THE BENN ARCHIVE

INTRODUCTION

The Benn Archives comprise the papers, audio tapes, video cassettes and some artifacts collected by Tony Benn over his lifetime. Apart from a very few documents relating to both grandfathers, (Sir John Benn MP and Daniel Holmes MP) his father, William Wedgwood Benn MP (Lord Stansgate), some of which date back to the end of the nineteenth Century, the main collection begins with personal and political documents from the early 1930's.

The core of this collection and the key to the other material held is the diaries and journals which extend back to the early forties and which since 1963 are virtually unbroken to the present time. The earliest journal is dated 1941 in manuscript. From 1955, the diaries are mostly in typescript, having been dictated to secretaries contemporaneously.

From 1966, the diaries were dictated direct on to audio-cassettes and have been transcribed. The whole diary collection to 2002 constitutes approximately 18 million words.

Tony Benn continues to dictate his diary on to cassette but they have not been transcribed beyond 2002. With the development of CD technology and scanning, it has been possible to transfer the most of the unedited, uncorrected diary since 1963 on to CD-ROM (the CD-ROM currently ends in 1987).

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