Fonds GB 0210 DESLLY - Desmond Donnelly Papers,

Identity area

Reference code



Desmond Donnelly Papers,


  • 1821-1978 (mainly 1941-1974) (accumulated 1941-1978) / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.562 cubic metres (21 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Desmond Louis Donnelly, MP, (1920-74), politician, was born in India. He was educated at the Bembridge School, Isle of Wight, and served in the Royal Air Force during World War Two. After the War, he contested various parliamentary seats, and was elected to the House of Commons as the Labour MP for Pembrokeshire in February 1950. Initially a follower of Aneurin Bevan, he later joined the Gaitskellite camp within the Labour Party. He travelled extensively in the Soviet Union, China and Eastern Europe. He developed an anti-Soviet stance and opposed the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He supported the Common Market. He was critical of the 1964 Labour government, and eventually resigned the Labour whip and was expelled from the Labour Party. In 1967 he set up his own United Democratic Party, whose policies included abolition of the Welfare State, a form of national service and far-reaching changes to the tax system. His new party unsuccessfully contested five seats in the general election of June 1970 and Donnelly was himself defeated in Pembrokeshire. He abandoned his new party, and joined the Conservative Party in 1971. He suffered severe clinical depression during the closing months of his life and was found dead on 4 April 1974. He was a prolific writer and among his works are The March Wind (1959) and Struggle for the World (London: Collins, 1965), and corresponded widely. He owned a notebook belonging to John Wynford Philipps, 1st Viscount St Davids (1860-1938), Liberal MP for Mid-Lanark, 1888-92, and Liberal MP for Pembrokeshire, 1898-1908, containing Pembrokeshire historical material.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited by his widow, Mrs Rosemary Donnelly, Fishguard, 1978.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

General correspondence, 1950-74, to Desmond Donnelly and carbon copies of letters from him, including letters form Dean Acheson, Sir Anthony Eden and Sir Roy Welensky and other prominent British and international political figures; papers relating to various topics including Pembrokeshire politics and general elections, 1916-1968, Donnelly's foreign travels and international affairs, 1949-1972, his publications, 1958-1966, the United Democratic Party, 1969-1970; a scrapbook relating to the British Empire Cricket Team, diary extracts, papers and other personal material, 1941-1974; copies and drafts of articles and speeches by Donnelly, 1949-1973; and a large group of press cuttings, 1921, 1946-1978. There is also a scrapbook belonging to John Wynford Philipps, 1897-1908.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: All records deposited at the National Library of Wales have been retained..


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged into the following: general correspondence, subject files, personalia, articles and speeches, miscellanea, press cuttings.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes


Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Further papers are Birmingham University Information Services, Special Collections Department, AP 23/26; House of Lords Record Office: The Parliamentary Archives, BBK C/119; Welwyn Garden City Central Library, B50; and Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House, MSS Welensky (743/5-6, 744/1).

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title supplied from contents of fonds. Some press cuttings and letters postdate his death whilst he acquired a few items predating his life.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Project identifier


Access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

Description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.;AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

April 2003


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Rhys Jones for the ANW project. The following source was used to compile this description: NLW Schedule of Desmond Donnelly Papers.

Accession area