About: The Archive Centre

The Churchill Archives Centre is based in Churchill College, Cambridge. It was purpose-built in 1973 to house Winston S. Churchill’s Papers – almost 2,500 boxes of letters and documents ranging from his first childhood letters, via his great wartime speeches, to the writings that earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature, forming an incomparable documentary treasure trove.

The Churchill Papers served as the inspiration and the starting-point for a larger endeavour – the creation of a wide-ranging archive of the Churchill era and after, covering those fields of public life in which Sir Winston played a personal role or took a personal interest. Today it holds the papers of some 570 important figures and the number is still increasing.

The Archives Centre is situated within the grounds of Churchill College, itself the National and Commonwealth Memorial to Sir Winston. It includes air-conditioned reading rooms, a strong room with elaborate security systems, and a sophisticated conservation laboratory and a sorting room in which raw history is put into boxes.

The Centre was built thanks to the generosity of celebrated American citizens whose names are proudly displayed in bronze lettering on the wall of the Exhibition Hall. Its work is supported by income from the Churchill College Archives Trust, the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and by the sponsorship of Churchill College and other distinguished benefactors. Thanks to its success in attracting valuable papers, the Centre recently ran out of space and built an extension, which was opened in 2002.

A recent acquisition of major significance is the collection of Lady Thatcher's personal and political papers. Thus the Churchill Archives Centre is the British equivalent of not one but two of the great American presidential libraries - a unique distinction. It has also recently been awarded national designated status.

For more information, go to: http://www.chu.cam.ac.uk/archives/