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Labour Party Research Department

Administrative/Biographical History

The modern Labour Party Research Department (LPRD) dates from July 1941 and is concerned with post war reconstruction. The memoranda take the form of internal discussion papers. The LPRD undergoes a number of changes during the 1950s & 60s, however its core objective always remained, namely to undertake research, debate, and discuss, issues and problems surrounding any given subject. The LPRD also operated in conjunction with a variety of trade union research departments and some universities.


Research Department Memoranda, 1941-1961.
This is the period of post-war reconstruction and the problems that were faced by the government in 1945, as well as subsequent governments. From the setting up of the Welfare State to the ending of the British Empire, all were debated and addressed in the memos.

Subjects in the first series include:

Housing and Town Planning

Ports and Shipping

Problems of Reconstruction

Transport Sub-Committee



Public Health

Divorce Law Reform

Family Allowances

Comprehensive Schools

International Relations Sub-Committees

Party Funding

Coal and Power Fuel and Power Policy

Following defeat in the 1955 general election an enquiry was launched into party organisation under the chairmanship of Harold Wilson. His recommendations helped to reshape the role of the Research Department, and some of the areas covered are in themselves, regardless of content, pointers to the way in which post-war Britain evolved.

Subjects in the second series include:

Media and Communications

Human Rights

Race Relations

Devolution and Regional Government



Northern Ireland


Inner Cities

Micro Electronics

Law and Order

Prices and Incomes

Taken as a whole, both the Research Department Memoranda and the later Policy Directorate Memoranda number some 2800 documents that cover nearly all subjects of post war social policy.

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