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The University of Southampton
Special Collections

MS 62 Broadlands Archives

The collections from Broadlands, near Romsey, Hants, contain extensive archival and photographic materials. The papers divide into six major groups of family and estate papers.  An overview of the collections are set out below.  

Date range:

1392, 16th century-1979


4146 boxes

(i) Temple family, Viscounts Palmerston

Papers of the Temple family, Viscounts Palmerston, including seven letter books of Sir William Temple (1628-99), diplomat, 1665-81, comprising principally material relating to the negotiations at Nijmegen, 1674-8 (BR1); poems and prose collected by Henry Temple, first Viscount Palmerston, 1724-c.1750, including letters from Swift (BR3); correspondence, memoranda and accounts of Sir John Temple, 1666-1700 (BR5, 7a); correspondence, diaries, travel journals, including tours of France and Italy, of Henry Temple, second Viscount Palmerston, and his two wives, Frances Poole (d. 1769) and Mary Mee (d. 1805), 1761-1804 (BR11-21); and family correspondence of Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston (1784-1865), and his wife, Emily, formerly Lady Cowper, 1791-1869 (BR22-30).

The semi-official correspondence of the third Viscount Palmerston totals some 40,000 items, covering the whole of his ministerial career from 1809 until his death while Prime Minister in 1865. About three-quarters of this collection consists of Palmerston's papers as Foreign Secretary, for the years 1830-4, 1835-41 and 1846-51, and is largely composed of his private correspondence with British diplomats. Some of the official minutes and working papers in the collection are similar to those surviving in the Foreign Office records (TNA FO 96/17-22, FO 800/382) and the drafts of despatches relate to a series of entry books and pr‚cis books in the British Library (Add MSS 48439-577, 49963-9) which were once in the collections at Broadlands. An important sequence of Palmerston's correspondence with Sir George Villiers has recently been published in the HMC Prime Minister's Papers series, Palmerston I:  private correspondence with Sir George Villiers 9(afterwards fourth Earl of Clarendon) as minister to 1833-1837 ed. R.Bullen and F.Strong (London, 1985).

The papers from Palmerston's long service as Secretary at War (1809-28) are few in comparison and the correspondence generally is meagre prior to 1830. The deficiency is partly made up by the survival of political journals for 1806-1807 and 1828-1829, by other diaries and journals, 1818-1864, and by the autobiographical sketch that he wrote for Lady Cowper shortly before their marriage.

For Palmerston's years as Home Secretary, 1852-1855, and Prime Minister, 1855-1858 and 1859-1865, there is royal correspondence, correspondence with cabinet colleagues, material relating to cabinet matters and to domestic and foreign business. The papers are more fragmentary than those for the years as Foreign Secretary, with a notable absence of general correspondence. The most probable reason for this is that Palmerston's death in office involved a hasty sorting of papers and considerable destruction.

Other papers include correspondence of Sir William Temple, brother of the third Viscount Palmerston, diplomat, c.1796-1856; and correspondence of Frederick Lamb, third Viscount Melbourne and Emily, Lady Palmerston, 1817-65 (BR29-30).

(ii) Cowper Temple and Ashley family

Cowper Temple and Ashley family papers, including correspondence and papers of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount Temple (1811-88), including his papers as private secretary to Lord Melbourne and as First Commissioner of Works, 1860-6, and private correspondence and notebooks, c.1820-91, the correspondence of his wife, Georgiana, 1837-1911, and papers on the Broadlands conferences on the higher life, mystic and spiritual matters (BR43-5, 47-58); correspondence and papers of Anthony Ashley Cooper, seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, social reformer, 1829-85 (BR35-7), manuscript commentary on the Book of Isaiah (BR38), diaries and journals, 1825-85 (SHA/PD/1-14); papers of Anthony Evelyn Melbourne Ashley (1836-1907), including correspondence, 1849-1907, and diaries, 1860-1904; papers of W.W.Ashley, Baron Mount Temple (1867-1939), including political and private correspondence, 1898-1938, papers as Minister for Transport, 1924-9, and papers relating to the Anti-Socialist and Anti-Communist Union, Comrades of the Great War and the Anglo- German Fellowship (BR70-93; MB1/W).

(iii) Mountbatten family

Mountbatten family papers, a total of approximately 250,000 papers and 50,000 photographs, including the papers of Edwina Mountbatten (n‚e Ashley), later Countess Mountbatten of Burma, 1923-60, with papers as Vicereine of India, 1947, 907 files and 68 photograph albums (MB1/P-R, MB2/K-M); papers of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, c.1900-79, covering his service in command of Combined Operations during World War II, including material on the Dieppe Raid; as Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia Command, 1943-6, dealing with the Burma campaign, the actions culminating in the Japanese surrender in September 1945 and with the post-war settlement in the British, Dutch and French colonies in South East Asia; as the last Viceroy and first post- independence Governor General of India, 1947-8; and Lord Mountbatten's naval career in the Mediterranean and as Fourth Sea Lord, and his subsequent appointments as First Sea Lord, 1955-9 and as Chief of the UK Defence Staff from 1959-65, c.4,000 files (MB1/A-O), listed in L.M.Mitchell, K.J.Sampson and C.M.Woolgar A summary catalogue of the papers of Earl Mountbatten of Burma (University of Southampton Library, Occasional Paper 9; 1991). Selections from the documents for 1947 have been published in volumes 7 to 12 of Constitutional relations between Britain and India: the transfer of power 1942-7 ed. N.Mansergh (12 vols., London, 1970-83).

Some 30,000 photographs form sections MB2 and MB3.

Within Lord Mountbatten's papers are separate collections relating to HMS Kelly (MB1/B1-3), the papers of Wing Commander the Marchese de Casa Maury, Senior Intelligence Officer, Combined Operations Headquarters (MB1/B25-7), and copies of the papers (with some original material) of Vice Admiral J.Hughes-Hallet (MB1/B32-47).

Other sections of the archive include papers for the German branch of the Mountbatten family: closely related material is in the State Archives of Hesse at Darmstadt: Hessisches Staatsarchiv und Stadarchiv Darmstadt. Ubersicht uber die Bestande ed. A.Eckhardt, C.H.Hoferichter, H.G.Ruppel et al. (Darmstadter Archivschriften 1; 1975) p. 38.; and E.G.Franz  Hessisches Staatsarchiv Darmstadt Grossherzogliches Haus- und Familienarchiv: Abt. D 25 Battenberg-Archiv (Nachlass Prinz Alexander von Hessen) (Darmstadt, 1993). Papers at Southampton include material for Prince Alexander of Hesse (1823-88); Princess Julie of Battenberg (1825-95); Prince Alexander I of Bulgaria (1857-93); and Prince Henry Maurice of Battenberg (1858-96) (MB1/U); naval and personal correspondence and papers of Louis Alexander Mountbatten, first Marquis of Milford Haven (Prince Louis of Battenberg) (1854-1921), including papers as First Sea Lord (MB1/T), with some materials relating to the Russian imperial family; papers of his wife, Victoria (MB11); and papers of Nona Kerr (Mrs Richard Crichton), her lady-in-waiting (MB12); and correspondence of Marie Alexandrovna, Duchess of Edinburgh, with Countess Alexandrine Tolstoy, 1874-97 (MB1/U24). Other Milford Haven family papers include those of George Mountbatten, second Marquis of Milford Haven (1892-1938).

(iv) Cassel papers

Cassel papers: correspondence and papers of Countess Mountbatten's grandfather, Sir Ernest Joseph Cassel (1852-1921), including correspondence with King Edward VII and King George V, together with the archives of the Cassel Memorial Trust (MB1/X).

(v) Estate papers

Estate papers include title deeds for properties in Devon and Dorset, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, London and Middlesex, Northamptonshire, Somerset and Surrey, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Yorkshire, principally seventeenth to nineteenth centuries; manorial records for Romsey Infra, 1669-1844; maps of Hampshire estates, eighteenth to twentieth centuries; title deeds for Irish estates, with rentals, maps and other estate papers for County Sligo and Dublin, 1620 to early twentieth century; papers relating to the Welsh Slate Company, 1864-87.

(vi) Additional collections

Additional collections that now form a part of the Broadlands archives include approximately 550 items of correspondence between Lord John Russell (later first Earl Russell) and William Lamb, second Viscount Melbourne, 1834-43; an extensive collection of mid-nineteenth century valentines (BR46); and correspondence from the first Marquis of Milford Haven received by the French admiral, the Marquis de Balincourt, 1895-1921.


 To search the collections please go to the Epexio Archive Catalogue

Archive Catalogue

Search the Epexio Archive Catalogue for detailed catalogue descriptions of material within the Broadlands Archives

Broadlands Archives Digitisation

Go to the Broadlands Archives Digitisation Project to find out more and to access digitised material from the Broadlands Archives, including private correspondence and diaries of Lord and Lady Mountbatten

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