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MT's official files as Prime Minister, 1979-90

MT's official files as PM can be read on this site as they are released, in full and free to all - the confidential files originally stored at No.10, the core record of her premiership.

The files have been copied at the British National Archives (TNA) at Kew in London and can be downloaded precisely as they appear in the reading room.

We are doing something more to help people make sense of this mass of information. The files are subject-based, logically enough, but that system makes it difficult to reconstruct the flow of paper across the Prime Minister’s desk at any point in time, depriving us of a sense of context and cross-winds, some of them overwhelming.

To combat this effect we are uploading a large selection of the most important documents from these files – thousands in total - to our powerful site database. You can search and sort by date, subject and other parameters, getting as close as anyone can now get to reconstructing the Prime Minister’s daily "Red Boxes", the rich diet of foreign and domestic policy papers submitted to her by the No.10 Private Office.

List and links to the PM’s files

Below are links to the downloadable files in numerical order. The subject terms are those used in the original filing system.

An average file has around 200 pages.

You can read here an account of how filing worked at No.10, and the system for archiving MT’s Prime Ministerial papers, both of which had their quirks.

Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Private Office files, 1979-1989

1979-89: Chancellor’s Private Office files [links to hundreds of digitised files from the Chancellorships of Sir Geoffrey Howe and Nigel Lawson]

Engagement Diaries

An alternative way through the material is to read MT’s engagement diaries, jumping day to day.

The engagement diaries link directly to relevant documents in the site database, so this is a good way to recover the perspective from the Red Box.

File name Title Begins Ends Date of release Any docs withheld? File classification Pagessort ascending
PREM19/1771 Government Machinery (Review of administrative forms) (Part 1) Begins: 1980 Aug 14 Ends: 1986 Oct 31 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30
PREM19/4731 Home Affairs (The Fire Service: fire safety legislation report) (Part 1) Begins: 1988 May 10 Ends: 1994 Dec 22 Date of release: 2018 Dec 28
PREM19/4532 Civil Service (Introduction of new technology into the Civil Service: Project Gemstone; Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) in government departments) (Part 3) Begins: 1986 May 16 Ends: 1992 Jul 26 Date of release: 2018 Dec 28
PREM19/2471 Royal Family (Marriage of the Earl of St Andrews, son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent) Begins: 1986 Dec 5 Ends: 1986 Dec 8 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Retained Sec 3.4
PREM19/4711 Home Affairs (30-year rule retentions) Begins: 1979 Nov 26 Ends: 1994 Feb 24 Date of release: 2018 Dec 28
PREM19/3963 Transport (Proposal by Greater London Council (GLC) to extend Jubilee line to Docklands) Begins: 1979 Jun 1 Ends: 1992 Apr 30 Date of release: Date of release: Temporarily Retained by Department
PREM19/2955 Education (General policy on education) (Part 24) Begins: 1990 Mar 1 Ends: 1990 Mar 30 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/1607 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meeting with Tony Christopher of the Inland Revenue Staff Federation) Begins: 1984 Dec 19 Ends: 1985 Jan 10 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30
PREM19/4023 Cabinet (Questions of Procedure for Ministers) (Part 3) Begins: 1986 Feb 14 Ends: 1990 Dec 20 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/1885 Parliament (Boundary Commission reviews of Parliamentary constituencies in UK)(Part 1) Begins: 1981 Feb 19 Ends: 1986 Feb 20 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 Any docs withheld? 2
PREM19/1189 Defence (Correspondence from Professor R.V. Jones) Begins: 1982 Jun 14 Ends: 1984 Sep 5 Date of release: Date of release: Retained Sec 3.4 File classification: Unknown
PREM19/1961 Social Services (Board and lodging charges) Begins: 1984 Nov 28 Ends: 1986 Dec 18 Date of release: 2016 Feb 19
PREM19/1788 Home Affairs (Family Policy Group: renewing the values of society) (Part 3) Begins: 1983 Mar 2 Ends: 1986 Sep 8 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30
PREM19/4500 USA (Economic situation) (Part 5) Begins: 1990 Feb 9 Ends: 1993 Apr 21 Date of release: 2018 Dec 28
PREM19/2494 Security (Ministerial personal protection: security arrangements for overnight parking of Ministers' cars: VIP security) Begins: 1979 Aug 28 Ends: 1987 Jun 12 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Retained Sec 3.4