Preserving access to papers relating to Lord Palmerston and Mountbatten: the Broadlands Archives campaign

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At the end of last week, the University of Southampton launched a campaign to raise the necessary funds to preserve public access in the UK to hundreds of thousands of papers and photographs relating to Lord Mountbatten and Lord Palmerston. The Broadlands Archives have been on loan to the University’s Hartley Library since 1989, where they were transferred from the home of Lord Romsey. They were inherited by Lord Romsey, Mountbatten's grandson, on Mountbatten's assassination by the IRA off the Irish coast on August 27th, 1979. The University now needs to raise 2.85 million to acquire the Broadlands Archives.

The archives are stored in more than 4,500 boxes and include documents which chart the major political, social, diplomatic and economic events of the 19th and 20th centuries. They include 1,200 letters dealing with foreign affairs and general government business from the Queen to Lord Palmerston (1784-1865), who served as Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and Prime Minister during Queen Victoria’s reign.

There are also 250,000 papers and 50,000 photographs which chart the career of Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900-1979). In particular, they cover his time as Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia Command (SACSEA) from 1943 to 1946, and as the last Viceroy of India in 1947 and 1948 and the first Governor-General of the newly independent Union of India. Correspondence from this time includes letters from Gandhi and there are also papers and photographs of Mountbatten’s wife Edwina, Countess Mountbatten.

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Louise Greeves - 12/8/2009

I'm working with the University of Southampton to help them raise funds for the Archives. I thought that anyone kind enough to donate would be interested to know that, since this article was written, the University now has an online donation area on its website that can be found here: