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British Library of Political and Economic Science

STEEL, David Martin Scott, b 1938, Baron Steel of Aikwood, politician


Reference code(s): GB 0097 STEEL

Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science

Title: STEEL, David Martin Scott, b 1938, Baron Steel of Aikwood, politician

Date(s): 1966-1999

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 224 boxes

Name of creator(s): Steel | David Martin Scott | b 1938 | Baron Steel of Aikwood | politician


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born 1938; educated Prince of Wales School, Nairobi, and George Watson's College, Edinburgh University; President, Edinburgh University Liberals, 1959, and the Students' Representative Council, 1960; Assistant Secretary, Scottish Liberal Party, 1962-1964; BBC television interviewer in Scotland, 1964-1965; Liberal (later Liberal Democrat) MP for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles, 1965-1983, and Tweedale, Ettrick and Lauderdale, 1983-1997; President, Anti-Apartheid Movement of Great Britain, 1966-1969; Member, Parliamentary Delegation to the UN General Assembly, 1967; Chairman, Shelter in Scotland, 1969-1973; Liberal Chief Whip, 1970-1975; Member, British Council of Churches, 1971-1975; Council of Management, Centre for Studies in Social Policy, 1971-1976; Advisory Council, European Discussion centre, 1971-1976; Leader of the Liberal Party, 1976-1988; Rector, Edinburgh University, 1982-1985; Chubb Fellow, Yale University, USA, 1987; KBE, 1990; Co-Founder, Social and Liberal Democrats, 1988; President, Countryside Movement, 1995-; President, Liberal International, 1994-1996; created Life Peer, 1997; Liberal Democrat Member and Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, 1999-. Publications: No entry: the background and implications of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act (C Hurst and Co, London, 1969); The Liberal way forward (Liberal Publication Department, London, 1975); A new majority for a new parliament (Liberal Publications Department, London, 1978); The high ground of politics (Liberal Publication Department, 1979); A house divided: the Lib-Lab Pact and the future of British politics (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1980); Labour at 80: time to retire (Liberal Publication Department, London, 1980); Partners in one nation: a new vision of Britain 2000 (Bodley Head, London, 1985); The decade of realignment: the leadership speeches of David Steel (Hebden Royd Publications, Hebden Bridge, 1986); Sharing profits: the partnership path to economic recovery (Hebden Royd Publications, Hebden Bridge, 1986); Mary Stuart's Scotland (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1987); The time has come: partnership for progress (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1987); Against Goliath (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1989); Border country (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1985).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of David Martin Scott Steel, Baron Steel of Aikwood, 1966-1999, including correspondence, 1976-1999, relating to his role as Liberal Party leader, Liberal Party funding and party political broadcasts, European monetary union and foreign affairs; material concerning elections, 1975-1987, notably correspondence and reports by the Joseph Rowntree Social Services Trust Ltd on tactical seats and seat assessments, papers of the General Election Committee concerning policy and election strategy, and correspondence and publications relating to by-elections; papers relating to the Lib-Lab Pact, 1977-1978, including notes on shadow administration committees and correspondence with Labour politicians; material concerning the Liberal/SDP Alliance, 1982-1988, including minutes and working papers of the Joint Leaders Advisory Committee, the Alliance Planning Group and the Alliance Strategy Committee, correspondence concerning the Alliance defence policy and the Alliance Fund; papers concerning the Liberal Party and SDP merger, 1987-1988, notably general correspondence and memoranda concerning the merger negotiations, and media coverage; constituency (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale) correspondence and casework, 1971-1994; subject files, 1986-1995,comprising correspondence and papers on subjects including agriculture, defence, environment, housing, health, education, transport and Scottish home affairs; general party papers, 1970-1993, relating to party policy, election campaigns and conferences; correspondence and papers regarding foreign affairs c1989-1999, including papers regarding democratic elections, government and human rights in Malawi 1991-1999 and Kenya 1992-1997; desk diaries, 1966-1998; papers concerning Liberal International meetings, 1981-1995; correspondence and papers relating to EDLR meetings 1982-1992; papers regarding Scottish home rule, including the work of the Scottish Constitutional Convention 1969-1994; membership of organisations and charities 1978-1994; audiotapes and videotapes with appearances by Steel c1978-1999; and speeches, articles and press releases (1974-1993).


Language/scripts of material: Mainly English

System of arrangement:

The collection has been divided into two main sections - STEEL/A and STEEL/B. STEEL/A comprises the original accession received by the Library in 1989 and relates specifically to Steel's work as Leader of the Liberal Party. It has been divided into seven series. These are: STEEL/A/1 - Correspondence (1983-1988) STEEL/A/2 - Elections (c1975-1983) STEEL/A/3 - Lib-Lab Pact (1977-1978) STEEL/A/4 - Liberal/SDP Alliance (1982-1988) STEEL/A/5 - Merger between Liberals and SDP (1987-1988) STEEL/A/6 - Miscellaneous Papers (1976-1984) STEEL/B comprises later accessions and relates to Steel's work as Liberal leader, Scottish issues (including constituency correspondence) and his work as Foreign Affairs Spokesman for the Liberal Democrats. The collection has been divided into 17 series. These are: STEEL/B/1 - Leadership files (1976-1991). This series has been divided into sub-series to follow the above collection. These is an additional series of files relating to visits made by Steel as Leader (STEEL/B/1/7) STEEL/B/2 - Parliamentary Papers (1987-1995) STEEL/B/3 - Subject files (1969-1995) STEEL/B/4 - Constituency correspondence (1971-1994) STEEL/B/5 - Foreign Affairs (1966-1999). This series divided into five sub-series. These are: STEEL/B/5/1 - Africa (1966-1999) STEEL/B/5/2 - Asia (1989-1993) STEEL/B/5/3 - Europe (1989-1994) STEEL/B/5/4 - Middle East (1990-1993) STEEL/B/5/5 - North America (1991-1994) STEEL/B/5/6 - South America and Central America (1989-1992) STEEL/B/6 - Liberal International (1981-1995) STEEL/B/7- European Democratic and Liberal Reform Parties (EDLR) (1982-1992) STEEL/B/8 - Party Papers (1970-1993) STEEL/B/9 - Scottish Assembly (1969-1994) STEEL/B/10 - Articles, Speeches, Press Releases (1974-1993) STEEL/B/11 - Diaries (1966-1998) STEEL/B/12 - Daybook Letters (1992-1994) STEEL/B/13 - Correspondence (1987-1995) STEEL/B/14 - Membership of organisations and charities (1978-1994) STEEL/B/15 - Past Engagements and Memorabilia (1978-1995) STEEL/B/16 - Personal papers (c1989-1996) STEEL/B/17 - Videos and Audiotapes (c1978-1999)

Conditions governing access:

Mainly closed; some items are open. All material less than 20 years old is closed. The handlist is available to researchers who may contact Sir David about special access. Some files are closed under data protection.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright retained by the depositor.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

There is a printed list and the full list is available via ths LSE Archives' Online Catalogue:'steel')

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:

Duplicates and publications from organisations including annual reports and local government policies have been removed, unless they relate to the content of the file. In this case they have been kept.



Archival history:

Deposited by David Steel's office in the House of Commons in 1989, 1993, and 1995. A later deposit was made by Steel via the House of Lords Office in 1998.

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

The British Library of Political and Economic Science also holds the papers of the Liberal Party (Ref: Liberal Party), the Liberal Democrats (Ref: Liberal Democrats), the papers of Paddy Ashdown (Ref: Ashdown), and material concerning the Liberal/SDP Alliance. Further material concerning David Steel may also be found in the papers of James Edward Meade (Ref: Meade 11/16 and 13/11), Neville Devonshire Sandelson (Ref: Sandelson), the papers of Antony Grey in the Hall Carpenter Archive (Ref: HCA/Grey papers), and among general election ephemera (Ref: Coll Misc 0401, 0692 and 1711).

The Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine holds papers relating to abortion law reform, 1965-1968 (Ref: SA/ALR).

Papers re Scotland held by National Library of Scotland Further papers are held by the Politics dept at the University of Edinburgh

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Sources: Who's Who 1897-1996 (A & C Black, 1996); British Library On-Line Public Access Catalogue 97; Historical Manuscripts Commission National Register of Archives. Catalogued by Becky Webster 2007.

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: May 2001. December 2007

Elections | Electoral systems | Internal politics
Politics | Political science

Personal names
Steel | David Martin Scott | b 1938 | Baron Steel of Aikwood | politician x Steel of Aikwood | Baron

Corporate names
Joseph Rowntree Social Services Trust Limited
Labour Party
Liberal International
Liberal Party
Liberal/SDP Alliance

Ettrick | Selkirkshire | Scotland | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Lauderdale | Selkirkshire | Scotland | UK | Western Europe | Europe
London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Tweedale | Peeblesshire | Scotland | UK | Western Europe | Europe