W.P. Crozier Papers

Scope and Content

Accounts, both typescript and holograph, of interviews conducted by Crozier, with 62 statesmen and politicians, between 1931-1944. The interviews are concerned with European politics and the Nazi threat, the Jewish National Home and the Far East (India and China). There are 175 major interviews with 23 leading politicians, including Stanley Baldwin, Eduard Benes, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, David Lloyd George, Arthur Henderson, Sir Samuel Hoare, Leslie Hore Belisha, Ivan Maisky, Herbert Morrison, Jan Masaryk, Sir John Simon, Sir Robert Vansittart. There are also 57 other interviews with other notable figures such as Leo Amery, Lord Halifax, Neville Laski, Jawaharlal Nehru, L.B.Namier, Eleanor Roosevelt and Chaim Weizmann. The interviews are dominated by foreign affairs, Crozier's own interest, as well as the state of the armed forces.

The colelctions comprises: Box 1

  • 1/1 Albert Victor Alexander, First Lord of the Admiralty
  • 1/2 Stanley Baldwin
  • 1/3 Lord Beaverbrook
  • 1/4 Edvard BeneÅ¡
  • 1/5 Brendan Bracken

Box 2

  • 2/6 Lord Robert Cecil
  • 2/7 Neville Chamberlain
  • 2/8 Winston Churchill
  • 2/9 Winston Churchill
  • 2/10 Winston Churchill
  • 2/11 Winston Churchill
  • 3/12 John Whelan Dulanty, Irish Ambassador in London
  • 3/13 Anthony Eden

Box 3

  • 3/14 David Lloyd George
  • 4/15 Arthur Henderson
  • 4/16 Samuel Hoare
  • 4/17 Leslie Hore-Belisha
  • 4/18 Ivan Maisky, Soviet Ambassador in London
  • 4/19 Jan Masaryk
  • 4/20 Herbert Morrison
  • 5/21 Björn Prytz, Swedish Minister in London

Box 4

  • 5/22 Edward Raczyński
  • 5/23 Count Reventlow
  • 5/24 Sir John Simon
  • 5/25 Sir Archibald Sinclair
  • 6/26 Sir Robert Vansittart

Box 5

  • 6/27 Sir Robert Vansittart
  • 6/28 Frederick Augustus Voigt
  • C/5/4 Various
  • C/5/5 Various
  • C/5/5 Various

Many of Crozier's interviews were published in the collection, W P Crozier, Off the Record: Political Interviews 1933-1943 , ed. by A J P Taylor, (London: Hutchinson 1973). This collection includes most of the interviews in their entirety, although some have been cut. Some of Crozier's interviews were not included in Taylor's book and have remained unpublished.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Percival Crozier (1879-1944), editor of the Manchester Guardian , 1932-44, was born at Stanhope, Durham in 1879, the son of a Wesleyan Methodist minister. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Trinity College, Oxford, where he took a first in literae humaniores . Crozier worked as a schoolmaster, before joining the staff of the Times , and from here he moved to the Manchester Guardian in 1903. Crozier quickly established himself at the newspaper, becoming C P Scott's right-hand man, and doing much to modernise the newspaper. In 1912 he became news editor, and was responsible for developing the paper's foreign news service. In 1918 he became the paper's military correspondent, and in 1921 was made a director of Manchester Guardian Ltd. Following the unexpected death of Edward Scott (CP Scott's son) in April 1932, Crozier was appointed editor.

As a journalist, Crozier had a reputation for scholarly allusions in his writings, particularly from the Bible and the classics. His leader articles were noted for their economy of style and careful argument. Crozier was skilled in spotting new trends in journalism, and he ensured that the Guardian gave serious coverage to films and broadcasting from an early date. His editorship saw the Manchester Guardian consolidate its reputation as a quality national newspaper, based on the excellence of its news coverage. Crozier rejected the view that the paper should be seen as a provincial newspaper for Northern England.

As editor, he proved a less partisan Liberal than Scott in domestic politics. However Crozier's main political interest was in foreign affairs, particularly in Europe. He ensured that the Guardian took a very outspoken line on Nazi Germany. He was also an ardent supporter of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Crozier undertook a series of interviews with leading politicians, diplomats and political activists on such questions from the mid-1930s through to his death in 1944. These interviews, which form the basis of this collection, were not published in the Guardian , but provided private information for Crozier, which he could use in his leader columns. He travelled regularly to London to make the interviews, and then wrote them up on his return to Manchester. They provide invaluable information about the views of leading statesmen and policy-makers in the years leading up and during the Second World War.

Crozier, who did not enjoy the best of health in later years, died of heart disease in 1944.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

The papers were deposited on indefinite loan by Mrs McManus [daughter] [Minutes of Library Committee 25 Feb 1976]

Custodial History

These papers were retained by Crozier's widow following his death, and then passed to his children. His daughter, Mrs Mary McManus, deposited them in the Beaverbrook Library, London, and it seems that they passed to the London School of Economics following the dissolution of the Beaverbrook Library. At some point following this, Mrs McManus decided to deposit them at the Library.

Related Material

A great deal of material relating to Crozier's editorship will be found in the Guardian archive, held by UML, including his correspondence with leading public figures.


See A.J.P. Taylor ed., Off the Record: Political Interviews 1933-1943 (London: Hutchinson 1973) for the published interviews.

Corporate Names