KCS/1: The first group of material obtained in 2000 consists of files relating to Coates role as MEP, which had been grouped into thematic series arranged in alphabetical order. Series are entitled: 'People and Organisations', 'Cases and issues', 'Human Rights', 'European Labour Forum', 'Church Assize on unemployment', 'Pensioners Parliament', 'European Parliamentary Labour Party', 'Gulf War', 'Ken Coates Meetings', and files relating to his role in European Elections. The files seem to have been compiled during the period 1989-1994.
File titles include: 'British Labour Group', 'Charter 88', 'Enterprise Zones', 'GCHQ', 'National Power', 'Papplewick Pumping Station', 'Shipping', 'Women', 'AIDS', 'Betting and lotteries', 'Childrens' rights', 'Cyclists', 'Esperanto', 'Federalism', 'Firearms', 'Homeopathy', 'Monetary union', 'Slaughterhouses', 'Youth European Movement', 'Kidnaps', and 'Pit closures', etc.
There is a strong focus on issues relating to Chesterfield, Derbyshire, and Nottinghamshire as a result of his work representing his constituents, but there are also files relating to countries around the world pertaining to his position as Chair of the Human Rights Subcommittee.
KCS/2: Material obtained in 2009 and 2010 consists of files representing his continued work on the issues that he was involved in as an MEP, and which seem to have been compiled during the period 1994-2000. These were found to be arranged into series or themes including: 'People/Subjects/Issues', 'Local campaigns - coalfield etc.', 'Unemployment', 'Local authority and other published reports', 'Clause 4', 'Common Ownership Temporary Committee on Employment (TCE)', 'Full Employment Convention', 'Press cuttings and parliamentary papers', 'Bilsthorpe Inquiry, local environment/regeneration', 'Unemployment appeals to churches, tv etc.', 'Reports on coalfield unemployment/regeneration', 'Meetings and organisations', 'European Parliament Political Groups, MEPs, MPs and Labour Parties', 'Independent Labout Network', 'Human rights', 'KC Expulsion', 'European Labour Forum Pamphlets', 'Newark LP', 'TCE and unemployment', 'KC misc. and pit closures', 'KC Peace and human rights', 'ex TS - Local environmental campaigns', 'Euro-elections', 'Full Employment Appeal', 'Labour Party Expulsion', 'Independent Labout Network (ILN)', 'Euro Constituency issues', 'Socialist Group papers', 'Political Affairs Committee', 'GUE and member parties', and 'Unemployment Assizes, human rights'. Also present are various European Parliament publications.
File titles include: 'Auschwitz', 'Byron and Greece', 'Chechnya', 'Chesterfield Canal', 'Dukeries Complex', 'Euthanasia', 'Foot and Mouth', 'Job Seekers Allowance', 'National Minimum Wage', 'Proportional representation', 'Racism and fascism', 'Textiles', 'Welfare reform', 'Bilsthorpe Colliery', 'Boughton Energy Village', 'May Day appeal on common ownership', 'Mad Cows', 'Chernobyl', 'Ozone', 'Asylum and refugees', 'Conscientious objectors', 'Schengen', 'Disabilities', 'Landfill', 'Mine deaths', 'Japanese Press 1980s', 'Clay Cross', 'Alternatives to neo-liberalism', 'Bevin boys', 'Iran aid', 'Torture', 'Animal welfare', 'Brimington Staveley bypass', 'Mine water pollution', 'Wingerworth', 'Killamarsh', 'Open casting 1990-1995', etc.
The collection includes a small number of audio visual analogue materials including audio cassettes containing recordings of Coates speaking and promotional videos produced by the European Parliament publications to market itself to a wider public.
The files relating to human rights and the environment are likely to be of particular significance for future research in these fields, but the papers also document a significant decade in political history (New Labour, neoliberalism, etc.) and reveal Britain's interactions with Europe, as well as illuminating a wide range of social and environmental issues of local and international importance.
Files tend to contain correspondence with individuals, correspondence and papers relating to particular cases, appeals or investigations, and published/printed/photocopied research materials concerning specific issues.
KCS/3: Material obtained in 2016 consists of articles, letters and book reviews written by Coates, along with newspaper articles relating to Coates' work. These were compiled by Coates as a record of his activities and achievements over the years (1960-2004), and are an essential guide to his career development.