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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 releasesort ascending Any docs withheld? File classification Pages
PREM19/239 France (Prime Minister’s visit to France, September 1980: Franco-British Conference at Bordeaux) Begins: 1979 Oct 9 Ends: 1980 Oct 6 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 321
PREM19/329 Parliament (Top Salaries Review Body report on Parliamentary pay) (Part 2) Begins: 1980 Feb 12 Ends: 1980 Jul 10 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 194
PREM19/207 Energy (Energy conservation and home insulation schemes: oil demand restraint) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 May 31 Ends: 1980 Apr 8 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 262
PREM19/300 National Health (Pneumoconiosis compensation schemes) Begins: 1979 Oct 25 Ends: 1980 Feb 8 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 24
PREM19/175 Economic policy (Budget) (Part 2) Begins: 1979 Jun 11 Ends: 1980 Feb 28 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 225
PREM19/268 Industrial policy (Consultations with Trades Union Congress (TUC) on economic strategy; Prime Minister’s meetings with TUC representatives) (Part 3) Begins: 1980 Aug 20 Ends: 1980 Oct 16 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 227
PREM19/145 Civil Service (Proposal to close Public Record Office research room in Chancery Lane) Begins: 1980 Feb 14 Ends: 1980 Apr 22 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 23
PREM19/366 Social Services (Taxation of short term benefits, supplementary benefits and strikers' benefits; financial treatment of strikers and their families) (Part 2) Begins: 1980 Jan 3 Ends: 1980 Feb 25 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 101
PREM19/240 Gabon (Visit to UK by President Bongo, May 1980: call on Prime Minister) Begins: 1980 Apr 23 Ends: 1980 May 22 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 43
PREM19/330 Parliament (Top Salaries Review Body report on Parliamentary pay) (Part 3) Begins: 1980 Jul 10 Ends: 1980 Nov 28 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 225
PREM19/208 Energy (Coking coal: National Coal Board grant; British Steel Corporation imports) Begins: 1979 Jul 23 Ends: 1980 Sep 8 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 52
PREM19/301 National Health (Overspending by Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham Area Health Authority (AHA); removal of powers by Social Services Secretary; AHA resumption of powers following Court ruling) Begins: 1979 Jul 31 Ends: 1980 Mar 3 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 30
PREM19/176 Economic policy (Budget) (Part 3) Begins: 1979 Mar 1 Ends: 1980 May 12 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 198
PREM19/269 Industrial policy (Micro-electronics industry; support for Inmos Ltd (INMOS)) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 May 24 Ends: 1980 Apr 30 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 137
PREM19/146 Civil Service (Cabinet Office Whitley Council request for meeting, concerning pay, with Prime Minister) Begins: 1980 Mar 21 Ends: 1980 Dec 3 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 18

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