In July 1996 the Rt Hon the Lord Owen CH was installed as the Chancellor of the University of Liverpool. At that time his papers were transferred to the University Library. Over a period of two years the papers were sorted and catalogued. They are stored in some 400 boxes and include correspondence, MS notes, memoranda and reports, committee papers, speech transcripts, news cuttings, publications, campaign material, photographs, cartoons, video and cassette recordings. These cover David Owen’s political career from his early Labour Party membership until his resignation from the House of Commons in 1992.
The main body of records date from c.1962-1992, although the collection also contains some earlier material relating to David Owen’s family life and education. The papers are arranged in four groups, broadly reflecting the chronological structure of David Owen’s life and work:
(1) Personal and Family Papers, D 709/1: a small section that includes Correspondence; General papers; Photographs.
(2) Labour Party Papers 1960-1981, D 709/2: covers a wide range of material including correspondence, speech transcripts, articles, memoranda and reports, campaign material, news cuttings, and photographs: Early Labour Party membership: related papers (1962-1966); Labour MP for Plymouth: constituency papers (1966-1981); Papers as Minister for the Navy (1968-1970); Papers as member of Opposition: Shadow Defence spokesman and defence issues (1970-1973); Papers as member of Opposition: Children Bill (1974); Papers as Minister of Health (1974-1976); Papers as Foreign Secretary (1977-1979); Papers as member of Opposition: Shadow Energy spokesman (1979-1981); Speeches: general; Articles: general; Day files; Diaries; David Owen’s publications; Photographs and cartoons; Personal policy papers and general correspondence; News cuttings and publications; Papers on leaving the Labour Party.
(3) SDP Papers 1981-1992, D 709/3: Papers on the formation and launch of the SDP; Committee papers; Policy records; Council and Conference papers; Election and campaign material; Publicity and fund raising records; Regional organisation records; Associated groups and organisations; Parliamentary business papers; Personnel and general administration papers; Papers relating to the SDP/Liberal Alliance; Papers relating to the SDP and Liberal Party merger and the re-establishment of the SDP; SDP MP for Plymouth: constituency papers; General correspondence; Day files; Policy: private and reference papers; Speeches; Articles; David Owen publications; Diaries; Photographs and cartoons; Audio-visual material; SDP newspapers and publications; News cuttings collection; SDP: general and historical reference material; Papers on the winding down of the SDP.
(4) Papers relating to independent organisations, D709/4: Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues; World Security Trust; Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues.
The full finding aid for the David Owen Papers is available through the Archives Catalogue at http://sca.lib.liv.ac.uk/ead/index.html
The majority of materials in the David Owen papers are available for consultation by researchers, but some files are closed or only available with permission from the donor. Researchers visiting Special Collections and Archives are able to take advantage of the Reading Room reference collection and the University Library’s general collections which, taken together, provide a broad range of printed materials that complement subjects covered in the David Owen Papers. Enquiries about access to the David Owen Papers should be directed to Dr Maureen Watry, Head of Special Collections and Archives, Sydney Jones Library, University of Liverpool, PO Box 123, Liverpool L69 3DA; tel: 0151 794 2696; fax: 0151 794 2681; email: email@example.com