Romney Street Group

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Records of the Romney Street Group, 1924-2000, including attendance registers of members and guests, 1924-1995, which also contain press cuttings and other ephemera; general correspondence of the Group Secretary, 1935-1999, mainly relating to the arrangement of topics, speakers and venues for Group meetings, membership and finances, and including circulars, press cuttings and obituaries; membership lists, [1940]-1991; Group meeting programmes, 1951-2000, giving details of topics, speakers and venues, as well as general news items; material concerning members' suggestions for topics and speakers, 1973-[1994], comprising completed annual survey forms and the secretary's analysis of these; notes of the proceedings of Group meetings, 1972-1977, on subjects including politics, social and economic policy, industry, devolution, and technical education; papers and offprints, 1974-1991, including transcripts of presentations to Group discussions; material concerning the organisation of special group events, such as anniversary dinners, 1973-1993; notes and correspondence relating to venues for Group discussions, 1973; Secretary's appointment book, 1988-1990, containing details of topics and speakers; account books, 1968-1989; Treasurer's correspondence, 1968-1993, including AGM reports, accounts, invoices and circulars; AGM minutes and papers, 1994-2000; materials relating to the history of the group, 1984-2000, comprising correspondence, notes, circulars and press cuttings.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Romney Street Group is a small London-based luncheon club, with no political or religious alignment, which has met regularly since 1917 for the discussion of public affairs. It has maintained a membership of working and retired professionals with a range of backgrounds in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Its discussions are open to members and their guests, and are conducted according to so-called 'Chatham House rules' - that is, on the understanding that all contributions to the discussion remain confidential to the participants, except with express permission to the contrary. Women were first admitted as guests in 1926, and as members in 1959 or 1960. The Group was founded by Joseph Peter Thorp, then dramatic critic of Punch magazine. Its first Chairman was Thomas Jones, Deputy Secretary to Lloyd George's Cabinet. Its immediate purpose was to provide a forum in which to discuss, and a means by which to influence, the conduct of post-war public affairs. It met in a house in Romney Street, Westminster, for the first year of its existence only. Meetings have since taken place in many venues, mostly in London.. At first, topics for discussion were taken up on an 'ad hoc' basis, depending upon the interests of members and guests present, and the immediate events of the day. Since the 1950s, however, a formal programme of speakers and topics for discussion has been drawn up and circulated in advance by the Group Secretary. Administration has been informal for most of the Group's history.

Conditions Governing Access

Open.

Other Finding Aids

Unbound handlist and on-line catalogue available. Later accessions are unlisted.

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 retained by the donor.

Custodial History

Given by the Romney Street Group in 1994, 1998, 1999 and 2000.

Accruals

Expected.

Related Material

The British Library of Political and Economic Science holds material concerning the Romney Street Group in the papers of Arnold plant (Ref: Plant). The Library also holds the papers of various Group members.

Corporate Names