Fonds GB 0210 EIRITE - Eirene White papers

Identity area

Reference code



Eirene White papers


  • 1859-1999 (accumulated 1928-1999) (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1.49 cubic metres (149 boxes, 1 vol., 1 roll); 2 small boxes (January 2007)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Eirene White was a journalist and civil servant who served as the Labour MP for East Flintshire, 1950-1970, and subsequently became the Baroness White of Rhymney.
She was born at Belfast on 7 November 1909, the daughter of Dr Thomas Jones CH (1870-1955) who was to serve as the distinguished Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet, 1916-1930, rendering loyal service to four successive prime ministers: Lloyd George, Bonar Law, Stanley Baldwin and Ramsay MacDonald.
She was educated at St Paul's Girls' School and then read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Somerville College, Oxford. She travelled widely in Europe and the United States, taking an absorbing interest in housing and the problems of the homeless, and in 1939 she became Welsh Regional Secretary of the Women's Voluntary Service. Subsequently, she was recruited by the Ministry of Labour to assist with the training of workers for the war effort. In 1945 she stood for parliament unsuccessfully for Flintshire in the Labour interest. Thereafter she turned to journalism, representing the Manchester Evening News and the BBC at the House of Commons. Eirene Jones was elected to the Labour Party's National Executive in 1947. In 1948 she married John Cameron White, a fellow lobby correspondent at the Commons. He predeceased her in 1968. There were no children of the marriage.
Finally, in 1950, she entered the House of Commons as Labour MP for East Flintshire, holding on to this highly marginal constituency for twenty years. Very early in her parliamentary career, Eirene White became interested in the law of marriage and divorce. Had Hugh Gaitskell survived, she would probably have been given Cabinet office. When the Labour Party came into government in 1964, she was appointed parliamentary private secretary at the Colonial Office, and in 1966 she became Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Only a year later, Harold Wilson moved her to the rather more mundane Welsh Office where she remained, serving mainly under George Thomas, until she decided to retire from the Commons in 1970. She was also Chairman of the Labour Party, 1968-1969. In 1970 she entered the House of Lords as Baroness White of Rhymney.
Baroness White's energy did not diminish in the Lords. She held a rich array of public offices, many of them in Wales. These included chairman of Coleg Harlech, 1974-1984, and chairman of the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology, 1983-1888. She was also Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, 1979-1989. She died in 1999.

Archival history

Most of Lady White's papers were eventually retained at her London home. Some of her papers, however, found their way to the Department of International Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where they were sorted and listed, whilst a substantial group was left at the House of Lords.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Bequeathed by Lady White in March 2000, together with supplementary groups from the Department of International Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, November 2000, and the House of Lords per Mr D. L. Jones, Librarian, March 2001. In April 2003 a further group was donated by Mrs Mala Murton, West Sussex, Lady White's niece, and yet a further group was donated by Mr Norman Hopkins, Abergavenny in January 2007.; A2000/24, 0200003651

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds comprises letters, 1928-1999, to Lady White, diaries, 1936-1984, papers, 1907-1994, reflecting her career as a Labour politician, papers, 1859-1994, concerning her outside interests and activities, records, 1950-1996, deriving from Lady White's involvement in Welsh political and public life, and material, 1960-1990, concerning her activities in educational matters. There are also family papers, 1892-1992, including some relating to Lady White's father Dr Thomas Jones CH (1870-1955) and to her husband John Cameron White (1911-1968). There is also a substantial group of press cuttings and other printed material, 1919-1997. A further two boxes of papers were received in January 2007; this group remains uncatalogued.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Accruals are unlikely.

System of arrangement

Arranged at NLW into seven sections: personal papers, 1920-1999; political papers, 1907-1994; papers deriving from Lady White's non-political interests and activities, 1859-1994; papers concerning Welsh politics and affairs, 1950-1996; material reflecting Lady White's interests in educational life, 1960-1990; family papers, 1892-1992; and acquired printed material, 1919-1997. Much of the archive arrived at the Library in labelled files; these have been retained. Others were in great disorder and have been sorted and arranged in files at NLW.

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

Copyright in papers written by Lady White owned by National Library of Wales; otherwise, usual copyright laws apply

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes


Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A hard copy of this list is available at NLW and at the Parliamentary Archive, House of Lords, London.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

A substantial group of photographs and snapshots are in NLW, Special Collections, and four cassettes of interviews with Lady White during June and July 1996 are in NLW, The National Screen and Sound Image of Wales, CM 10610-10613. See also series level description F2.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


GEAC system control number


Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

May 2002; updated April 2004.


  • English



The following sources were used in the compilation of the catalogue: Who's Who 2000; The Times, 24 December 1999; The Guardian, 27 December 1999; The Daily Telegraph, 24 December 1999.

Archivist's note

Compiled by J. Graham Jones.

Accession area