Records of The 300 Group

Archive Collection
  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 5THG
  • Former Reference
      GB 106 TH344 - TH354
  • Dates of Creation
      1974-1995
  • Language of Material
      English
  • Physical Description
      14 A boxes
  • Direct Link

Scope and Content

The archive consists of minutes, correspondence, working papers, membership papers, press cuttings, photographs and publications.

The majority of the material in the collection dates from c. 1985-c. 1990. Some earlier material, collected separately by TWL and the National Federation of Women's Institutes is located in Series I.

Administrative / Biographical History

See the corporate history for The 300 Group; 1980-c.2002

The 300 Group (1980-c.2002) was established in 1980 by parliamentary researcher Lesley Abdela as an national, apolitical, voluntary organisation to campaign for more women into Parliament, European Parliament, Local Government and public life.

Membership was open to anyone aged 15 or over who agreed with its aims, namely: 1) to work towards equal representation of women in Parliament, 2) to encourage women to seek and hold public office and 3) to encourage women to participate in decision making processes at all levels. In order to achieve this, its objectives were defined as a) to provide regular training, such as 'political schools' for aspiring councillors, MPs and MEPs and skills and policy training supplied by 300 Group trainers, in all the skills essential to achieving success in public life, b) to set up regional branches throughout the United Kingdom, c) to generate a supportive network of women through political receptions and other social events etc, and d) to create a climate of opinion which regards as natural the participation of women in public life.

In addition to the national group and its programmes of development and networking events, local groups or branches were also formed with their own programmes of training, seminars and speakers. The group's activities were funded through members subscription, large funding raising events - most prominently the annual Lady Astor Dinner, and profits from workshops. Major sponsors included British Telecom and The Joseph Rowntree Social Service Trust Ltd.

A National Executive Committee was elected annually by the membership. There were also sub-committees which organised events, training, fundraising and the production of a newsletter. National policy decisions were made by a Board of Directors elected by members who in turn annually appointed a Chair, Vice Chair and Finance Director as well as a Company Secretary. Male and female MPs could become Friends of the 300 Group. A separate Educational Trust was founded in 1988, with the aim of focusing the group's work in schools and universities.

Lack of funding caused the the group to decline in the 1990s. The 300 Group seems to have disbanded c. 2002.

Arrangement

The papers have been kept in their orignal files, but an overarching series structure has created by the archivist for ease of access. Series I includes material collected by The Fawcett Library and the National Federation of Women's Institutes.

Conditions Governing Access

Gift

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.

Acquisition Information

The majority of the papers were deposited in 1995 by The 300 Group as an outright gift

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

This collection has been stripped, cleaned and repackaged as at May 2009. The papers are in reasonably good physical condition although much of the paper is of poor quality.

Appraisal Information

Duplicate material has been disposed of. Publications duplicated in The Women's Library's Printed Collections have been removed, but have been listed in the scope and content section of the relevant catalogue record. The majority of printed ephemera has been retained.

Custodial History

The majority of the papers were deposited in 1995 by The 300 Group. A later accrual, 5THG/H was gifted by Tim Symonds, partner of Lesley Abdela, in 2007.

Accruals

Potential accruals from Lesley Abdela and regional branches.

Related Material

The Women's Library Printed Collections holds publications by The 300 Group, including 'Noticeboard', a regular newsletter circulated to members and 'The 300 Group News', a more substantial magazine.

The Women's Library has collections on the women's political campaign groups of the 1980s and 1990s. Of particular interest to those using 5THG are: 5SPG Records of the Six Point Group; 7ELH Papers of Elspeth Howe; 5FWI Records of the National Federation of Women's Institutes, specifically 5FWI/A/3/011, which relates to the joint Women in Public Life project; 8ODH/02/01/07 Oral history recording with Barbara Castle which mentions The 300 Group.

More information about Lesley Abdela, founder of The 300 Group, can be found at the following website: http://www.abdela.co.uk/Information/Archive/Lesley_Abdela_archive.htm

Corporate Names