Papers of the Gladstone Family

Scope and Content

Papers of the Gladstone family, including portraits, scrapbooks, correspondence and bark from trees felled by Gladstone.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Ewart Gladstone was born in Liverpool in 1809, and died at Hawarden in 1898. He was educated at Eton, and considered taking holy orders, but was guided towards a career as a statesman by his father, Sir John Gladstone. He was first elected as a member for Newark in 1833, and except for the first session of 1847, Gladstone sat in the House of Commons continuously from then until his retirement in 1895. He had a long and prestigious political career, including terms as Chancellor of the Exchequer, before becoming Prime Minister for the first time in 1868. In 1873, he was to hold the offices of Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, which raised a grave constitutional crisis that was never adequately resolved. He never held the favour of Queen Victoria, though she respected his ability as a statesman, and he was frequently in conflict with Benjamin Disraeli over matters of policy. He resigned office in 1894, and left public life in 1895. The papers hold some information on other members of the family, primarily his sons Herbert John and Henry Neville, and continue until the sudden death of Herbert John Gladstone in 1935. For a more detailed description of Gladstone's life and times, see his entry on pp. 280-329 of the Dictionary of National Biography, supplement vol. II, Chippendale-Hoste, 1901.

Access Information

Accessible to all bona fide readers.

Other Finding Aids

Typescript catalogue available in University of Bristol Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission must be obtained from University of Bristol Special Collections

Custodial History

These papers were given by the family to the National Liberal Club Gladstone Memorial Library, and then purchased by the University of Bristol Special Collections.


No further accruals expected.

Location of Originals

  • Letter from Edwin Goadby to William Ewart Gladstone, 1895 - DM 825.
  • Letter from Edward Thomas Wakefield to the Rt. Hon. William Ewart Gladstone on the Irish Question and state-aided emigration, 1886 - DM 1129.