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British Library of Political and Economic Science

British Oral Archive of Political and Administrative History (BOAPAH)


Reference code(s): GB 0097 BOAPAH

Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science

Title: British Oral Archive of Political and Administrative History (BOAPAH)

Date(s): 1980

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 9 boxes

Name of creator(s): British Oral Archive of Political and Administrative History (BOAPAH)


Administrative/Biographical history:

BOAPAH was a pilot project conducted by the British Library of Political and Economic Science in 1979-1980, and financed by a Social Science Research Council grant. The aim of the project was to collect a systematic oral archive of interviews with key figures from politics, the civil service and the armed forces. Interviewees were selected predominantly from former Permanent Secretaries or former Cabinet Ministers, and were asked questions relating to the whole period of their official life, concentrating on the post-war years. Day to day administration and interviewing was carried out by Andrew Seldon. A detailed methodology is available in the bound catalogue.


Scope and content/abstract:

Tapes and transcripts of interviews with leading British civil servants and administrators collected for the purposes of the British Oral Archive of Political and Administrative History (BOAPAH) project, 1980. The subject matter of the interviews covers the period from 1920 to 1980, and includes details of the lives and work of the interviewees, namely Philip Allen, Baron Allen of Abbeydale; Derick Heathcote Amory, Viscount Amory; Edward Charles Gurney Boyle, Baron Boyle of Handsworth; Henry Brooke, Baron Brooke of Cumnor; Richard Austen Butler, Baron Butler of Saffron Walden; Leonard Robert Carr, Baron Carr of Hadley; Douglas Albert Vivian Allen, Baron Croham; Sir Charles Cunningham; Sir Goronwy Hopkin Daniel; Thomas Dunlop Galbraith, 1st Baron Strathclyde of Barskimming; Dr Sir George Edward Godber; William David Ormsby-Gore, 5th Baron Harlech; Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Baron Home of The Hirsel; Frederick Robert Hoyer Millar, 1st Baron Inchyra; Lt Gen Sir Edward Ian Claud Jacob; John Scott Maclay, 1st Viscount Muirshiel; Sir Frank Cyril Musgrave; Sir Anthony Alexander Part; Sir Arthur William Peterson; Sir Edward Wilder Playfair; John Enoch Powell; Sir Richard Royle Powell; Sir Arthur Hilton Poynton; Robert Lowe Roberthall, Baron Roberthall; Sir Robert Heatlie Scott; Edward Arthur Alexander Shackleton, Baron Shackleton; Roger Mellor Makins, 1st Baron Sherfield; Sir John Walley; and Sir Richard George Kitchener Way.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The interview tapes were transcribed, corrected by the interviewee, and retyped into a fair copy. All four versions of the interview were kept, though the fair copies were bound into individual volumes organised by interviewee.

Conditions governing access:

The tapes and correspondence are closed. Access to the interviews varies according to interviewee.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Apply to Archivist. Conditions vary according to interviewee.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Printed handlist available, containing a summary of each interview.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Created by the British Library of Political and Economic Science.

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

The BLPES holds correspondence of Roberthall relating to the Royal Economic Society, 1968-1979 (Ref: RES/4/4/3-4).

Papers relating to Amory are at the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge University. Papers relating to Boyle are at the Brotherton Library, Leeds University. Papers relating to Brooke are at the British Library and the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. Major papers relating to Butler are at the Public Record Office and the Trinity College Library, Cambridge University. Papers of Carr are at Birmingham University. Papers of Godber are at the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine and the Bodleian Library. The papers of Harlech are at the Tate Gallery Library. Major papers of Home are in private hands. Papers of Inchyra are at Birmingham University. Papers of Jacob are at the Churchill Archives Centre and the Nuffield College Library. Papers of Muirshiel are at Glasgow University Archives and Business centre. Papers of Part are at the Churchill Archives Centre. Papers of Playfair are at the Science Museum Library, London. Papers of Powell are at the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service, the PRO of Northern Ireland, St Andrews University Library, and the National Library of Wales. Papers of Poynton are at the Rhodes House Library. Papers of Scott are at the National Library of Scotland. Papers of Shackleton are at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University, and the House of Lords Record Office. The papers of Sherfield are at the Public Record Office, the Bodleian Library, the Nuffield College Library, and the Imperial College Library.

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Sources: Historical Manuscripts Commission National Register of Archives. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Sep 2000

Civil service | Central government | Public administration | Government
Oral history | Historical methods | History
Politics | Political science

Personal names
Allen | Douglas Albert Vivian | b 1917 | Baron Croham | civil servant x Croham | Baron
Allen | Philip | b 1912 | Baron Allen of Abbeydale | civil servant x Allen of Abbeydale | Baron
Amory | Derick Heathcote | 1899-1981 | 1st Viscount Amory | politician x Amory | 1st Viscount
Boyle | Edward Charles Gurney | 1923-1981 | Baron Boyle of Handsworth | politician
Brooke | Henry | 1903-1984 | Baron Brooke of Cumnor | politician
Butler | Richard Austen | 1902-1982 | Baron Butler of Saffron Walden | politician
Carr | Leonard Robert | b 1916 | Baron Carr of Hadley | politician
Cunningham | Sir | Charles | b 1906 | Knight | politician
Daniel | Sir | Goronwy Hopkin | b 1914 | Knight | civil servant
Galbraith | Thomas Dunlop | 1891-1985 | 1st Baron Strathclyde of Barskimming | politician x Strathclyde of Barskimming | 1st Baron
Godber | Sir | George Edward | b 1908 | Knight | physician and civil servant
Gore | William David | Ormsby- | 1918-1985 | 5th Baron Harlech | politician and diplomat x Ormsby-Gore | William David x Harlech | 5th Baron
Home | Alexander Frederick | Douglas- | 1903-1995 | Baron Home of the Hirsel | statesman x Douglas-Home | Alexander Frederick x Home of the Hirsel | Baron
Jacob | Sir | Edward Ian Claud | 1899-1993 | Knight | Lieutenant General x Jacob | Sir | Ian
Maclay | John Scott | 1905-1992 | 1st Viscount Muirshiel | politician x Muirshiel | 1st Viscount
Makins | Roger Mellor | 1904-1996 | 1st Baron Sherfield | public official x Sherfield | 1st Baron
Millar | Frederick Robert Hoyer | 1900-1989 | 1st Baron Inchyra | civil servant and diplomat x Inchyra | 1st Baron
Musgrave | Sir | Frank Cyril | 1900-1986 | Knight | civil servant
Part | Sir | Anthony Alexander | 1916-1990 | Knight | civil servant
Peterson | Sir | Arthur William | 1916-1988 | Knight | civil servant
Playfair | Sir | Edward Wilder | b 1916 | Knight | civil servant
Powell | John Enoch | 1912-1998 | politician
Powell | Sir | Richard Royle | b 1909 | Knight | civil servant
Poynton | Sir | Arthur Hilton | 1905-1996 | Knight | civil servant
Roberthall | Robert Lowe | 1901-1988 | Baron Roberthall of Silverspur, Queensland, and Trenance | economist
Scott | Sir | Robert Heatlie | 1905-1982 | Knight | civil servant
Shackleton | Edward Arthur Alexander | 1911-1994 | Baron Shackleton of Burley | politician x Shackleton of Burley | Baron
Walley | Sir | John | b 1906 | Knight | civil servant
Way | Sir | Richard George Kitchener | 1914-1998 | Knight | civil servant

Corporate names
British Oral Archive of Political and Administrative History (BOAPAS)