Fonds GB 0210 GMCDNLD - Lord MacDonald of Gwaenysgor Papers

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Lord MacDonald of Gwaenysgor Papers


  • 1837-1990 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

7 large boxes and 1 small box; 0.212 cubic metres.

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Gordon MacDonald was born in Gwaenysgor, Flintshire, Wales, the son of Thomas and Ellen MacDonald. Although brought up in Lancashire where his father worked as a coalminer, he was a Welsh speaker. He left school to work in a collier at age 13 although he later won a scholarship to Ruskin College. In 1913 he married Mary Lewis of Blaenau Ffestiniog. The couple had two sons and one daughter.
He became active in local politics and the Miners' Federation of Great Britain before being elected to Parliament to represent Ince in 1929. He resigned from Parliament in 1942 to take up the post of Regional Controller for the Ministry of Fuel and Power for the Lancashire, Cheshire, and North Wales Region. In January 1946 he was appointed Governor of Newfoundland and Commander in Chief of Newfoundland and its Dependencies, and chairman of the unelected Commission of Government that governed the dominion. He oversaw two referendums in 1948 on the future status of Newfoundland and and led negotiations the terms of Newfoundland's confederation with Canada.
In 1949 he was appointed Paymaster-General and elevated to the House of Lords as Baron Macdonald of Gwaenysgor. In 1950 he lead of the British delegation to the Commonwealth Conference on Economic Aid to Countries of South East Asia held in Sydney, Australia and was a delegate to United Nations General Assembly at Lake Success, New York. He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1951. Following Labour's defeat in 1951 he became active is Welsh civic life as National Governor for Wales of the British Broadcasting Corporation from 1952 to 1960 and chairman of the Broadcasting Council for Wales from 1953 until his death. From 1952 to 1959 he was a member of the Colonial Development Corporation.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Purchased from Bloomsbury Auctions, London (Lot 142) 27 July 2016 and March 2017.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The papers of Gordon MacDonald, 1st Baron MacDonald of Gwaenysgor (1888-1966) comprising correspondence, copies of documents, speeches, transcripts for radio broadcasts, diplomatic dispatches, diaries, photographs and ephemera. They relate mainly to his political career as Labour Member of Parliament for Ince, Regional Controller for the Ministry of Fuel and Power for the Lancashire, Cheshire, and North Wales Region during WW2, Governor of Newfoundland and Paymaster General as well as his political interests in the Labour Party and international affairs and his Christian faith. The papers from his period in Newfoundland deal extensively with the negotiations and referenda related to confederation with Canada as well as the resulting political fallout.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

All papers purchased have been retained. One album and several loose photographs have been transferred to the photograph collection (NLW Photograph Albums 6754 & 6755).


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged into 6 sub-fonds; Personal Papers, UK Politics and Speeches, Newfoundland, Welsh Affairs, Labour Party and International Affairs.

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 set out in information provided when applying for their Readers' Tickets, whereby the reader shall become responsible for compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 in relation to any processing by them of personal data obtained from modern records held at the Library. = Disgwylir i ddarllenwyr sydd am ddefnyddio papurau modern yn Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru gydymffurfio รข Deddf Warchod Data 2018 a Rheoliadau Diogelu Data Cyffredinol 2018 yng nghyd-destun unrhyw brosesu ganddynt o ddata personol a gasglwyd o gofnodion modern sydd ar gadw yn y Llyfrgell. Nodir y manylion yn yr wybodaeth a roddir wrth wneud cais am Docyn Darllen.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright restrictions apply.

Language of material

  • English
  • Welsh

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Preferred citation: Lord MacDonald of Gwaenysgor Papers.


Entry for Lord MacDonald in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography:

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Archivist's note

Compiled by Robert Phillips, March 2022. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description:material in the Lord MacDonald of Gwaneysgor Papers; Dictionary of Welsh Biography website (March 2021), Wikipedia website (March 2021).

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