British Oral Archive of Political and Administrative History (BOAPAH)

Scope and Content

Tapes and transcripts of interviews with leading British civil servants and administrators collected for the purposes of the British Oral Archive of Political and Administrative History (BOAPAH) project, 1980. The subject matter of the interviews covers the period from 1920 to 1980, and includes details of the lives and work of the interviewees, namely Philip Allen, Baron Allen of Abbeydale; Derick Heathcote Amory, Viscount Amory; Edward Charles Gurney Boyle, Baron Boyle of Handsworth; Henry Brooke, Baron Brooke of Cumnor; Richard Austen Butler, Baron Butler of Saffron Walden; Leonard Robert Carr, Baron Carr of Hadley; Douglas Albert Vivian Allen, Baron Croham; Sir Charles Cunningham; Sir Goronwy Hopkin Daniel; Thomas Dunlop Galbraith, 1st Baron Strathclyde of Barskimming; Dr Sir George Edward Godber; William David Ormsby-Gore, 5th Baron Harlech; Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Baron Home of The Hirsel; Frederick Robert Hoyer Millar, 1st Baron Inchyra; Lt Gen Sir Edward Ian Claud Jacob; John Scott Maclay, 1st Viscount Muirshiel; Sir Frank Cyril Musgrave; Sir Anthony Alexander Part; Sir Arthur William Peterson; Sir Edward Wilder Playfair; John Enoch Powell; Sir Richard Royle Powell; Sir Arthur Hilton Poynton; Robert Lowe Roberthall, Baron Roberthall; Sir Robert Heatlie Scott; Edward Arthur Alexander Shackleton, Baron Shackleton; Roger Mellor Makins, 1st Baron Sherfield; Sir John Walley; and Sir Richard George Kitchener Way.

Administrative / Biographical History

BOAPAH was a pilot project conducted by the British Library of Political and Economic Science in 1979-1980, and financed by a Social Science Research Council grant. The aim of the project was to collect a systematic oral archive of interviews with key figures from politics, the civil service and the armed forces. Interviewees were selected predominantly from former Permanent Secretaries or former Cabinet Ministers, and were asked questions relating to the whole period of their official life, concentrating on the post-war years. Day to day administration and interviewing was carried out by Andrew Seldon. A detailed methodology is available in the bound catalogue.


The interview tapes were transcribed, corrected by the interviewee, and retyped into a fair copy. All four versions of the interview were kept, though the fair copies were bound into individual volumes organised by interviewee.

Access Information

The tapes and correspondence are closed. Access to the interviews varies according to interviewee.

Other Finding Aids

Printed handlist available, containing a summary of each interview.

Archivist's Note

Sources: Historical Manuscripts Commission National Register of Archives. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Separated Material

Papers relating to Amory are at the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge University. Papers relating to Boyle are at the Brotherton Library, Leeds University. Papers relating to Brooke are at the British Library and the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. Major papers relating to Butler are at the Public Record Office and the Trinity College Library, Cambridge University. Papers of Carr are at Birmingham University. Papers of Godber are at the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine and the Bodleian Library. The papers of Harlech are at the Tate Gallery Library. Major papers of Home are in private hands. Papers of Inchyra are at Birmingham University. Papers of Jacob are at the Churchill Archives Centre and the Nuffield College Library. Papers of Muirshiel are at Glasgow University Archives and Business centre. Papers of Part are at the Churchill Archives Centre. Papers of Playfair are at the Science Museum Library, London. Papers of Powell are at the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service, the PRO of Northern Ireland, St Andrews University Library, and the National Library of Wales. Papers of Poynton are at the Rhodes House Library. Papers of Scott are at the National Library of Scotland. Papers of Shackleton are at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University, and the House of Lords Record Office. The papers of Sherfield are at the Public Record Office, the Bodleian Library, the Nuffield College Library, and the Imperial College Library.

Conditions Governing Use

Apply to Archivist. Conditions vary according to interviewee.

Custodial History

Created by the British Library of Political and Economic Science.

Related Material

The BLPES holds correspondence of Roberthall relating to the Royal Economic Society, 1968-1979 (Ref: RES/4/4/3-4).

Personal Names