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Correspondence, papers, cuttings and photographs of David Steel, Baron Steel of Aikwood, mostly relating to his political career.

Identifier: Acc.13477/1-278

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises school papers, 1943-1959, and material relating to his time at Edinburgh University, 1957-1962; files relating to elections, 1961-circa 1990s; political papers, 1954-1981, mainly concerning constituency politics; manuscript diary of the Lib-Lab Pact, 1977-1978; files relating to his involvement in the Scottish Constitutional Convention, 1988-1998, including minutes of meetings and related correspondence; files relating to Scottish politics, 1992-1999, including correspondence, memoranda and reports; files relating to Scottish Parliament Elections, 1997-1999, comprising correspondence, reports, addresses, briefing papers and some related newspaper cuttings; diaries of appointments, 1959-2012, some of these have been closed for Data Protection reasons; letters to and from David Steel concerning his Knighthood, 1989-1990; papers and correspondence relating to his appointment as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 1998-2003, including correspondence, programmes of events, memoranda and lists of guests with some related ephemera; correspondence files relating to membership of various organisations, 1996-1999; personal and family papers, 1959-1990; personal ephemera and memorabilia, 1953-1997; miscellaneous political ephemera, 1895-1992, relating to the Liberal Party and to other political organisations; audio-recordings, 1979-1987; photographs and slides, 1938-1999, mostly relating to his early years, family connections, national and local politics, meetings with foreign dignitaries, visits abroad and his involvement in the Liberal International; cartoons, 1976-1987; newspaper cuttings, 1960-2006; miscellaneous publications, circa 1930s-1970; objects, circa 1960s-2005.


  • Creation: 1895-2012.

Conditions Governing Access

Normal access conditions apply to most files.

Files under 20 years old are closed.

File 35 and items 66 to 86 are restricted for Data Protection reasons.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal reproduction conditions apply, subject to any copyright restrictions.


2.85 Linear metres (29 boxes and some outsize items.)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Most of the material is in good condition. However, some items have been entered into the Conservation Database to be referred to Conservation for repair and treatment.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented, 2014.


Duplicates have been weeded and some items have been returned to the donor.

Post-it notes have been safely removed from the back of several photographs. David Steel’s manuscript annotations have been recorded in the inventory.

Related Materials

Acc.14295 Political speeches of David Steel, Baron Steel of Aikwood.

The main archive of David Steel papers is held at the London School of Economics.

Papers relating to abortion law reform are held at the Wellcome Trust Library.

National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Local Descriptive Rules
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

Archives and Manuscript Division
National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1EJ
0131 623 3700