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National Library of Wales
Morris, J, papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 JOHNMOR

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: John Morris Papers

Short Title: Morris, J, papers

Creation date(s): 1943-1997

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 1.299 cubic metres (111 boxes).

Name of creator(s): John Morris, Baron Morris of Aberavon.


Administrative/Biographical history: John Morris, by now the Baron Morris of Aberavon, was born on 5 November 1931 at Capel Bangor near Aberystwyth, Ceredigion. He was the Labour Member of Parliament for the Aberavon division of Glamorgan from 1959 until his retirement from the House of Commons in 2001 and he served as the Secretary of State for Wales under Prime Ministers Harold Wilson and James Callaghan from 1974 to 1979. He was educated at Ardwyn School, Aberystwyth, the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, where he graduated in law, and at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Morris was a barrister and was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in 1954. He took silk (QC) in 1973 and was made a Bencher of Gray's Inn in 1984. Between 1982 and 1997 he served as a Recorder of the Crown Court. When he retired from the Commons in 2001, he was the longest serving of all the Welsh MPs - forty two years in the House of Commons. Aberavon was an especially safe Labour seat and was easily retained by Dr Hywel Francis in 2001 and subsequently. John Morris served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Power and the Ministry of Transport, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, Secretary of State for Wales between 5 March 1974 and 4 May 1979 and returned to Government as the Attorney General for England and Wales and Northern Ireland between 1997 and 1999. Consequently John Morris was one of a very small group of Labour MPs who bridged the transition from 'Old Labour', the age of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, to 'New Labour' and the age of Tony Blair. He was created a life peer as Baron Morris of Aberavon in the County of West Glamorgan and of Ceredigion iin 2001, and now plays a prominent role in the proceedings of the House of Lords. He was created a Knight of the Order of the Garter in 2003. Lord Morris of Aberavon has been Chancellor of the University of Glamorgan since 2002. He is also President of the London Welsh Trust and a member of the Council of the Prince of Wales Trust (Wales).


Scope and content/abstract: Comprises letters, 1957-1997, to John Morris, mainly of political interest. Many of the letters are from John Morris's Aberavon constituents. In some cases there are copies of his replies and/or drafts of his replies, prepared to be typed up by a secretary. The letters cover a wide range of subjects, mainly governmental affairs and the work of various governmental ministries and departments, above all the Welsh Office. Many letters concern the Labour Party, its various committees and its internal affairs. Many of the letters are from constituents who make enquiries and refer problems and difficulties to their Member of Parliament. Some also concern the framing and implementation of various pieces of legislation. There are also many subject files, 1951-1995, divided into British subjects, Welsh affairs, many of these concerning devolution, and constituency matters. The subject files relating to British politics nationally include material on a wide range of subjects including defence, disarmament, education, the EEC, parliamentary elections, the environment, foreign affairs, housing, the Labour Party, leasehold reform, local government, pensions, the steel industry, transport, and specific pieces of parliamentary legislation. The files on Welsh affairs include material on the Welsh Office, the Labour Party Wales, the Crowther/Kilbrandon Commission and devolution, the Development Corporation for Wales, and the Welsh language. Thirdly, there is a group of printed, typescript and manuscript materials and diaries, 1943-1991.


Language/scripts of material: English, Welsh.

System of arrangement: Arranged into three groups: correspondence files, subject files, and printed, typescript and manuscript materials and diaries. To a considerable extent, the original files have been retained.

Conditions governing access: Some files are closed for fifty years from the date of each individual file. Details are given at the appropriate file level descriptions.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids:


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: Duplicate copies of leaflets and pamphlets, issues of magazines and periodicals, issues of Hansard and parliamentary papers within series C1, bills and receipts, financial correspondence, a Christmas card list and Christmas cards, invitations and admission tickets, have been disposed (Appraisal Form JGJ/2010/2).

Accruals: Accruals are likely.

Archival history: The papers were accumulated by John Morris during the course of his political career and in public life.

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited by John Morris in 1993, 1995 and 1997. One group (now series A3) donated by him in February 2009. All of the papers were converted into a donation in November 2008.


Related material: Labour Party Wales archives.


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by J. Graham Jones. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Wikipedia; Dod's Parliamentary Companion; Who's Who; material in the John Morris Papers.

Rules or conventions: Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH.

Date(s) of descriptions: March 2010, revised May 2011.

Aberavon (Wales: parliamentary constituency) | Politics and government | 20th century
Great Britain | Politics and government | 20th century
Labour Party (Great Britain) | Records and correspondence
Labour Party (Great Britain) | Wales | Records and correspondence
Labour Party Wales
Labour Party Wales | Records and correspondence
Morris, John | 1931- | Archives
Wales | Politics and government | 20th century

Personal names
Morris , John

Corporate names
Labour Party (Great Britain)
Labour Party Wales


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