Collecting the Election

Collections - Posted 19-04-2021

When the people of Wales elect a new Senedd on May 6th, a period of frantic political campaigning will come to an end. But while the politicians have been campaigning, the Welsh Poltical Archive has been quietly working to make a record of the campaign for researchers of the future. Staff at the National Library of Wales are recording party election broadcasts and the leaders’ debates on the TV and we’re also making copies of the websites and Twitter feeds of the political parties and individual candidates.

Despite the Covid-19 restrictions and the general move towards online campaigning the leaflet or election address is still one of the most important methods which candidates use to reach electors and many will be sent out during the campaign. The Library holds a large collection (nearly 200 boxes) of election addresses and other campaigning ephmera and it’s one of my favourite collections. While the oldest material in the collection dates from 1837 most of it is from the 20th century and since 1983 the Welsh Political Archive has been helped by a group of supporters across Wales who collect any election ephemera they receive and send it to us to add to the collection. This means that we have a comprehensive collection from all parties and all parts of Wales.

The network of supporters is at work now helping to ensure that the candidates and their promises in the 2021 Senedd Election are recorded in the collection and I’m looking forward to sorting and cataloguing them all over the summer. However, our supporters aren’t able to collect everything so we’d be really pleased to receive any donations of campaign material you receive, especially from independent or minor party candidates or from the constituencies of Alyn and Deeside, Blaenau Gwent, Cardiff North, Clwyd South, or Ynys Môn. You can send them to The Welsh Political Archive, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, SY23 3BU. Surely that would be better than putting them in the recycling!

Rob Phillips
The Welsh Political Archive


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A blog about the work and collections of the National Library of Wales.

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