ASHDOWN, Rt Hon Jeremy John Durham (Paddy), b 1941, leader of the Liberal Democrat Party

Scope and Content

Papers of Jeremy John Durham (Paddy) Ashdown, [1970]-1999, including material relating to the working of the Liberal Democrat Party (including files on the merger of the Liberal and Social Democratic Parties in 1988), campaigns, and relations with related Liberal groups, such as campaigning within ethnic minorities, the Liberal Youth and Student Office, the Liberal Movement, the European Liberal Democratic and Reform Parties, and Liberal International; material relating to Social and Liberal Democrat and Liberal Democrat conferences, 1989-1993, comprising programmes, agenda and correspondence; files relating to the administration of party political broadcasts and press releases, 1988-1992; papers relating to general, by, local and European elections, 1988-1993, including the 1991 report on general elections, and the European Election Task Group and ASLDC reports on local government elections; files on parliamentary procedure, 1989-1992; financial and administrative papers of the Liberal Democrat Party, 1986-1992, notably relating to fund raising; material concerning the organisation of local parties, 1988-1993, including those in Scotland and Wales; Liberal Democrat correspondence, 1982-1993, mainly with party members; constituency correspondence, 1985-1994, relating to Yeovil; general correspondence, 1983-1994, with members of the public, on subjects including animal rights, the arts, blood sports, capital punishment, constitutional and electoral reform, defence, education, energy, the environment, Europe, foreign affairs/policy, health, housing, human rights, legal aid, minority rights, the Poll Tax, taxation, trade and industry, and transport; correspondence relating to issues in individual constituencies, 1988-1994; files of information and correspondence on particular subjects, 1984-1993; personal material relating to work by Paddy Ashdown, 1983-1994, including books, articles, speeches and details of programmes; files on the employment of staff in Paddy Ashdown's office, 1984-1992. Also: files created by Ashdown as leader of the Liberal Democrats, c1991-1999 (AccNo: M1981); Paddy Ashdown's diaries, July 1988-April 1997 (AccNo: M3059); personal and party correspondence, 1987-1998 (AccNo: M3322); diaries and emails, 1999-2006 (AccNo: M3348).

Administrative / Biographical History

Born 1941; served in the Royal Marines, 1959-1972, in 41 and 42 Commando and 2 Special Boat Section; 1st Secretary, UK Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, 1971-1976; Commercial Managers' Department, Westland Group, 1976-1978; Senior Manager, Morlands Ltd, Yeovil, 1978-1981; Youth Officer, Dorset County Council, 1981-1983; Liberal MP for Yeovil, 1983-; Liberal Party Spokesman on Trade and Industry, 1985-1987; Liberal/SDP Alliance Spokesman on Education and Science, 1987-1988; Liberal Party Spokesman on Education and Science, 1987; Social and Liberal Democrat Spokesman on Northern Ireland, 1988; Leader of the Social and Liberal Democrat (later Liberal Democrat) Party, 1988-1999.
Publications: Citizen's Britain: a radical agenda for the 1990s (Fourth Estate, London, 1989); The environment (Phillip Charles Media, 1990 ); Beyond Westminster: finding hope in Britain (Simon and Schuster, London, 1994); Making change our ally (Liberal Democrat Publications, Dorchester, 1994).


Original collection is arranged in sections as follows: 1. Liberal Democrat Papers; 2. Conferences; 3. Party Political Broadcasts and Press Releases; 4. Elections; 5. Parliamentary procedures; 6. Administration and finance; 7. Regional and Local Government Papers; 8. Liberal Democrat Correspondence; 9. Master Files; 10. General Correspondence; 11. Constituencies Correspondence; 12. Subject Files; 13. Personal Files; 14. Staff files. Additional material has not yet been sorted, although most files have been listed.

Access Information

Closed for 20 years.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogue available from Archives staff

Archivist's Note

Sources: British Library of Political and Economic Science catalogue; Who's Who 1897-1996 (A & C Black, 1996); British Library On-Line Public Access Catalogue 97. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Updated by Anna Towlson, Apr 2008.

Separated Material

Bristol University Library holds the papers of the National Liberal Club (Ref: DM668); Essex University Library has the records of the SDP; Liverpool University holds the papers of David Anthony Llewellyn Owen, Baron Owen, relating to the SDP, 1981-1992.

Conditions Governing Use

Apply to Archivist for copyright details.

Custodial History

Given by Paddy Ashdown in 1993, 1994, 1999, 2001 and 2006.



Related Material

The LSE Archives also hold the papers of the Liberal Party (Ref: Liberal Party), the Liberal Democrats (Ref: Liberal Democrats), the papers of Sir David Martin Scott Steel (Ref: Steel), and material concerning the Liberal/SDP Alliance.