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Archive of the Eighty Club


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The papers of The Eighty Club consist of:

  1. Minute books and papers, 1881-1979
  2. Membership records, 1883-1958
  3. Financial records, 1889-1971
  4. Miscellaneous correspondence and papers, 1904-79
  5. Related papers, consisting of papers of the Union of University Liberal Societies Papers


  • Creation: 1881-1979


5.2 Linear metres (52 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark, e.g. MS. Eng. e. 2000]

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. b. 2000; c. 2000-10; d. 2000-27; e. 2000-10; MS Photogr. a. 2

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 6899


The papers of the Eighty club, a permanent speakers' club formally established in February 1881 and disbanded in 1978.

Biographical / Historical

In the General Election of 1880 the Grey Committee played a prominent role in securing the return of the Liberal Party to power. To build on this success the committee was made into a permanent speakers' club and renamed The 80 Club.

Formally established in February 1881, the activities of the Club were mainly educational and organizational. It provided a forum for debate, establishing close ties with university Liberal Clubs, and despatched speakers and lecturers to university associations, especially during election campaigns.

Propaganda was another sphere of activity. The appearance of the first Circular in 1886 led to the creation of the Publications Committee and its successor, the Liberal Publications Department.

The Club also arranged social functions and visits abroad including an expedition to Hungary in September 1906( see MS. Photogr a. 2).

In its heyday the Club was an important political body, despite lacking premises of its own. But during the 1960s the administration of the Liberal Party was reorganised, with more and more of the work being conducted from the Party's headquarters. The Club continued to hold regular meetings but attempts during 1965-6 to re-establish it as a focal point for radical views were unsuccessful and it fell into decline.

The 80 Club was disbanded in 1978 and its assets were transferred to the Association of Liberal Lawyers. To commemorate the Club the Association organises an annual lecture by a public figure, the first of which was given by Jo Grimond, a former leader of the Liberal Party.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was given to the Library in 1989 by the Association of Liberal Lawyers and catalogued by Sarah Cox Byrne.

Archive of the Eighty Club, 1881-1979
EAD version 2017
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom