fonds HALIFAX/F78 - Records of Sir Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax

Original Digital object not accessible

Identity area

Reference code



Records of Sir Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax


  • 1833-1880 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1.65 cubic metres

88 boxes

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax, was born on 20 December 1800, the eldest son of Sir Francis Lindley Wood, 2nd Baronet of Hickleton Hall near Doncaster, and his wife Anne, the daughter of Samuel Buck of New Granges. He was educated at Eton College and Oriel College, Oxford, where his friends included Sir George Grey and Francis Baring, later Lord Northbrook.

Wood was elected Member of Parliament for Great Grimsby in 1826, a seat he held until 1831. In 1829 he married Lady Mary Grey, the niece of his friend Sir Goerge Grey and the daughter of Charles Grey, a Whig politician and 2nd Earl Grey, and his wife Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby. In 1831 he was elected MP for Wareham, and then as MP for the newly created constituency of Halifax the following year.

In 1830 Earl Grey became Prime Minister and Wood was appointed as his personal secretary. This was followed in 1832 by his promotion to joint secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip. Under Grey’s successor, Lord Melbourne, he was made secretary to the Admiralty, a position he held from 1835 until 1839 when he resigned in support of his brother in law Lord Howick.

On 31 December 1846 Wood succeeded to his father’s baronetcy. There followed a number of political offices. Wood was Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1846 to 1852, President of the Board of Control of the English East India Company from 1852 to 1855, First Lord of the Admiralty from 1855 to 1858, and Secretary of State for India from 1859 to 1866.

As President of the Board of Control for the East India Company, Wood laid the ground for the modern education system in India when he sent a despatch to governor-general Lord Dalhousie in 1854 recommending that an education department be set up in every province and universities be established in major cities. The Universities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were founded three years later. As Secretary of State for India he also dealt with the aftermath of the 1857 Indian Rebellion against the rule of the East India Company.

In 1865 he stood down as MP for Halifax and was elected MP for Ripon instead. In 1870 he was made Lord Privy Seal. On 21 February 1866 was created Viscount Halifax of Monk Bretton in the County of York.

Viscount Halifax died on 8 August 1885 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles Lindley Wood, as 2nd Viscount.

Archival history

The papers were deposited with the British Library in 1955, by the Earl of Halifax, where they formed part of the extensive collection of Private Papers (or 'European Manuscripts') of the Oriental and India Office Collections (former reference GB 59 Mss Eur F78). Volumes 1 and 2 of the Board of Control letter books and box 1 of Wood's correspondence as Secretary of State for India were not received by the Library at the time of deposit.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The Wood Collection (former reference: GB 59 Mss Eur F78), representing the papers of Sir Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax, as President of the Board of Control 1853-55, and Secretary of State for India 1859-66 were transferred to the Borthwick Institute for Archives, from the British Library in July 2011.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers of Sir Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax, as President of the Board of Control 1853-56, and Secretary of State for India 1859-66.

Board of Control: letter books, 1853-1856.


Further accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

The collection retains the arrangement adopted by the British Library and echoes its system of referencing. While the collection's former reference of Mss Eur F78 has been amended to HALIFAX/F78, references to series and files at lower descriptive levels have been retained, enabling concordance between the BL and University finding aids.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

The papers are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including the data protection laws.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute, University of York's terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English
  • French
  • Hindi

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

The British Library created a handlist summarising the correspondence between Secretary of State and Viceroy, deriving from this collection and covering the period 1859-1866.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Borthwick Institute, University of York (GB 193): The Hickleton Papers of the earls of Halifax, including the personal correspondence of Sir Charles Wood and his family ( GB 193 HALIFAX). Political journal compiled by Charles Wood at the end of his career (HALIFAX/A8 Literary MSS)Further correspondence of Sir Charles Wood (HALIFAX/A2/43-84) Correspondence of Sir Charles Wood, his wife Lady Mary Wood and the wider family (HALIFAX/A2/101).

British Library (GB 58): Correspondence and papers relating to India, (Mss Eur D 557); Correspondence with Sir George Clarke (Mss Eur D 538); Correspondence with Lord Elgin (Mss Eur F 83); Correspondence with Lord Elphinstone (Mss Eur F87-Mss Eur F89); John Lawrence Collection (Mss Eur F90); Correspondence and papers relating to Admiralty (Add MS 49531-49593); Correspondence with Lord Aberdeen (Add MS 43197-43198); Correspondence with W. E. Gladstone (Add MS 44184-44186); Correspondence with Lord Holland (Add MS 51569); Correspondence with Sir Robert Peel (Add MS 40503-40609); Correspondence with Lord Ripon (Add MS 43529-43531).

Correspondence in other repositories: Bodleian Library, Oxford (letters to Lord Clarendon; correspondence with Lord Kimberley). Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies, Aylesbury (letters to Lord Cottesloe; letters to Duke of Somerset). Gloucestershire Record Office, Gloucester (letters to T. S. Estcourt). Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh (letters to William Gibson-Craig; letters to Earl of Durham). Liverpool Record Office and Local Studies Service (letters to Fourteenth Earl of Derby). London University Library (correspondence with Lord Overstone). Muncaster Castle, Cumbria (correspondence with Lord Seymour). National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh (letters to second Lord Panmure; correspondence with Richard Saunders-Dundas). National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh (Aberdeen MSS; letters to Edward Ellice; Gladstone MSS; correspondence, mainly with Lord Rutherford). National Maritime Museum, London (letters to Sir Alexander Milne). National Register of Archives, private collection (letters to Duke of Argyll). Staffordshire Record Office, Stafford (letters from Sir Charles and Lady Wood to Francis Meynell). The National Archives, Kew (letters to Lord Granville, PRO 30/29; correspondence with Lord John Russell, PRO 30/22). Trinity College, Cambridge (letters to Lord Houghton). University of Durham Library (correspondence with Third Earl Grey; letters to Viscount Ponsonby). Newcastle University, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (letters to Sir Charles Trevelyan). University of Nottingham Library (correspondence with Duke of Newcastle). University of Southampton Library (correspondence with Lord Palmerston). West Sussex Record Office, Chichester (letters to Duke of Richmond). West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds (letters to Lord Canning). Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Chippenham (correspondence with Sidney Herbert). Woburn Abbey, Milton Keynes (letters to Duke of Bedford).

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Archivist's note

Description based on the original finding aid produced by British Library, compiled, revised and encoded (using Encoded Archival Description) by Charles Fonge, August 2011.
Revised and migrated to AtoM, August 2015.

Digital object (External URI) rights area

Digital object (Reference) rights area

Digital object (Thumbnail) rights area

Accession area