Oswald Mosley papers: Nicholas Mosley deposit

This record is held by University of Birmingham: Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections

Details of Oswald Mosley papers: Nicholas Mosley deposit
Title: Oswald Mosley papers: Nicholas Mosley deposit
Reference: XOMN

Personal and political papers of Oswald Mosley, and of his first wife, Cynthia Mosley (nee Curzon); personal papers of his mother, Katherine Maud Mosley. The papers consist of correspondence; press cuttings; draft and published writings; policy documents and reports relating to Oswald Mosley's political movements the New Party and the British Union of Fascists; photographs; diaries; notebooks; financial papers. There is also some material created by Nicholas Mosley when he was writing his biography of his parents. This consists of research notes and correspondence. The majority of the papers date from the 1920s and 1930s, although there is also material relating to Oswald Mosley, particularly correspondence and drafts of books he published, that dates from the post-war period. There is very little material dating from the 1939-1945 period. This is likely to be because Oswald Mosley was imprisoned under Defence of the Realm Regulations for most of this time. Katherine Maud Mosley's diaries date from the final years of the nineteenth century, and there is some correspondence in Cynthia Mosley's papers that dates from the 1914-1918 war. Nicholas Mosley's research papers date from the early 1980s. Full details of the scope and content of the papers in the collection is provided in the descriptions at sub-fonds level.

Date: 1896-1983
Held by: University of Birmingham: Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections, not available at The National Archives

The collection has been arranged into three sub-fonds, reflecting the fact that it comprises the papers of three individuals. A: Papers of Cynthia Mosley; B: Papers of Oswald Mosley; C: Papers of Maud Mosley.

Language: English
Extent: 19 boxes
Custodial history:

Cynthia Mosley's papers were kept by Oswald Mosley after her death. According to Nicholas Mosley's 1982 biography of his parents, Oswald Mosley acquired the papers of his mother, Maud Mosley, from his younger brother, John, after her death, but destroyed most of her diaries, with the exception of those covering the first four years of his life and pages from the day of her birthday from each of the diaries he destroyed. These, together with Cynthia Mosley's papers and some of his own personal and political papers, were transferred into the possession of his son, Nicholas Mosley, shortly before Oswald Mosley's death in 1980. It is apparent that Nicholas Mosley used these papers as material for the first volume of his biography of his parents, 'The Rules of the Game', published in 1982. Papers relating to Oswald Mosley then in the possession of his stepmother, Diana Mosley, were also placed at his disposal for the duration of his work. The remainder of Oswald Mosley's personal papers remained in the possession of Diana Mosley until 1994, when two separate deposit agreements were made with the University of Birmingham. Nicholas Mosley deposited the papers in his possession of Cynthia Mosley, Oswald Mosley and Maud Mosley. Diana Mosley deposited the personal papers of Oswald Mosley still in her possession, together with papers created by the Union Movement secretariat. In an interview with the Guardian in 1998, Nicholas Mosley stated that he had received a large quantity of his mother's letters, including substantial correspondence between her and his father. Extracts from many of these are reproduced in his biography to illustrate the nature of their relationship, but these remain in the possession of Nicholas Mosley. Papers of Cynthia Mosley appear to have been arranged to some extent by Cynthia, in particular some of the correspondence from school friends, and correspondence relating to her political career. Much of her correspondence appears to have been later partially sorted by Nicholas Mosley in the process of his research for his 1982 biography of his parents. Many letters were grouped into bundles labelled in Nicholas Mosley's handwriting, and he also made attempts to identify some of the correspondents with pencilled comments. In particular, letters in the series of correspondence sorted by subject may have been arranged by Nicholas, or he may have maintained the arrangement first made by Cynthia. No particular system of arrangement appears to have been used by Oswald Mosley with his own papers. This is in contrast to the definite system of arrangement that appears to have existed for files of material kept by Mosley's Union Movement secretariat. These secretariat papers are held in the Diana Mosley deposit. It has been difficult to get an idea of original order because of the complicated custodial history of Mosley's papers. He moved home frequently, and his papers had become scattered, while others have probably been lost or destroyed. Nicholas Mosley removed some of his father's papers from storage in Ireland in order to carry out research, while other papers remained in the possession of Diana Mosley in storage in Ireland and France. The papers taken by Nicholas Mosley, and deposited by him, were arranged into sections based either on the type of material or on the subject. With permission of the depositor, some items were catalogued as part of the Diana Mosley deposit where it was appropriate to restore original provenance. Information about this is retained on the deposit file.

Selection and destruction information:

Weeded for duplicates


No further accruals expected

Administrative History:

Full biographical histories of Oswald Mosley, Cynthia Mosley and Katherine Maud Mosley are included at sub-fonds level

Unpublished Finding Aids:
  • This catalogue is also available on the University of Birmingham's Online Archive Catalogue, and a collection level description is available on the Archives Hub. A paper copy is also available for consultation in the Special Collections Department reading room, together with supplementary finding aids.

  • British Union of Fascists
Creator Names:
  • Mosley, Cynthia, 1898-1933
  • Mosley, Katherine Maud, 1874-1950
  • Mosley, Nicholas, 1923-
  • Mosley, Sir Oswald Ernald, 1896-1980, politician
Immediate Source Of Acquisition:
  • Deposited with the Special Collections Department, University of Birmingham Information Services, by Lord Ravensdale in 1994

Former Reference Department: OMN
Conditions of access:

Some material in this collection is subject to conditional access, and one item is closed. This is indicated at file level.

Related Material:
  • OMD: Oswald Mosley Papers: Diana Mosley deposit; MS124: Papers of Jeffrey Hamm; MS196: copies of Action and other Union Movement publications

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