Papers of Hugo Young

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Personal and professional papers of Hugo Young, British journalist and columnist and the Guardian's senior political commentator from 1984 to his death in 2003. Includes a series of notes of interviews and conversations conducted with significant individuals including politicians and senior civil servants, 1969-2003. Also includes personal and professional correspondence, research papers relating to two published books, 'One of Us' and 'This Blessed Plot', and papers relating to his role as chair of the Scott Trust.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Sheffield in 1938, Hugo Young was head boy at Ampleforth College in York and read law at Balliol College, Oxford. In 1961 he joined the Yorkshire Post in Leeds and in 1963, he spent a year as a Harkness fellow in the USA, followed by a year working as a congressional fellow.

After returning to the UK in 1965, Young joined The Sunday Times, becoming chief leader writer in his second year on the paper, a position which he kept until 1977. From 1973 to 1984, Young was also the paper's political editor, and established the Sunday column 'Inside politics'. From 1981 he additionally held the position of joint deputy editor. However, Young's relationship with the Sunday Times cooled when Rupert Murdoch took over the paper in 1981, and prompted Young to leave The Sunday Times for the Guardian in 1984.

Young continued to write a twice weekly political column for the Guardian until his death in 2003, and was widely acclaimed as one of the most influential figures in modern British journalism. Young was a strong proponent of Europe, and sharply expressed his disappointment with the British government's Europe-sceptical politics in his columns. Despite these differences, Young remained on good terms with British government officials, including Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher, a critical biography of whom, 'One of Us', he published in 1989.

From 1989 Young was the chairman of the Scott Trust, owner of the Guardian, and helped the paper through important developments, including the purchase of the Observer.

Young married twice. His first wife, Helen Mason, with whom he had three daughters and a son, died in 1989. Young married American artist Lucy Waring in 1990. He died on September 22, 2003 at the age of 64 after an arduous battle against cancer.

Arrangement

The archive has been arranged into the following sections:

  • 1. Personal papers, including school reports, appointment diaries and Yorkshire Post cuttings
  • 2. Interviews and Conversations, which contains detailed notes of his conversations with significant individuals between 1969 and 2003.
  • 3. Correspondence sent to and from Hugo Young between 1950 and 2003, divided into two sub-sections of professional and personal correspondence
  • 4. Notebooks kept by Hugo Young containing personal writing and research notes, with related papers
  • 5. Article cuttings of writing by Hugo Young from 1967-2003
  • 6. This Blessed Plot papers, relating to the book written by Hugo Young
  • 7. One of Us papers, relating to the book written by Hugo Young
  • 8. Papers relating to the GMG and Scott Trust created and kept by Hugo Young in his capacity as Scott Trust chairman
  • 9. Working papers created by Hugo Young to inform his work containing cuttings, articles and research notes.
  • 10. Tapes, videos and discs created and collected by Hugo Young.

Conditions Governing Access

Open (part). Parts of the collection are subject to a 20 year closure period. Other material is closed in accordance with data protection legislation.

Requests to view material from this collection should be addressed to the Archivist at: archives@theguardian.com

Acquisition Information

The papers were created and kept by Hugo Young and donated to the archive by his wife in 2004.

Other Finding Aids

A full catalogue description for this collection can be found on the GNM Archive catalogue.