elections, 1949-1959; General election propaganda for the East Midlands Constituency Labour Parties, 1966; East Midlands Regional Council of the Labour Party, 1957-1967; Labour Party, 1947-1955; redundancy in Coventry, 1957; party organisation, 1955; Small Lotteries and Gaming Act of 1956, 1959-1961; Warwick and Leamington By-Election, 1957; miscellaneous correspondence,1941-1964.

Correspondence with: West Midlands Regional Council of the Labour Party, 1958-1962; Coventry Young Socialists, 1961-1962; trade unions, 1961-1962; constituency and ward Labour Parties, 1961-1962; Labour Party Headquarters, 1957-1958.

Publications of the Coventry Borough Labour Party, including reports and pamphlets, 1958-1962; publications of other organisations, 1943-1951.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Coventry Labour Representation Committee was founded in December 1902 and the Coventry Labour Party, which grew out of it, expanded its influence so that by 1923 Coventry had returned its first Labour MP. However, the early records of the Coventry party were destroyed during the blitz on the city in 1940, and the surviving records mostly date from after the war.

A.A. Purcell was elected as Coventry's first Labour MP in 1923 with a majority of 346. It was in the same year that the Coventry Labour Party employed its first full-time agent, George Hodgkinson. Despite the election defeat in the following year, Labour influence on the city of Coventry expanded during the 1920s and in 1929 Philip Noel Baker was returned as MP for Coventry, a seat he retained until 1931. The influence of the Labour Party in Coventry was consolidated by the municipal election result in 1937, when Labour gained control of the City Council. The parliamentary constituency was divided into two (Coventry East and Coventry West) for the 1945 general election and Labour took both seats, returning Richard Crossman and Maurice Edelman to the House of Commons.

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See

Acquisition Information

This archive was deposited in the Centre by Coventry Borough Labour Party in 1973.

Other Finding Aids

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

The Centre also holds the papers of Coventry East Divisional Labour Party (MSS.85) and Coventry North Constituency Labour Party (MSS.7) along with the records of other local Labour Parties in the Midlands area.

Coventry Independent Labour Party minute book, 1944-46, and Coventry South West Constituency Labour Party files, 1980-85, are held at Coventry Archives. The records of the national Labour Party are held at the Labour History Archive and Study Centre in Manchester.