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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
PREM19/3233 Cayman Islands (Relations with UK: internal situation) Begins: 1988 Sep 14 Ends: 1990 Dec 17 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 23
PREM19/2247 Industrial Policy (Industrial production) Begins: 1987 Jul 14 Ends: 1987 Aug 10 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 29
PREM19/981 DISASTERS. Collapse of Norwegian oil rig 'Alexander Kielland' in North Sea: PM's message of condolence... Begins: 1980 Mar 28 Ends: 1980 Aug 11 Date of release: 2013 Aug 1 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 43
PREM19/1789 Home Affairs (The behaviour of British football fans abroad: soccer hooliganism; Popplewell Report on crowd safety and control at sports grounds) (Part 5) Begins: 1985 Aug 1 Ends: 1986 Aug 8 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 530
PREM19/1859 National Health (Study of leukaemia in Scotland) Begins: 1986 Jun 9 Ends: 1986 Jun 9 Date of release: 2016 Feb 19 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 8
PREM19/2410 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meeting with John Browne MP, 21 October 1986: discussion of proposed M3 extension around Winchester. Note:Â With maps) Begins: 1981 Dec 7 Ends: 1987 Apr 10 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 72
PREM19/299 National Health (Fluoridation of water supplies; correspondence with Sir Emmanuel Kaye) Begins: 1979 Aug 9 Ends: 1980 Mar 27 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 69
PREM19/2411 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meeting with Lord Carrington, Lord Windlesham and Jacob Rothschild to discuss museum buildings, 23 October 1987) Begins: 1987 Jul 21 Ends: 1987 Oct 23 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 28
PREM19/3291 Economic Policy (Speeches by the Governor and Deputy Governor of the Bank of England) (Part 3) Begins: 1986 Oct 16 Ends: 1991 Jul 2 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 381
PREM19/2441 Prime Minister's Tours Abroad (Invitations, declined, from organisations in Israel) Begins: 1980 Jul 8 Ends: 1987 Mar 25 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 9
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
PREM19/708 Economic policy (Strategy) (Part 12) Begins: 1981 Dec 17 Ends: 1982 Jan 4 Date of release: 2012 Dec 28 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 140
PREM19/582 Royal family (Duke of Edinburgh's statement on nuclear war: correspondence between the Duke and Fenner Brockway, Lord Brockway) Begins: 1981 Feb 12 Ends: 1981 Apr 9 Date of release: 2015 Apr 22 Any docs withheld? 16 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 34
PREM19/3920 Royal Family (Precedence of Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on Royal visits) Begins: 1982 Dec 9 Ends: 1992 Jul 20 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 7 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 85
PREM19/677 Civil service (Lecture by Sir Douglas Wass on 'The Public Service in Modern Society': draft sent to MT) Begins: 1982 Nov 26 Ends: 1982 Nov 29 Date of release: 2012 Dec 28 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 10

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