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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 Titlesort descending Begins Ends Date of release Any docs withheld? File classification Pages
PREM19/2577 Prime Minister (Personal correspondence with Princess Margaret) Begins: 1980 Jan 9 Ends: 1980 Feb 7 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/1103 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meeting with Alexander Solzhenitsyn: record of meeting) Begins: 1983 May 6 Ends: 1983 May 12 Date of release: 2013 Aug 1 File classification: Confidential Pages: 15
PREM19/1613 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meeting with Conservative Friends of Israel) Begins: 1985 Jun 19 Ends: 1985 Oct 9 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 29
PREM19/2809 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meetings and correspondence with Jack Peel (Director of Industrial Relations at the European Commission until March 1981)) (Part 1) Begins: 1980 Jan 1 Ends: 1989 Sep 28 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/2810 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meetings with Lord Young: Enterprise Unit) Begins: 1984 Jun 1 Ends: 1989 Feb 6 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/1612 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meetings with Robert Kilroy-Silk MP about proposed redundancies in Knowsley area) Begins: 1984 Jan 24 Ends: 1985 Feb 11 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 55
PREM19/2801 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meetings with the Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM)) Begins: 1986 Sep 5 Ends: 1990 Jan 9 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/2802 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's term of office: Mrs Thatcher's 10th anniversary as Prime Minister) Begins: 1987 Sep 9 Ends: 1989 May 3 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/1112 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's visit to Falklands, Jan 1983) (Part 1) Begins: 1982 Aug 10 Ends: 1983 Jan 12 Date of release: 2013 Aug 1 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Top Secret Pages: 197
PREM19/1113 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's visit to Falklands, Jan 1983) (Part 2) Begins: 1983 Jan 10 Ends: 1983 Mar 29 Date of release: 2013 Aug 1 Any docs withheld? 5 File classification: Secret Pages: 153
PREM19/1889 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's weekly diary meeting) Begins: 1979 May 21 Ends: 1986 Jun 30 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 Any docs withheld? 1
PREM19/339 Prime Minister (Prime Minister’s visit to Dublin, December 1980: administrative arrangements) Begins: 1980 Sep 11 Ends: 1980 Dec 19 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 58
PREM19/2399 Prime Minister (Proposal for a Margaret Thatcher Chair of International Relations) Begins: 1987 Oct 12 Ends: 1988 Jun 23 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21
PREM19/2397 Prime Minister (Request by Electronic Data Systems to employ Mark Thatcher) Begins: 1987 Feb 1 Ends: 1987 Feb 23 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Temporarily retained by Department
PREM19/1901 Prime Minister (Tam Dalyell's motion on conduct of Prime Minister) Begins: 1986 Jun 4 Ends: 1986 Jun 5 Date of release: 2016 Feb 19

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