Margaret Thatcher was born on 13 October 1925, the daughter of Alfred Roberts of Grantham, Lincolnshire. She was educated at Kesteven and Grantham Girls' High School and Somerville College, Oxford, where she studied Chemistry. She married Denis Thatcher in 1951, having two children Mark and Carol (twins) in 1953. Before entering politics she worked as a research chemist, 1947-51, and was called to the Bar, Lincoln's Inn, in 1954, becoming an Honorary Bencher in 1975.
She served as the Conservative MP for Finchley, 1959-92 and was Joint Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance, October 1961-64 and Secretary of State for Education and Science, 1970-74. Mrs Thatcher was elected Leader of the Opposition in 1975 and served as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, 1979-90
In December 1990 she was awarded the Order of Merit. In June 1992 she was elevated to the House of Lords, under the style Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven, and in April 1995 she became a member of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.
Her two volumes of memoirs, "The Downing Street Years" and "The Path to Power" were published in 1993 and 1995 respectively. A further volume of her thoughts on contemporary world affairs, "Statecraft", was published in 2002.
Lady Thatcher was Chancellor of the University of Buckingham from 1992-98 and Chancellor of the College of William & Mary, Virginia, USA, from 1993-2000. She has also established her own charitable foundation, The Margaret Thatcher Foundation.
Lady Thatcher died in April 2013.
The extensive Thatcher archive consists of political and personal papers, correspondence, awards and other artefacts, video and audio-tapes, and a large collection of photographs. There is very limited material available before 1975 (when Margaret Thatcher became Leader of the Opposition) and the most significant part of the collection relates to the period when she was Prime Minister 1979-90. The extensive papers in the archive generated after her resignation as Prime Minister mark her activity and influence in the later years of her public life.
The Papers have been deposited with Churchill Archives Centre at various dates since 1997
The Papers are mostly owned by the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust, an independent charity. A number of papers dating from 1990 continue to be owned by Lady Thatcher personally.