Record Details

CollectionSocial Democratic Party (SDP) Archives
NGOSocial Democratic Party
RepositoryEssex University Library

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) Archives are held in the Special Collections, Albert Sloman Library, University of Essex. The online catalogue includes the following description:


"The very substantial archive of the SDP comprises a collection of papers, videotapes, film, audiotapes and memorabilia from 1980-1989. Papers include:


Some 17 metres of committee minutes, associated correspondence and administrative records, covering all aspects of party policy, strategy and coordination (the various committees, groups and working parties that produced these papers are listed, alphabetically, at the end of this section).


Papers of prominent individual members. More recently, the papers of Sir Ian Wrigglesworth, Lord Alec McGivan, and Lord Robert Maclennan have been acquired. Maclennan's papers have much to say about merger negotiations with the Liberal Party, while McGivan's include a wealth of information on the by-elections fought by the SDP, and on the Campaign for Labour Victory in the years prior to the foundation of the party. Publications, including policy papers, green and white papers produced by the SDP and Council for Social Democracy records Local SDP files (or Area Party files), including papers arising from the SDP's work at local and constituency levels Miscellaneous items, such as SDP Survey of GCSE Examination


In addition to the collection of party papers the archive holds 8 box files of transcripts of the speeches of The Gang of Four: Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Shirley Williams and William Rodgers.


Audio-visual materials, (film, video and audio-tape), preserve many of the SDP's party political/party election broadcasts.


There is also a 'Press Archive', which contains several thousand newspaper cuttings relating to the SDP. "


Access Rights

'By written application to either the Librarian or Deputy Librarian. A letter of introduction may be required and prospective users will be obliged to sign an undertaking outlining the terms and conditions of access to the research materials.' (Source: online catalogue)

Coverage1980-1989 .
Size of Collection80 metres.
Finding Aids/Catalogues

online catalogue which notes that "A record for all materials in the Special Collection is available via the Albert Sloman Library Special Collections web page."

Reference of CatalogueNRA 34700
Additional information

Several collections held at London University: London School of Economics Library, Archives Division contain records relating to the Social Democratic Party, including:


Records of the Liberal Party (who formed an alliance with the SDP during the 1980s) -see online catalogue.


Papers of the Liberal Democratic Party -see online catalogue;


Papers of the Liberal Movement - see online catalogue.


Papers of Jeremy John Durham (Paddy) Ashdown -see online catalogue.


Michael James Meadowcroft (Liberal politician) -see online catalogue.


Richard Scurrah Wainwright (1918-2003; Liberal MP) -see online catalogue.


James Edward Meade (1907-1995; economist) -see online catalogue.


Records of the Social Democratic Party, Scotland (1981-1990) are held at Glasgow Caledonian University Archives -see online catalogue.


Records relating to the Social Democratic Party are among a number of further collections, including:


Papers of Brian Hilton Flowers (a founder of the SDP, who later resigned), held at Imperial College Archives and Corporate Records Unit -see online catalogue.


Peter Sain-Ley-Berry Papers (a founder of the SDP), held at National Library of Wales: Department of Collection Services -see online catalogue.


Jeffrey Thomas Papers, also held at National Library of Wales: Department of Collection Services -see online catalogue.


Records of a number of local branches of the Social Democratic Party exist, including: Bangor and District; Beverley and Haltemprice (later North Humberside); Bangor and District Branch, Bridport; Cambridgeshire Area; Ceredigion and Pembroke; Chichester Constituency; Devon; Dyfed Area; East and Central Cheshire area; Milngavie and Bearsden Social Democratic Party; Falmouth and Penryn; Blackburn, Darwen and Turton Group, Lancashire, Stroud Constituency, Monmouth Liberals and SDP Papers, Montgomeryshire Liberal Democrats, Vale of Glamorgan SDP Records.


A number of minor references to the Social Democratic Party appear on A2A and Archives Network Wales.


Source of InformationNRA; A2A; AIM 25; Archives Hub; Archives Network Wales.
Last Edited at13/04/2011 11:35:16