Churchill Archive now online for University of Cambridge

We are delighted to announce that the Churchill Archive has been acquired for full access to all members of the University of Cambridge.  Access is available now via the following link:

Cambridge University Library would like to acknowledge the generosity of the private donation made with the support of Bloomsbury that led to the acquisition of this important archive for all our students and researchers.

The Archive can also be accessed via the Cambridge LibGuides Databases A-Z here.  Access is alternatively available via Shibboleth login on the site if you prefer to go to the site directly when off campus.  (As this resource is an archive, there are no individual MARC records for its contents in iDiscover, but a “collection-level” record for the archive will be added shortly.)

The Churchill Archive is a unique resource that brings nearly 800,000 documents amassed by Winston S. Churchill throughout his life, together online for the first time.   The original documents, produced between 1874 and 1965, include Churchill’s personal correspondence with his family and friends; financial and legal papers; political and constituency-related materials; ministerial and official correspondence; drafts of his speeches; as well as notes, drafts, and proofs of his many articles and books.

To complement the core content, the Churchill Archive offers an expanding range of additional materials, including pedagogical resources and secondary materials, plus editorially-selected links to other resources, video and audio content, and biographical and bibliographic databases.



A “Collection Highlights” section reveals themes of special interest in Churchill’s career and over the historical periods covered by the Archive, including how he used the power of words to boost the nation’s morale, how some exceptionally influential women supported him in his work and personal life, and most recently highlighting how he fostered the “special relationship” between this country and America, in the era of Soviet expansionism after the Second World War in particular.

For readers coming to the Archive afresh, or who are unfamiliar with researching with archival materials, there are heplful pages (FAQs; MyArchive) on interpreting documents and navigating the Archive’s content, with some advice about microfilm transcriptions and conventions of cataloguing and taxonomy in the organization of the papers over time.

A “Teaching and Research” page demonstrates the wealth of potential sources in the Archive for the study of topics in twentieth-century history, including for example an in-depth guide on Winston Churchill and the Islamic World by Warren Dockter, University of Cambridge.

Read the blog of the Churchill Archive and keep up to date with the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College at their site here.


Churchill’s visit to the College, 17 Oct 1959, ref. CCPH 4/2


Indian papers of Colonel Clive and Brigadier-General Carnac, 1752-1774

The University of Cambridge now has online access to the Indian papers of Colonel Clive and Brigadier-General Carnac, 1752-1774.  This collection from British Archives Online is made available thanks to an agreement for Higher Education institutions between JISC Collections and British Archives Online for the duration of 2017 only.

This new resource is available via this link:

The papers of two leading actors in the East India Company in mid-18th century Bengal from the National Library of Wales. Chiefly in English, but with an array of original correspondence with local figures in Indo-Persian and occasionally Bengali, Marathi and Tamil, this collection allows researchers to understand the complex political web in the subcontinent as the power of the Mughal Empire began to wane.

Essential for those studying the life and career of Robert Clive (1725-1774), a man who stands in the very first rank of historical figures, this resource is also of the greatest importance to anyone exploring the often hotly debated events that preceded, accompanied and followed the establishment of Britain’s Indian empire during the mid-18th century, especially the periods 1756-1760 and 1765-1766. By reproducing in full Clive’s English and Persian correspondence, it is possible to compare firsthand Indian and European accounts of Clive’s resounding victory in 1757 at Plassey over the superior French-backed force of the Nawab of Bengal in the aftermath of the notorious ‘Black Hole of Calcutta’ incident; of the conclusive routing of the Dutch in 1759; or of the ill-fated career of Clive’s chief administrator of revenues, Maharaja Nandakumara, including supplementary material on his trial and execution in 1775 for forgery drawn from the 1st Earl of Minto’s papers at National Library of Scotland.

First an officer in the EIC’s private army, and then later twice governor of Bengal, Clive was the leading actor in the political and military events of the 1750s and 1760s that served to lay the foundations of the British Raj. But he was also a highly controversial figure who, during an often troubled lifetime, attracted much unwanted attention from the public, Parliament and the press. Many in Britain came to revile him and, tainted by accusations of corruption and the abuse of power in India, he was condemned for spending his enormous private fortune on houses, estates and possessions, acquired in an attempt to carve out an elevated position for his family in English landed society. Even in death Clive remained controversial, with many believing that he committed suicide in 1774 at the age of 49.

Originally part of the Clive family’s Powis estate, these immensely rich and varied papers facilitate close study of a highly complex and enigmatic man, as well as the contested origins of Britain’s Indian empire. In addition the papers contain invaluable material on the economic, social and political history of Britain during the 18th century.

Complementing our understanding of this turning point in the history of British power in South Asia, are some 2,000 items of John Carnac’s correspondence. Carnac joined the EIC army with the rank of Captain in 1758, after his service with the 39th infantry regiment. As Commander-in-Chief between 1760 and 1761, he fought and defeated the French-supported forces of the Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II, near Bihar. Made Brigadier-General in 1764, Carnac again assumed command, defeating the Marathas in 1765 before handing control back later that year to Robert Clive. This correspondence’s emphasis on the years between 1763 and 1766 helps to fill the gap in events during Clive’s absence from India between March 1760 and April 1765, when he returned to Britain. At the same time, the collection amplifies our understanding of Clive’s third and final tour of duty, providing an opportunity to contrast how two senior British figures set about implementing the EIC’s new approach, combining commercial with growing political power.


East India Company

Trial access has been enabled for the University of Cambridge to the East India Company resource from Adam Matthew Digital.

The trial is available here:

The trial ends 10 February 2017.

Please send feedback to :

Portrait of a European painted by Mughal artists, Ca.1590

Portrait of a European painted by Mughal artists, Ca.1590

East India Company offers access to a unique collection of India Office Records from the British Library, London. Containing royal charters, correspondence, trading diaries, minutes of council meetings and reports of expeditions, among other document types, this resource charts the history of British trade and rule in the Indian subcontinent and beyond from 1600 to 1947.

London Low Life

The University of Cambridge now has trial access to the London Low Life collection until 10 November 2016.

Access the trial here:

We want to know what you think of this resource.  Is it useful to you; if so, in what way?  Please send us your thoughts and feedback by writing an email to:  Thank you!

London Low Life is a full-text searchable resource, containing colour digital images of rare books, ephemera, maps and other materials relating to 18th, 19th and early 20th century London. It is designed for both teaching and study, from undergraduate to research students and beyond.

In addition to the digital documents, London Low Life contains a wealth of secondary resources, including a chronology, interactive maps, essays, online galleries and links to other useful websites.

This image of the viewing of Harriet Lane’s body is one of many in a Police News Edition pamphlet on the Whitechapel tragedy in 1874.

House of Commons Parliamentary Papers new platform

The House of Commons Parliamentary Papers has now been upgraded and launched on the ProQuest Government platform and can be accessed at this link.  It will run concurrently with the legacy Chadwyck Healy platform here until end of March 2016.  The links on the eresources@cambridge A-Z and subject pages and on the LibGuides A-Z have been updated accordingly.

The House of Commons Parliamentary Papers are an essential primary source for Britain, its colonies, and the wider world. They are the working documents of the British government for all areas of social, political, economic, and foreign policy. 

They include Bills, Reports of Royal Commissions, Reports of Select Committees, Accounts and Papers and other materials. The Papers influenced public opinion and social and political philosophy, and provided a forum for ideas of hundreds of thinkers including Edward Jenner, Matthew Arnold, Anthony Trollope, John Stuart Mill, Michael Faraday, Carlyle, Darwin, and Marx.

Before the advent of a fully formed Whitehall departmental system, Parliament was the main source of public information, ordering the publication of papers, returns, reports and evidence on a grand scale.

On the new improved platform, you will find searching faster and more intuitive, be able to apply post-search filters, bookmark search forms, use dedicated search forms for members of parliament; find full text PDFs fully searchable and discover related news content.

Debate Tonight: Whether a man’s wig should be dressed with honey or mustard! A 1795 cartoon satirizing the content of debates.

Silence Gentlemen, to Order, only 10 speak at a time! for if you all Bray together it’s impossible to decide on this important Question.


Mass Observation Online

The University Library is delighted to announce access is now available for the University of Cambridge to Mass Observation Online.

Mass Observation Online makes available original manuscript and typescript papers created and collected by the Mass Observation organisation, as well as printed publications, photographs and interactive features. A pioneering social research organisation, Mass Observation was founded in 1937 by anthropologist Tom Harrisson, film-maker Humphrey Jennings and poet Charles Madge. Their aim was to create an ‘anthropology of ourselves’, and by recruiting a team of observers and a panel of volunteer writers they studied the everyday lives of ordinary people in Britain. This resource covers the original Mass Observation project, the bulk of which was carried out from 1937 until the mid-1950s, offering an unparalleled insight into everyday life in Britain during these transformative years.

The vast content of the Archive can be divided into two main types: material collected by investigators, and material submitted by volunteers. This raw data was, in turn, summarised in the file reports (or in a few cases, the official publications). The material collected by investigators comprises thematic studies, undertaken by paid ‘observers’, and comprising surveys, collections of ephemera, accounts of ‘overheards’ and covert observations of the general public. The material submitted by volunteers, on the other hand, are deeply personal accounts of individual lives provided by the amateur observers from MO’s ‘National Panel’. The duality apparent in these two opposing methods of data collection was present from the very beginning of Mass Observation’s conception, and has been attributed to the conflicting aims of the co-founders of Mass Observation, Tom Harrisson and Charles Madge. From the very start Mass Observation’s methods were divided: Harrisson taking his anthropological, scientific approach to Bolton for the Worktown study, in which the invisibility of the Mass Observation observer was essential, while Madge remained in London to build up the collection of diaries and personal writings from the volunteer National Panel.

The Archive of Mass Observation, a pioneering social research resource, provides access to around 115,000 digital images of material generated by mass observation between 1937 and 1949, with a few later additions from the 1950s and 1960s.

This is an invaluable resource for sociologists, cultural historians and a wide range of other disciplines.

Pamela Slater of 8 Wellgarth Rd N & W. II Single Architect 25, writes [on Monday 8, July, 1940, two months to the day before the first mass air raid on London on 7 September]:

Started new architectural job at London Bridge …

Had lunch with caretaker of the building and her husband where I work-she is sure that London is not going to get bombed “has said so all along!” Much talk about new tea rationing-most people philosophical about it- doesn’t affect me as I don’t care for the stuff.

I can’t bear to think about France – its like having to get used to the idea of a great friend suddenly dying of hidden cancer-till now unsuspected.  What satisfaction can be felt at the Navy’s action against the French fleet, it just makes one feel sick inside.

In lunch time today I walked along Eastcheap to Tower HIll where hundreds of people were standing round a tough, shirt-sleeved, perspiring individual high up on a buttress wall of the higher terrace.  After listening to him with much enjoyment for some time I realised that he must be the famous Donald Soper who I have only seen once before, respectably churchy at a public meeting.  He was grand- held the audience in the hollow of his hand, and kept everyone good-tempered inspte of saying all the time exactly what he wanted to say.  A wind was blowing over the Thames and, what with the new atmosphere of city workers in black coats, and the smells of warfs and granaries and store houses unimaginable goods, I came back to work most cheerfully.  It is really a sign of something healthy in our civilisation that in wartime a pacifist can stand up and talk Christian Pacifism for an hour to a mixed audience and get down amid the affectionate plaudits of that audience.

State Papers Online Part IV

New resource: State Papers Online : the Government of Britain, 1509-1714 : Part IV

The Seeley Historical Library and the University Library are delighted to announce the acquisition of Part IV of the State Papers Online : the Government of Britain, 1509-1714.

Part IV completes the University’s acquisition of the State Papers Online for this period and comprises the Stuarts and Commonwealth, James I – Anne I, 1603-1714: State Papers Foreign, Ireland and Registers of the Privy Council.

The final installment of the four-part archive, State Papers Online, Part IV: The Stuarts, James I to Anne, 1603-1714: State Papers Foreign, Ireland, Scotland and Acts of Privy Council is an extensive collection of all the foreign state papers of the British monarchy from the reign of James I in 1603 to the end of the reign of Queen Anne, in 1714.

This unique online resource reproduces the original historical manuscripts in facsimile and links each manuscript to its corresponding fully-searchable calendar entry. It is an unprecedented, groundbreaking primary source collection for British Early Modern history and courses on the Stuarts.

Access State Papers Online via this link.