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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 classificationsort descending Pages
PREM19/117 Rhodesia (Lord Boyd's Report on April 1979 election) Begins: 1979 May 16 Ends: 1979 May 16 Date of release: 2009 Dec 30 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 74
PREM19/3480 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meetings and correspondence with Jack Peel) (Part 2) Begins: 1989 Oct 1 Ends: 1991 Mar 27 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 23
PREM19/3131 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meetings and correspondence with Yehudi Menuhin, founder of the Yehudi Menuhin School) Begins: 1980 Sep 27 Ends: 1990 Jun 18 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 104
PREM19/2855 Social Services (Statutory right to paid time off for ante-natal care) Begins: 1980 Mar 10 Ends: 1989 Sep 1 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 13
PREM19/373 Spain (EEC fishing licences for Spanish fishermen) Begins: 1980 Jan 28 Ends: 1980 Feb 8 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 18
PREM19/3479 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meetings with the National Pensioners Convention) (Part 2) Begins: 1987 Jan 8 Ends: 1991 Feb 28 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 394
PREM19/715 Economic policy (Strategy) (Part 19) Begins: 1982 Nov 1 Ends: 1982 Nov 29 Date of release: 2012 Dec 28 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 318
PREM19/3611 Arts and Amenities (Charitable trust for works of art in the Palace of Westminster) Begins: 1990 Jun 28 Ends: 1991 Mar 27 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 12
PREM19/336 Prime Minister (Meeting with delegation from British Chamber of Commerce on trade union immunities) Begins: 1980 Apr 24 Ends: 1980 Jun 5 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 34
PREM19/8 Civil Service (Stock Criticisms) Begins: 1979 Dec 31 Ends: 1979 Dec 31 Date of release: 2009 Dec 30 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 15
PREM19/2398 Prime Minister (Submission of papers to the Prime Minister prior to trips abroad and recesses) Begins: 1979 Jul 17 Ends: 1986 Jul 7 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 22
PREM19/3129 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meeting with Thomas Phillips, Chairman of Raytheon, 19 June 1990) Begins: 1990 May 14 Ends: 1990 Jun 19 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 12
PREM19/1213 Education (Reorganisation of London University: role of Somerset House) Begins: 1982 Aug 20 Ends: 1984 Sep 27 Date of release: 2014 Jan 3 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 24
PREM19/839 Manpower (Prime Minister's meeting with delegation from Jobs for Youth campaign) Begins: 1981 Aug 24 Ends: 1982 Jan 19 Date of release: 2012 Dec 28 Any docs withheld? 1 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 53
PREM19/1890 Prime Minister (Meeting with Geoffrey Dickens MP about child welfare and protection, 30 January 1986) Begins: 1986 Jan 15 Ends: 1986 Feb 21 Date of release: 2015 Dec 30 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 40

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