Papers of Albert Henry George, 4th Earl Grey

Scope and Content

The contents of the papers closely reflect the 4th earl's varied career and multifarious interests. South Africa, Rhodesia, Canada, imperialism and co-operation are particularly strongly represented. The volumes in the collection include diaries and journals, notebooks on a wide variety of topics in which the earl was interested, notes on his reading, financial records, drawings, and scrapbooks of press cuttings etc.

Administrative / Biographical History

Son of General Charles Grey and nephew of 3rd Earl; succeeded his uncle in 1894. Married Alice, daughter of R. Stayner Holford M.P., of Westonbirt, Gloucs. One son, four daughters. The 4th earl was a colourful character, involved in a great variety of activities and interests. He started his career as an M.P., then managed his uncle's estates, was involved in the British South Africa Company, and was Administrator of Rhodesia in 1896 and Governor-General of Canada 1904-1911. He took a leading role in movements such as co-operation and co-partnership, temperance (public house trusts), electoral reform (proportional representation), church reform, university extension, garden cities, and, above all, imperialism (imperial federation, Dominion House). Never rich, he made continual attempts to improve his finances by investment in all sorts of concerns, usually ending disastrously.


The arrangement relates to some extent to periods in the earl's career and matters with which he was involved, although correspondence on any topic may be widely scattered. Box numbering continues that for the 3rd earl's papers. Volumes are shelved in a separate sequence (Gre/V/E).

Access Information

Open for consultation.


Part of : Earl Grey Papers

Other Finding Aids


  • 1. Word-processed brief subject list. This provides a summary subject guide to the box list.
  • 2. Word-processed box list.
  • 3. Manuscript card index of correspondents, which is meant to be used in conjunction with the box list. A few subject cards (e.g. Canada, Newfoundland) are also included. Each card bears a box and file number. The depth of descriptive detail varies greatly, but fuller information can always be discovered by cross-referring to the box list.
  • 4. Typescript list of material concerning Africa.

Volumes List of Volumes in the Grey Collection, section E. Only a minority are covered by this, however. The rest are listed in a folder at the end of the box list.

Alternative Form Available

See above under Location of originals.

Location of Originals

The originals of some papers relating to Canada are held by the Public Archives of Canada, and are replaced among the 4th Earl's papers in Durham by photostat copies (boxes 247-254). In other cases the originals of material relating to Canada are in Durham, with copies in the Public Archives of Canada. The material given to Canada was selected by the Dominion Archivist in 1955. When all or the greater part of a file concerned Canada, the original was given to the Public Archives, and a copy was left in Durham; when the greater part of a file did not concern Canada, the file was left in Durham, and photostats of the relevant material went to the Public Archives. All the material held by the Canadian Public Archives, both originals and copies, is listed in Public Archives, Canada, Finding aid no. 85, revised 1981.


Begbie, Harold, Albert, fourth Earl Grey: a last word, 3rd ed. (London, 1918)  Sims, Graham, Paladin of empire: Earl Grey and Rhodesia (Salisbury, 1970)