Papers of Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, 1924-57

Scope and Content

Attlee's papers include:  

  • Correspondence and papers, 1935-51
  • Printed papers and press cuttings, 1937-51
  • Miscellaneous and personal papers, 1925-57
  • Correspondence and papers of Violet, Countess Attlee (d.1964), 1950-1

The bulk of the collection covers the years 1945-51 and consists of notes for the Prime Minister's speeches and broadcasts. The papers illustrate the way in which the machinery of government functions. Many of the replies to incoming letters were answered by the Private Secretaries to the Prime Minister, and most of the correspondence is annotated by them.

Administrative / Biographical History

Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee (1883-1967) was Prime Minister of the 1945-51 Labour Governments. Details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

The papers were deposited in the Library by University College, Oxford, in 1978.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

A full catalogue is available in the Library. An online catalogue will shortly be available (

Related Material

A collection of Attlee's letters to Patricia Beck, given to the Library in 1983 by Miss Beck, is described separately as MS. Eng. lett.c. 571.