Fonds GB 0210 JOHNMOR - John Morris Papers,

Identity area

Reference code



John Morris Papers,


  • 1943-1997 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

111 boxes; 1.299 cubic metres; 8 large boxes (August 2014); 1 small box (August 2015)

Context area

Name of creator

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).

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited by John Morris in 1993, 1995 and 1997. One group (now series A3) donated by him in February 2009. An additional file was donated February 2013. A further eight large boxes were donated August 2014; 1993, 1995, 1997, 2009, 2014 and 2015

Content and structure area

Scope and content

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. A further file, being Lord Morris's earliest drafts of the chapter on Kosovo (chapter 21), for inclusion in his book 'Fifty Years in Politics and the Law', published in 2011, was received in Februay 2013. This file is under Embargo during the lifetime of the donor. Further donations of material were made in Augist 2015 and August 2015. These remain uncatalogued although photographs have been transferred to photo albums and videocasettes, sound cassettes and DVDs have been transferred to the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: 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 are likely.

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 of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their Readers' Tickets.

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.

Language of material

  • English
  • Welsh

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, Welsh.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


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 NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

March 2010, revised May 2011.


  • English



Archivist's note

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

Accession area