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Welsh Political Archive

Brief History

The campaign for a national library for Wales began in 1873. A committee was set up to collect Welsh material and house it at the University College in Aberystwyth.

Leading Welsh people and Members of Parliament worked hard to establish a National Library and a National Museum. In 1905 the government promised money in its Budget, and the Privy Council appointed a committee to decide on the location of the two institutions. Aberystwyth was selected as the location of the Library partly because a collection was already available in the College. Sir John Williams, physician and book collector, had also said he would present his collection to the Library if it were established in Aberystwyth. Cardiff was selected as the location of the National Museum.

Both the Library and Museum were established by Royal Charter on the same day, 19 March 1907. The building on Penglais Hill above the town of Aberystwyth was begun in 1911, and was first occupied in 1916. The library became a legal deposit library in 1911
The Welsh Political Archive was established in 1983. Although the Library was home to a number of important political collections, prior to that date the Archive enabled proactive collecting and promotion of Welsh political archives.

In addition to collecting and promoting collections for study, the Welsh Political Archive also publishes an annual newsletter, Maniffesto which highlights recent acquisitions, work on the collections, publications and books ( The Archive also hosts an annual lecture on the first Friday in November ( and provides material for exhibitions in the Library.
The work of the Archive is supported by an advisory committee including representatives from the major political parties, academics, the media and civic society.


The Archive is home to a number of significant collections relating to Labour history including;
Members of Parliament, Lords and Assembly Members
• Viscount Tonypandy
• D Emlyn Thomas
• Baron Cledwyn of Penrhos
• Leo Abse
• James Griffiths
• Huw T Edwards
• Lord Goronwy Roberts
• Rhodri Morgan
• Peter Hain
• John Morris
• Ted Rowlands
• Lord MacDonald of Gwaenysgor

Institutional Archives
• Labour Party Wales
• Local Labour Party of Brecon and Radnor, Ebbw Vale, and Caerphilly
• Wales TUC

Election Material
• Leaflets, posters, letters from each constituency for Parliamentary and Assembly Elections since 1983
• Archives websites of candidates, MPs, Assembly Members, parties and pressure groups

Contact Details

Tel : 01970632800
Web :
Link for OPAC :

Opening Times

Users will need to register for a reader’s ticket (\\).

Manuscript and archival material is consulted in the South Reading Room.

Opening hours are:
Monday – Friday 9:30 – 18:00
Saturday 9:30 – 17:00 (Material must be ordered by 16.30 on Friday)


Free admission.


For details about how to get to the National Library of Wales: