Our collections of interviews span the political spectrum and provide unique insights into British political figures, movements and events.
About the collection
The recordings include interviews with those involved in government administration, political parties and the civil service. The interviews chart the changing face of British politics and their impact on British society in the 20th century and beyond.
What is available online?
- The Bow Dialogues are debates on social issues recorded between 1964 and 1979. They feature a number of important political figures invited to speak on topics of current importance. Available online for higher education institutions only, and available in our Reading Rooms.
- Observing the 1980s includes recordings with those involved in key events and issues from the period, such as the Falklands War, the Miners' Strike, the Brixton riots, unemployment and redundancy, and HIV and Aids.
- The History of Parliament Oral History Project provides a unique record of post-war British political history. Run by the History of Parliament Trust, its volunteers aim to interview as many current and former Members of the House of Commons as possible and senior Members of the House of Lords. 54 interviews are so far available online.
What is available in our Reading Rooms?
- The History of Parliament Oral History Project provides a unique record of post-war British political history. Run by the History of Parliament Trust, its volunteers aim to interview as many current and former Members of the House of Commons as possible and senior Members of the House of Lords. The collection includes over 170 interviews.
- The House of Commons staff oral history collection comprises 18 interviews with past and present members of the staff of the House of Commons.
- The Harman-Shepherd collection of interviews with women Members of Parliament, are interviews with 83 female and 3 male Members of Parliament, most of whom entered the House of Commons at the 1997 general election.
- Whitehall Decision-makers comprises interviews made by Anthony Barker and Anthony Seldon with senior civil servants Lord Bancroft, Sir Frank Cooper, Sir Frank Roberts and Sir Harold Beeley.
- Leaders of National Life includes an interview with Betty Boothroyd (the first female speaker of the House of Commons) and with Edwina Coven (first woman Chief Commoner of City of London).
- George Jones Political Recordings - includes BBC broadcasts from the 1970s and 1980s of Professor George Jones discussing current political topics.
- The Labour Party Recordings include Labour Party conference recordings and party political broadcasts. There are also as recordings discussing policy questions, distributed by the Labour Party to branches in Labour News Cassettes.
- Hilary Wainwright Labour Party Tapes include interviews with Labour Party activists and focus on the political scene in the 1980s, in particular, Trade Unions, Party democracy, women's and black sections, factionalism and the politics of opposition.
- Labour Oral History Project includes interviews with activists in the Labour movement conducted by project volunteers from all over Britain. Interviewees are past or present members of the Labour Party or the Communist Party of Great Britain.
- National Co-operative Society Oral History Project is a series of life story interviews with active members of the Co-operative movement from all over Britain.
- Mass Conservatism: An Oral History of the Conservative Party comprises eight interviews with activists at various levels of the British Conservative Party carried out in conjunction with Ian Holliday and the National Museum of Labour History.
- Interviews with Conservative Association Members in Surrey and Sussex examine the changing membership patterns in the Conservative Party in these regions.
- Communist Party Library and Archive Recordings are recordings from the library and archive of the Communist Party of Great Britain covering meetings of party groups, party educational talks and discussions, and broadcasts concerning the party and individual members.
- Communist Party of Great Britain Biographical Project covers the full period of the Party's existence between 1920 and 1991 with more than 150 interviews.
- Communist Party Oral History Project are eight interviews with activists at various levels of the Communist Party of Great Britain conducted in 1994.
- The Lifetimes of Commitment: interviews with British Socialists collection includes interviews carried out between 1986 and 1988 with sometime members of the Communist Party of Great Britain.
- The Socialist Workers' Party Collection includes recordings made between 1992 and 2000 at the annual 'Marxism' event. Speakers include Arthur Scargill, Tony Benn and Terry Eagleton.
Political movements and ideologies
- The Ronald Fraser Interviews: 1968 – A Student Generation in Revolt are interviews with student activists about the events of 1968 in Britain and the United States. The collection includes interviews with lecturers and students.
- The Donald Soper cassettes includes recordings of the Labour peer, Lord Soper, speaking on a range of political issues at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park between 1971 and 1996. Topics include Northern Ireland; the Falklands War; the 1984-1985 Miners' Strike.
- The Stoneman Fascist Recordings includes speeches of Oswald Mosley between 1934-79. It also includes meetings of several far-right parties such as the National Front and British National Party.
- The Fire Brigades Union project consists of 28 interviews.
- Leaders of National Life includes an interview with trade union leader Jack Jones.