A group of political figures in the 1970s posing outside 10 Downing Street prior to delivering a petition against the Common Market.

Britain and Europe

"Brexit means Brexit" - Theresa May, 2016

We have a unique archive of primary research material covering all aspects of the debate around Britain and the European Union. Daniel Payne shares the highlights.

Think tanks and campaign groups

Ideas of a federated Europe began to escalate around the time of the Second World War with the establishment of organisations exploring what a post-war Europe should look like. These include:   

Britain in Europe campaigners
Campaigners for the group Britain in Europe, 1970s.


Referendums were held in 1975 and 2016 on Britain’s continued membership of the European Economic Community (EEC)/European Union (EU). We hold a variety of campaigning literature from both sides of the referendum debates:

Referendum posters from 1975
Leaflets from the 1975 referendum campaign. 


Since the Library was founded we have collected the papers of various key political figures and those influencing the public debate:

Leaflet from the 2016 referendum.
 Leaflet from the 2016 referendum campaign. 

How to search 

This is just a snapshot of the material we hold that covers this subject. You can find these items and many more by using the following search tools: 

How to access

Most of the material highlighted here is part of our special collections, which are open to all but must be consulted in our reading room. Find out how to book your place and order material on our access archives and special collections page. 

Further help

If you need specific help with any of the collections mentioned here get in touch with our Curator for Politics and International Relations, Daniel Payne.

Find out more