Papers of Charles, 2nd Earl Grey

Scope and Content

The loose papers are mainly political, and the division between political and public and family and personal in their arrangement is very imprecise, with much of political interest to be found in the latter category.

The papers strongly reflect the 2nd earl's interest in parliamentary reform, from as early as 1792, his support for Catholic emancipation, and his enduring interest in foreign affairs. There is little political material, however, before 1800. Most of Grey's closest friends and political associates, such as Lord John Russell, Charles James Fox, Lord Holland, Lord Palmerston, Samuel Whitbread, etc. are well represented, as are foreign statesmen, foreign ambassadors in London, and British ambassadors abroad. There is also much of domestic interest, on topics as varied as vaccination, education, charitable matters, and family relationships.

The volumes are largely letter-books, mostly copy letters but including original letters of the 1st Earl of Durham to Grey as well as copies of Durham's despatches from St Petersburg to Palmerston.

Administrative / Biographical History

Eldest surviving son of 1st Earl Grey. Styled Viscount Howick 1806-1807. Married Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby, daughter of 1st Baron Ponsonby. 8 surviving sons and 5 daughters.

M.P. for Northumberland 1786-1807, when he succeeded to the earldom. First Lord of the Admiralty 1806, Foreign Secretary 1806-1807, First Lord of the Treasury (Prime Minister) 1830-1834.


Political and public papers in files by correspondent or subject, arranged in one alphabetical sequence (although several minor correspondents are sometimes lumped in one file, slightly interrupting the sequence), followed by misc. papers, notes for speeches, two additional boxes of subject files (Church of Ireland, Education in Ireland, Ireland II, Italy), addresses to Earl Grey, and then family and personal papers, and transcripts of the earl's correspondence. Volumes are shelved in a separate sequence (GRE/V/B).

Access Information

Open for consultation.


Part of : Earl Grey Papers

Other Finding Aids

1. Political and public papers, and volumes: available online at online catalogue

2. Family and personal papers: the published list is superseded by an annotated search room list, in order of correspondent, and a box list.

The lists do not indicate the content of correspondence.


Derry, John W., Charles, Earl Grey: aristocratic reformer (Oxford, 1992)  Smith, E.A., Lord Grey, 1764-1845 (Oxford, 1990)