The Churchill Archives Centre was purpose-built in 1973 to house Sir Winston Churchill's Papers - some three thousand boxes of letters and documents ranging from his first childhood letters, via his great war-time speeches, to the writings which earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature. They form an incomparable documentary treasure trove. These original documents remain at the Archives Centre, but now also form the basis of the Churchill Archive Online, a digital edition of Sir Winston’s personal papers published by Bloomsbury.
The Churchill Papers served as the inspiration and the starting-point for a larger endeavour - the creation of a wide-ranging archive of the Churchill era and after, covering those fields of public life in which Sir Winston played a personal role or took a personal interest. Today the Centre holds the papers of almost six hundred important figures and the number is still growing. Contemporaries of Winston Churchill, including friends and family, sit alongside major political, military and scientific figures like Margaret Thatcher, Ernest Bevin, John Major, Neil Kinnock, Admiral Ramsay, Field Marshal Slim, Frank Whittle and Rosalind Franklin.
The Archives Centre is situated within the grounds of Churchill College, Cambridge
, itself the National and Commonwealth Memorial to Sir Winston. It includes air-conditioned reading rooms, a strong room with elaborate security systems, and a sophisticated conservation laboratory and a sorting room in which raw history is put into boxes. The mission of the Centre is to preserve and provide access to the unique materials in its care.