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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleRecords of The 300 Group
Ref No5THG
Box Fetch NoBoxes 1-14; PC6.6; Archive Textile Box 23
Extent14.25 A boxes (0.25 A box uncatalogued); 3 OS items
Admin Biographical HistoryThe 300 Group (1980-c.2002) was established in 1980 by parliamentary researcher Lesley Abdela as a national, apolitical, voluntary organisation to campaign for more women into Parliament, European Parliament, Local Government and public life. Membership was open to anyone aged 15 or over who agreed with its aims, namely: 1) to work towards equal representation of women in Parliament, 2) to encourage women to seek and hold public office and 3) to encourage women to participate in decision making processes at all levels. In order to achieve this, its objectives were defined as a) to provide regular training, such as 'political schools' for aspiring councillors, MPs and MEPs and skills and policy training supplied by 300 Group trainers, in all the skills essential to achieving success in public life, b) to set up regional branches throughout the United Kingdom, c) to generate a supportive network of women through political receptions and other social events etc, and d) to create a climate of opinion which regards as natural the participation of women in public life.

In addition to the national group and its programmes of development and networking events, local groups or branches were also formed with their own programmes of training, seminars and speakers. The group's activities were funded through members' subscription, large funding raising events - most prominently the annual Lady Astor Dinner, and profits from workshops. Major sponsors included British Telecom and The Joseph Rowntree Social Service Trust Ltd.

A National Executive Committee was elected annually by the membership. There were also sub-committees which organised events, training, fundraising and the production of a newsletter. National policy decisions were made by a Board of Directors elected by members who in turn annually appointed a Chair, Vice Chair and Finance Director as well as a Company Secretary. Male and female MPs could become Friends of the 300 Group. A separate Educational Trust was founded in 1988, with the aim of focusing the group's work in schools and universities.
Lack of funding caused the group to decline in the 1990s. The 300 Group seems to have disbanded around 2002.
Custodial HistoryThe majority of the papers were deposited in 1995 by The 300 Group. A second accrual, 5THG/H, was gifted by Tim Symonds, partner of Lesley Abdela, in 2007. A third accrual was donated in 2010 by Wendy Stokes.
DescriptionThe archive consists of minutes, correspondence, working papers, membership papers, press cuttings, photographs and publications.
The majority of the material in the collection dates from c. 1985-c.1990. Some earlier material, collected separately by TWL and the National Federation of Women's Institutes is located in Series I.

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Related MaterialThe Women's Library Printed Collections holds publications by The 300 Group, including 'Noticeboard', a regular newsletter circulated to members and 'The 300 Group News', a more substantial magazine.

The Women's Library has collections on the women's political campaign groups of the 1980s and 1990s. Of particular interest to those using 5THG are: 5SPG Records of the Six Point Group; 7ELH Papers of Elspeth Howe; 5FWI Records of the National Federation of Women's Institutes, specifically 5FWI/A/3/011, which relates to the joint Women in Public Life project; 8ODH/02/01/07 Oral history recording with Barbara Castle which mentions The 300 Group.

More information about Lesley Abdela, founder of The 300 Group, can be found at the following website:
Related Record5SPG
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThis collection is partially available for research. The catalogued portion of the collection is available for research. Uncatalogued archives are not usually available for general consultation, but it may be possible to provide some level of access by prior arrangement.
Former Reference NumberTH344 - TH354;
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