This site allows you to find a vast number of original documents for your research. From Ghana to Fiji it gives you access to the material, with much more on the decisions of British governments, Labour and Conservative.

It is provided by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London in association with the Stationary Office and the National Archives.

The Project:

The British Documents on the End of Empire Project (BDEEP) was established in 1987 under the auspices of the British Academy and has been based since its inception at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICwS), School of Advanced Study, University of London.

The aim of the project was to publish a series of volumes containing an annotated selection of official documents from the UK National Archives, charting British withdrawal from its colonial territories. Each volume has been edited by a leading scholar in the field of decolonisation and each contains a substantial introduction contextualising the collection.

Despite being of enormous potential value to scholars, educationalists and policy-makers, the volumes are relatively little-known outside the academic community. has been designed to facilitate access to this valuable resource. The volumes contain a wealth of material on issues such as constitutional reform, economic development and foreign relations which remain remarkably relevant to the work of contemporary policy-makers in the UK and across the Commonwealth. They chart signal moments in the tangled histories of empire and nationalism, decolonisation and anti-colonial mobilisation. Pages on the website also highlight key additional materials, contextual resources, and multimedia links relevant to each volume, providing a rich database for use in teaching and research.

The website is maintained at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, and has been established with the support of the Stationary Office and UK National Archives.

The Institute of Commonwealth Studies:

The Institute of Commonwealth Studies, founded in 1949, is the only postgraduate academic institution in the United Kingdom devoted to the study of the Commonwealth.  It is also home to the longest-running interdisciplinary and practice-oriented human rights MA program in the UK. The Institute has a flourishing Human Rights MA and an online MA in refugee protection.

The Institute is a national and international centre of excellence for policy-relevant research, research facilitation and teaching.  As a member of the School of Advanced Study, established in 1994, the Institute works with nine other prestigious postgraduate research institutes to offer academic opportunities across and between a wide range of subject fields in the humanities and social sciences.

The Institute’s Library is an international resource holding more than 190,000 volumes, with particularly impressive Caribbean, Southern African and Australian holdings and over 200 archival collections.

Copyright Information:

Material from The National Archives is reproduced on this website under the Open Government Licence. This allows for the use of BDEEP materials as long as a full attribution and description of licence is provided. Electronic versions of the volumes have been made available with the permission of the volume Editors and The Stationary Office.

Site Index

Volume Index

Series A:

1. Imperial Policy and Colonial Practice, 1925-1945 (in two parts, 1996), edited by SR Ashton and SE Stockwell

2. The Labour Government and the End of Empire, 1945-1951 (in four parts, 1992), edited by Ronald Hyam

3. The Conservative Government and the End of Empire, 1951-1957 (in three parts, 1994), edited by David Goldsworthy

4. The Conservative Government and the End of Empire, 1957-1964 (in two parts, 2000), edited by Ronald Hyam and Wm Roger Louis

5. East of Suez and the Commonwealth, 1964-1971 (in three parts, 2004), edited by SR Ashton and Wm Roger Louis

Series B:

1. Ghana (in two parts, 1992), edited by Richard Rathbone

2. Sri Lanka (in two parts, 1997), edited by KM De Silva

3. Malaya (in three parts, 1995), edited by AJ Stockwell

4. Egypt and the Defence of the Middle East, 1945-1949 (in three parts, 1998), edited by John Kent

5. Sudan (in two parts, 1998), edited by Douglas H Johnson

6. The West Indies (in one part, 1999), edited by SR Ashton and David Killingray

7. Nigeria (in two parts, 2001), edited by Martin Lynn

8. Malaysia (in one part, 2004), edited by AJ Stockwell

9. Central Africa (in two parts, 2005), edited by Philip Murphy

10. Fiji (in one part, 2006), edited by Brij V Lal

11. Malta (in one part, 2006), edited by Simon C Smith

Series C:

1. Records of the Colonial Office, Dominions Office, Commonwealth Relations Office and Commonwealth Office (in one part, 1995), edited by Anne Thurston

2. Records of the Cabinet, Foreign Office, Treasury and Other Records (in one part, 1998), edited by Anne Thurston