Mark Dunton


Hello. I joined The National Archives (formerly Public Record Office) in 1983 and I specialise in researching the records of post-1945 Britain. I enjoy giving public talks, many of which are available to download on our website as podcasts. One of the aspects of my job which I enjoy the most is being media spokesperson on the annual release of government files under the 30-year rule. I have a BA in History from Exeter University, an MA in Archives and Records Management from University College London and an MA in War Studies from King's College London. My research interests include post-1945 British political, social and economic history and the policies of the Heath government in the early 1970s.

Podcasts by Mark Dunton

  • Location of the theft of the Jules Rimet Trophy (the World Cup), from Central Hall, Westminster. 1966. Catalogue reference: DPP2-4167

    England ’66: The best of times?

    It was a year when England won the World Cup and led the world in all aspects of popular culture, including pop music, fashion, and film. But it was also a time of sterling crises, wage and price freezes, and industrial strife. Contemporary specialist Mark Dunton looks…

  • Margaret Thatcher shakes hands with Japanese MP Michio Watanabe during his visit to the UK in November 1983 (catalogue reference: PREM 19/1555)

    Newly released files from 1985 and 1986

    Contemporary records specialists Mark Dunton and Simon Demissie discuss the latest batch of government records to be released to The National Archives.  The years were 1985 and 1986. Introduced by Rebecca Simpson.

  • Multicomputer for signal processing 1974 (licensed under Creative Commons)

    1974: forty years on

    Mark Dunton looks back at UK National events in 1974 in this illustrated podcast. Drawing on the public records he highlights some unusual or little known aspects about the events of that year.  1974 was a difficult year in modern…

  • Post Office Tower (now British Telecom Tower), construction (catalogue reference CM 22/195)

    The Post Office Tower: symbol of a new Britain?

    When the Post Office Tower was opened officially on 8 October 1965, it was London’s tallest building. It was also seen as symbolising a new, exciting technological revolution and a new spirit of optimism, successfully capturing the public imagination. In…

  • HO 287/1496 (35)

    Public Cooperation with the Household Expenditure Enquiry, 1953-1954

    The Household Expenditure Enquiry of 1953-54 was the first large-scale enquiry into household expenditure and income in the United Kingdom since the Family Budget Enquiry of 1937-1938. It was intended to cover 20,000 households and the Ministry of Labour and…

  • prem-19-1274

    New files from 1984

    Contemporary records specialists Mark Dunton and Simon Demissie discuss the latest batch of government records to be released to The National Archives.  The year was 1984 and Margaret Thatcher’s appointment diary, included in this collection for the first time, shows…

  • Cabinet Office file (catalogue reference: CAB 129/216a)

    New files from 1983

    Contemporary records specialists Mark Dunton and Simon Demissie discuss highlights from the latest batch of government files released to The National Archives. Rounding off Mrs Thatcher’s first term in office, 1983 was another pivotal year in British politics. The Falklands…

  • Return of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister, April 1979, cat. ref. Copy of C219-353 f121v

    How to research a famous person in The National Archives

    Join records expert Mark Dunton for a step-by-step explanation of how to research a famous person in The National Archives. Taking the case study of Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, the podcast goes through the key steps to…

  • Marines hoist flag at Southern Thule 19 June 1982. Catalogue reference: ADM 202/903 (3)

    New files from 1982

    Contemporary records specialists Mark Dunton and Simon Demissie discuss highlights from the latest release of government files made public after 30 years. The third year of Mrs Thatcher’s premiership was dominated by the Falklands crisis and war with Argentina. New…

  • Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into the Vassall Case and Related Matters. Author Harold Macmillan, cat. ref. Cab 129/113

    The scandalous case of John Vassall: sexuality, spying and the Civil Service

    Fifty years ago civil servant John Vassall was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment for espionage. Vassall was homosexual, and whilst working at the British Embassy in Moscow, was caught in a Soviet Secret Service ‘honeytrap’, blackmailed into passing secrets to…

  • prem19-418 (1)

    New files from 1981

    An overview of newly-released government files from 1981 including discussion of the major stories of the year. From urban riots and IRA hunger strikes to splits in Cabinet over economic policy, 1981 was an extremely challenging year for Mrs Thatcher’s…

  • T295-521-treasury-file-on-the-beatles-1967

    20th century Treasury records

    Some researchers might feel apprehensive about the prospect of investigating 20th century Treasury records, particularly given the complex nature of Treasury Registry systems of the 18th and 19th centuries. But the good news is that the Treasury records of the…

  • prem-19-135

    New files from 1980

    An introduction to newly released files from 1980, covering subjects such as economic policy, the European Community Budget, relations with trade unions, the Iranian Embassy siege and the potential boycott of the Moscow Olympics. These files provide a fascinating insight…

  • PRO30-69-1668-(Pt.4-no.318)-The-First-Labour-Cabinet,-1924

    The Cabinet Papers 1915-1979

    Mark Dunton, The National Archives’ contemporary records specialist, explains how anyone with an interest in modern history can get the best out of the Cabinet Papers online resource. This provides access to historical records of the key episodes in 20th century…

  • nsc5-671-invest-in-britain-through-national-savings-1953

    I’m All Right Jack! Britain in 1959

    The famous Boulting Brothers film ‘I’m All Right Jack!’ was released just over 50 years ago. The film, in which a blundering innocent causes a nationwide strike, was a satire – but did it also reflect social realities in 1959?…

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