A large collection composed of manuscript and typed letters, many in original envelopes, photographs, albums, menus and other printed and manuscript ephemera relating to the political careers of Sir Fergus and Lady Joyce Montgomery. Also present are several other objects, including two pieces of ceramic. For a list of the principal contents please see below. Beyond a few minor expected issues such as roughly opened envelopes and the odd crease or tear, the condition of the archive is largely very good, with most of the letters and other paper items clean and bright. There is a little fading to some of the letters/photographs that have been framed and glazed, but otherwise the collection is in excellent order.
An extensive archive providing a fascinating insight into Margaret Thatcher's hugely influential political career, as well as the fortunes of the Conservative Party more broadly, as shown through the letters of a loyal friend and colleague who was close to the 'Iron Lady' from her entrance into Parliament until her final years. Sir Fergus Montgomery (1927-2013) and his wife, Lady Joyce, were staunch allies of Margaret Thatcher, offering wholehearted political and personal support to her efforts to transform both the Conservative Party and the country. Fergus served as a Conservative member of Parliament for three separate periods over more than 30 years (1959-1964, Newcastle upon Tyne East; 1967-February 1974, Brierley Hill; and October 1974-1997, Altrincham and Sale), whilst Joyce worked as a local Conservative councillor, and later served as Deputy Lieutenant and High Sheriff of Greater Manchester. Born in South Shields, County Durham, Fergus, the son of a shopkeeper and a nurse, did not share the public school background of many in the party; one of the many things that he and Thatcher, the grocer's daughter from Grantham, had in common. He quickly found success, however, becoming national chairman of the Young Conservatives in 1957, and two years later entering the Commons as part of the same cohort as Thatcher. Fergus went on to serve as Thatcher's Parliamentary Private Secretary, first during her tenure as Secretary of State for Education (1973-74), and then as Leader of the Opposition (1975-76). Always a supporter, he was also notably one of those who had originally pressed her to stand against Edward Heath for the leadership. Many of the letters in the present archive, all signed as 'Margaret', demonstrate the great fondness the pair had for each other, as well as the seriousness of their political aims, mixing personal thanks for gifts, parties and dinners, with candid discussion of political machinations. Three of the most notable letters convey her thoughts and feelings following her resignation in 1990; commenting on the "cruelties" of politics, she alludes to a painful sense of betrayal, now "etched on one's heart". The letters to the Montgomerys from her successor, John Major, several of which offer frank commentary regarding the state of the party following Major's defeat, demonstrate a similarly personal tone, ending with affectionate sign-offs: "love, as ever, John". Also including items such as a signed photograph of Thatcher's great ally, Ronald Reagan, whose inauguration Montgomery attended, a note from a newly-elected George Bush snr., and letters from fellow Conservatives discussing the party's future post-Thatcher, it provides a significant documentation of the neo-liberal revolution that Thatcher spearheaded, and of her role in shaping this most transformative period in modern political history. Principal contents: Margaret Thatcher signed letters: - Two signed single-sided manuscript letters (one in original envelope), dated 26th February and March 1974, to Joyce Montgomery, concerning her election to Greater Manchester council. - Signed single-sided manuscript letter on Downing Street notepaper, dated 17th January 1982, thanking the Montgomerys for "your enduring [underscored] friendship". Framed and glazed. - Signed double-sided manuscript letter on Downing Street notepaper (in original envelope), dated 15th October 1982: "I just hope we don't get too many problems from those of our own number who want to follow a different line". - Signed three-sided manuscript letter on Chequers notepaper (in original manuscript envelope), dated 29th December 1984, discussing Christmas gifts, Norman Tebbitt and recent parliamentary news. - Signed double-sided manuscript letter on Downing Street notepaper (in original envelope), dated 26th February 1985: "We have such a lot of battles still to fight, and ironically they don't get easier". - Signed four-sided manuscript letter on House of Commons notepaper (in original manuscript envelope), dated 27th December 1985, discussing family matters and upcoming parliamentary and political work, including the proposals for the construction of the Channel Tunnel. - Signed double-sided manuscript Downing Street note-card, dated 30th December 1987, mentioning her upcoming visits to Kenya and Nigeria - "very hot [underscored] probably in more ways than one!". - Signed double-sided manuscript conversational letter on Downing Street notepaper (in original envelope), dated 27th December 1989. - Signed single-sided typed letter on House of Commons notepaper, dated 5th December 1990, commenting on her recent resignation as leader, her approval of her successor, John Major, and hoping that "you will now give him the same magnificent support that you have always given to me". Framed and glazed. - Signed double-sided manuscript letter on House of Commons notepaper, dated 8th December 1990, providing a notably personal insight into her recent resignation as Prime Minister: "It has been a traumatic month - politics has its cruelties. Perhaps the worst thing is that some people who you justifiably expected would support you, didn't do so when the crucial moment came. Now their eyes avoid one's own. But these things are past, although etched on one's heart". - Signed double-sided manuscript letter on House of Commons notepaper (in original envelope), dated 27th December 1990, again following her recent resignation: "What a joy to open a gift from a true [underscored] friend and find that some [underscored] things go on in the same way. There just weren't enough true friends when the time came". She goes on to discuss her hopes that the party will continue her policies and not "discard them for temporary popularity", finishing with a hint that "we shall see and perhaps we can do a little influencing in the right direction". - Signed double-sided manuscript letter on House of Commons notepaper (in original envelope), dated 19th December 1991, discussing the upcoming general election: "The thought of Labour winning is appalling and we must see that they don't". - Signed single-sided manuscript letter on House of Lords notepaper (in original envelope), dated 2nd April 2002: "My doctors have advised me to give up public speaking, but there is still plenty more to do and I shall keep as busy as ever. After all, I am only seventy six years young!". - Signed double-sided manuscript House of Lords note-card, dated 23rd May 2002, discussing "how historians will record our time in office", and commenting on a recently unveiled statue: "it is rather alarming to see a model of oneself nearly twice life size". Margaret Thatcher signed photographs, menus and gift tags: - Printed menu for a dinner held in honour of Margaret Thatcher at the House of Commons on 25th February 1985, signed in ink by Margaret Thatcher and 16 other attendees. Framed and glazed. - Printed menu for a dinner held in honour of Margaret Thatcher at the House of Commons on 18th February 1987. The cover, displaying the House of Commons, signed in ink by Margaret Thatcher. The separate contents signed by 19 other attendees. Framed and glazed with an additional photograph of the dinner. - Printed menu for a dinner in honour of Margaret Thatcher hosted by the 1959 parliamentary intake, signed by Thatcher and 19 other parliamentarians (a little marking to covers, two splash marks affecting Thatcher's signature). - Photograph of Margaret Thatcher, signed and inscribed in ink to the mount: "To Fergus and Joyce / with warmest good wishes - Margaret". Framed and glazed. - Four signed manuscript gift tags from Margaret and Dennis Thatcher (all in Margaret's hand), one still attached to the original wrapping paper. An unusual momento. Items signed by Ronald and Nancy Reagan, John Major and George Bush Sr: - Photograph of Ronald and Nancy Reagan signed in ink to the mount. Framed and glazed. - Signed typed card on presidential White House stationary (in original envelope) from president George Bush Sr. concerning his 1989 election victory: "One of the most thrilling things for us about our new role is the chance to build on strong relationships, and Margaret Thatcher's is one of those". - Signed single-sided typed letter from John Major on Downing Street notepaper, dated 6th December 1990, thanking Fergus Montgomery for inviting him to make his first speech as Prime Minister, which was to the Altringham and Sale Conservative Association. Framed and glazed. - Four signed letters from John Major, two manuscript (one double-sided, the other single-sided, in original manuscript envelopes) and two typed letters (one single-sided, the other two singled-sided sheets on House of Commons stationary), all from the early 2000s. - Signed typed letter on Downing Street stationary from Norma Major, following the 1992 election. Other signed letters: - Signed two-sided manuscript card from Denis Thatcher. - Signed manuscript letter (in original envelope) from Diane Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher's daughter-in-law, prior to her and Mark Thatcher's move to Dallas, Texas. - Four-sided manuscript letter from Sir Bernard Ingham, Thatcher's chief press secretary, dated 10th August 2002, discussing Thatcher's priorities upon assuming government in 1979, her downfall ("who were her assassins - Howe (Brutus) and Heseltine, leading Europhiles"), and bemoaning the current state of the Conservative Party. - Two signed manuscript letters (in original envelopes) and one signed typed letter from Michael Portillo concerning his failed 2001 bid to become leader of the Conservative Party. - Signed typed letter from Lord Cecil Parkinson concerning the award-winning documentary 'Maggie: the First Lady' by Jane Bonham Carter. - Signed typed letter on House of Commons stationary from Iain Duncan Smith, whilst party leader. - Double-sided and another single-sided manuscript letter from George Thomas, 1st Viscount Tonypandy, speaker of the House of Commons, and a signed photograph. - Single-sided typed letter to Fergus Montgomery commiserating an electoral defeat, signed by 12 Conservative political figures. Other items: - Photograph of Margaret Thatcher with the Montgomerys. Framed and glazed. - An invitation from 'The Prime Minister and Mr. Denis Thatcher' to the 1985 Trooping of the Colour. - Two copies of the order of service for the funeral of Denis Thatcher, as well as a printed guest list. - Two draft manuscript letters addressed to the Sunday Times criticising a recent piece on Thatcher, and making an impassioned case for her "goodness and kindness", as experienced by Montgomery. - 13 original press photographs depicting the Montgomery's political career in 1975, with four featuring Margaret Thatcher, one of which depicts her leadership victory, two with Harold Macmillan and another signed by actors June Whitfield and Terry Scott. Captioned in manuscript, framed and glazed. - Large scrapbook of press cuttings charting the early years of Fergus Montgomery's political career. - Photograph album of a Conservative Party fundraising dinner, including 35 photographs of John Major, as well as celebrity supporters. - A group of parliamentary ceremonial dinner menus/invitations. - House of Commons wooden paperweight and perspex car badge/pass. - Limited edition porcelain statue of Margaret Thatcher in her robes of state by Michael Sutty, made to commemorate her peerage in 1992. Number 11 of 250 produced. Thatcher collected porcelain figures of historical figures by Michael Sutty, which she favoured for their accuracy. - Limited edition porcelain plate designed by Tiffany & Co. to commemorate the bicentennial of the United States Congress. - A group of other related letters and emphemera pertaining to the Montgomerys' political activities.
Stock code: 19503