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Broadlands Archives campaign launched by the University of Southampton

Published: 
13 November 2009

A campaign to raise funds to secure for the nation hundreds of thousands of papers and photographs relating to Lord Mountbatten and Lord Palmerston has been launched by the University of Southampton.

The University needs to raise £2.85 million to acquire the Broadlands Archives, an outstanding collection of historical documents. Comprising more than 4,500 boxes of documents, the Archives cover major political, diplomatic, social and economic events of the 19th and 20th centuries. A successful fundraising campaign will ensure public access to the collection in the UK.

Among the Archives are correspondence of Lord Palmerston, the Victorian Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister, and approximately 250,000 papers and 50,000 photographs of Earl Mountbatten of Burma. It also includes the diaries of the 19th-century social reformer and philanthropist, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury.

The Broadlands Archives have been on loan to the University's Hartley Library since 1989 and are one of the most significant manuscript collections in its care. Stored in purpose-built facilities, the documents are publicly available and have been used by researchers from around the world.

Professor Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor of the University, says: "The Broadlands Archives unite a series of papers of immense significance for Britain, and especially for an understanding of its government, and foreign and colonial relations. They have a special place here in Hampshire - and at the University of Southampton - because of the strong local links with Lord Palmerston and Lord Mountbatten.

"This premier archive collection belongs at the University of Southampton, where it has been looked after for the past 20 years. A successful fundraising campaign will enable it to remain here as an exceptional resource for all."

Of particular importance within the Archives are papers of the third Viscount Palmerston, who was Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and Prime Minister during Queen Victoria's reign. They include 1,200 letters from the Queen to Lord Palmerston, dealing with foreign affairs and more general government business.

The extensive archive of papers relating to Lord Mountbatten covers the whole of his career but most significantly his time as Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia Command (SACSEA) 1943-6, and in 1947 and 1948 as the last Viceroy of India and the first Governor-General of the newly independent India. Correspondence from this time includes letters from Gandhi. There are also papers and photographs of his wife Edwina, Countess Mountbatten.

The diaries of Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, provide a remarkable insight into social progress in Victorian England. Nicknamed the 'poor man's earl', Lord Shaftesbury championed reform and religious movements, including the protection of child chimney sweeps and shorter working hours for children in factories.

For more information about donations contact Katherine O'Brien, tel: +44 (0)23 8059 6895, email: kaob@soton.ac.uk

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