Political and Economic Planning and Policy Studies Institute Archives

Scope and Content

Records of Political and Economic Planning and the Policy Studies Institute, 1922-1987, comprising the following: Administrative papers, 1931-1978, notably minutes of the Executive Council, 1933-1978, the Trustees, 1938-1961, the PEP Club Committee, 1942-1955 and the Finance and General Purposes Committee, 1953-1964; membership and circulation lists, 1931-1955; legal and financial papers, mainly concerning property, 1933-1963; correspondence with publishers, 1934-1938; bulletins, 1934-1984; papers relating to weekend meetings to review research in progress, 1944-1954; material concerning funding and finance from various bodies, 1956-1969; papers of the PEP Trust, 1933-1949. Research papers, 1931-1974, notably papers of working groups, 1922-1944, on subjects including employment, industry, local government, health, housing, education and international trade; material concerning PEP publications, 1933-1980, notably broadsheets and reports, mainly concerning the finance, administration and publication of the studies; files concerning post-war studies which resulted in more than one publication, 1939-1970, notably on population, industry, economics, trade unions, mental health, the common market, and social studies; material concerning unprinted papers, 1931-1973; press cuttings, 1931-1942. Papers of John Pinder, Director of PEP (1964-1985), [1925]-1987, including unsigned minutes, correspondence and papers of the Executive Committee, 1950-1978, and Special Executive Meetings, 1971-1976; reports of the Programme Planning Committee, 1964-1966; minutes and papers of staff meetings, 1958-1972; material concerning PEP history and records, 1931-[1980], including early documents and correspondence concerning foundation; financial material, 1948-1977; printed material, [1925]-1978, including PEP memorandum and articles of association, and papers relating to the PEP/PSI merger; papers concerning the joint PEP and Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) project on the European Community, 1965-1976, including material relating to the Ford Foundation Grant, correspondence, and study papers; material concerning PEP studies and publications, 1965-1987, notably on mental health, public reaction to disability, urban growth, professional migration, industry, economics, the labour market, and UK race relations; papers relating to European bodies, or bodies concerned with European issues, 1960-1977, including the Committee for Economic Development, the European Movement, the Overseas Development Institute, the Race Relations Board and the Federal Trust; personal papers of John Pinder, 1967-1975, including lectures, articles and reviews by him and material relating to his European interests. Papers of other contributors to PEP/PSI, [1940]-1982, notably papers concerning PEP administration, the compilation of statistics for propaganda purposes during World War Two, architecture, social science higher education, company law and responsibilities, labour market policies, the training of adults for skilled employment, transport policy and personal mobility, racial equality, and voluntary youth organisations.

Administrative / Biographical History

Political and Economic Planning was founded in 1931 at the height of the Great Depression to plan for British recovery in the widest sense. During the thirties it carried out a series of investigations into the operation of the British economy, and into education and health. During and after World War Two it extended its interests into policy issues in other countries and carried out many detailed investigations of social problems. In 1978 PEP merged with the Centre for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), and became the Policy Studies Institute (PSI). The present collection consists of the archives of the PEP/PSI together with the PEP papers of Leonard Elmhirst and Max Nicholson.


Arranged in sections as outlined in the Scope and Content.

Access Information

Open, though some confidential files remain closed.

Other Finding Aids

Draft handlist available.

Archivist's Note

Sources: British Library of Political and Economic Science Archives catalogue. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is held by the depositor. Most documents may be photocopied.

Custodial History

Deposited by the Policy Studies Institute in 1980 and 1998. The papers of individuals were placed in the PEP/PSI files before their deposit in the Library. Further material was given by Max Nicholson in 1987 and Richard Fitter in 1992 and 1993.


John Pinder (ed) Fifty years of Political and Economic Planning: looking forward 1931-1981 (Heinemann, London, 1981).