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Conservative Party Archive: National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations

 Collection

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Papers of the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations, 1867-2018, including papers relating to the annual Party Conference.

Dates

  • 1867-2018

Extent

367 shelfmarks

Language of Materials

English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries, Conservative Party Archive [followed by shelfmark, e.g. NUA 1/1/1].
Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

NUA 1-8

Collection ID (for staff)

CPA NUA

Overview

Papers of the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations, 1867-2018, including papers relating to the annual Party Conference.

Biographical / Historical

The National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations (NUA) was established in 1867. Originally known as the National Union of Conservative and Constitutional Associations, it changed its name to the National Unionist Association of Conservative and Liberal-Unionist Organisations following the fusion of the Conservatives with the Liberal Unionists in 1912. In October 1924, it changed its name again to the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations.

It was designed originally as a means of organising the newly enfranchised working-class men in the boroughs, and was just one of a number of similar organisations and movements. Initially overshadowed by the Metropolitan Conservative Alliance and the Central Conservative Registration Association, the National Union was intended to be a federation of the many new Conservative Working Men’s Associations which had sprung up since the franchise was extended by the 1867 Reform Act. It subsequently benefited greatly from being accommodated within Conservative Central Office in 1872, and the two thereafter worked closely together.

The number of Conservative associations affiliated to the National Union grew rapidly, from 289 in 1871 to 472 in 1875, and it eventually became a federation of all constituency associations, bringing together the rank and file of the Party in a national organisation. Representatives of the constituencies met at area and national level, and a system of advisory committees was used to convey grass roots opinion to the Party leadership. The National Union existed to express opinion and support and, as such, could exert a degree of influence on the Leader and over Party policy. It did not, however, possess any mandatory powers. The National Union was responsible for organising the annual Party Conference until 1993 when the responsibility was delegated to Central Office.

Following changes to the structure and organisation of the Party in March 1998, the National Union passed a resolution to suspend its activities. It was succeeded by the National Conservative Convention.

Arrangement

The papers of the NUA are arranged into 8 sections: 1. Rules and standing orders, 1867-1990; 2. Annual Conference, 1867-1999; 3. Central Council, 1899-1995; 4. Executive Committee, 1897-1989; 5. General Purposes Committee, 1940-88; 6. Sub-Committees, 1909-86 ; 7. General Memoranda and Correspondence, 1960; 8. Standing Advisory Committee on Candidates, 1935-93.

Custodial History

The Conservative Party Archive (CPA) was established as a source for academic study at the Bodleian Library in 1978 by an agreement made between the University of Oxford and the Conservative Party, and brought together surviving historic papers of the Party previously held in various locations including Newcastle University Library and the former Conservative Central Office in Smith Square, London. Since 1996, ownership and financial responsibility for the CPA has been vested in the Conservative Party Archive Trust. The CPA preserves the records of all three areas of Party organisation: parliamentary, voluntary and professional. It is recognised by the Conservative Party as the official repository for its historic records and those of affiliated organisations, and receives new material on a regular basis.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Conservative Party Archive.

Related Materials

The papers of the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations form part of the voluntary wing of the Conservative Party. For other papers relating to this aspect of Party organisation, see:
  1. CPA ARE: Area Offices
  2. CPA CCO 1: Conservative Central Office - Constituency Correspondence
  3. CPA NHCA: North Hants. Conservative Association
Title
Conservative Party Archive: National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Emily Tarrant
Date
2004
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Contact:
Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom