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Archive of Frederick James Marquis, 1st Earl of Woolton


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Comprises: personal papers, 1905-1960; official correspondence and papers, 1924-1964; papers concerning business and other interests, 1906-1964; and general correspondence and papers, 1904-1964.


  • Creation: 1904-1964


10.12 Linear metres (92 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Woolton 1, fols. 1-2]

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Woolton 1-33, 40-56, 76-93, 100-118

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 11575


Official correspondence and papers, business papers and personal papers, 1904-1964.

Biographical / Historical

Frederick James Marquis (1883-1964), 1st Earl of Woolton, was born in Salford, the only child of a saddler and his wife. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and graduated from Manchester University in 1906 with a degree in science. He worked as a maths teacher in Burnley but was interested in poverty and social mobility. In 1909 he was appointed Warden of the David Lewis Hotel and Club Association in Liverpool, a project established by Lewis's in the docklands to provide cheap beds and recreation for the poor. This role led to his appointment as Warden of the Liverpool University Settlement. His output of scholarly articles on poverty led to his appointment in 1910 as research fellow in economics at the University of Manchester.

He was deemed unfit for military service in the First World War and was drafted by Whitehall to work as an economist and later Controller of Leather at the War Office. In 1920 he joined the firm of Lewis's and ultimately became Chairman and Senior Managing Director of Lewis's Investment Trust Ltd. and its subsidiary companies. He was a member of the British Industries Fairs Publicity Committee, 1935-1939, the Board of Trade's Council for Art and Industry, 1936-1939, and the Committee of Inquiry into Civil Aviation, 1937-1938.

At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 Lord Woolton became Director-General of Equipment and Stores in the Ministry of Supply. In Churchill's Government he served as (non-party) Minister of Food, 1940-1943 and Minister of Reconstruction, 1943-1945. He was Lord President of the Council in the Caretaker Government, May to July 1945. Following the victory of the Labour Party in the General Election of 1945 Churchill appointed Lord Woolton Chairman of the Conservative Party, although he was not a member until 1946. He retired from the post in 1955.

In the Conservative Government of 1951-1955 Lord Woolton held office as Lord President of the Council, 1951-1952, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, 1952-1955 and Minister of Materials, 1953-1954. He was one of Churchill's departmental 'Overlords' in the Cabinet.

Lord Woolton was Chancellor of Manchester University, 1944-1964, Chairman of the Executive Committee, British Red Cross Society, 1947-1962 and actively involved with several professional and voluntary organisations. He was knighted in 1935, created a Baron in 1939, a Viscount in 1953, and an Earl in 1956.

He married Maud Smith in 1912 and they had a son and a daughter. After her death in 1961, he married Dr Margaret Eluned Thomas in 1962.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were given to the Bodleian Library by Lady Forres, widow of the 2nd Earl of Woolton, in 1973, and were referenced MSS. Woolton 1-118. Some family papers (MSS. Woolton 34-39, 57-75, 94-99) were subsequently returned to Lady Forres.

Separated Materials

Lord Woolton's seals and car pennants as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster are also held by the Bodleian Library but are kept with Library Records, miscellaneous objects.

Catalogue of the archive of Frederick James Marquis, 1st Earl of Woolton, 1904-1964
Helen Langley
1978, EAD version 2001
Language of description
Script of description
Conversion to EAD supported by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom