Thatcher library plans take leaf out of Reagan’s archive

Margaret Thatcher will be commemorated with a library and museum modelled on those of her close friend Ronald Reagan.

Reagan's Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California, will provide the template for a project its organisers hope will stand as a permanent memorial to the Iron Lady.

Conservative Way Forward (CWF) will begin active fundraising after Thatcher's funeral takes place at St Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday. Several large donations have already been received, CWF said.

The exact site of the library and museum is yet to be determined, but is expected to be located close to parliament in Westminster.

The museum will contain both "artefacts from the Thatcher era" as well as an educational centre.

Thatcher provided her blessing to the project before her death. It was first conceived in 2009 by CWF's chief executive Donal Blaney.

The project has received the backing of communities secretary Eric Pickles, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, former defence secretary Liam Fox and others.

American supporters of Reagan have also welcomed the proposals. Ron Robinson, who created a "schoolhouse for Reaganism" in Santa Barbara, said: "It is critical that Margaret Thatcher's remarkable legacy is protected for future generations.

"Like her good friend, Ronald Reagan, she knew that freedom was never more than one generation away from extinction. This exciting project… will bring the life, values and achievements of Margaret Thatcher into the lives of thousands of people around the world."

It follows the pledging of £5 million to establish a National Churchill Library and Centre at George Washington University in Washington DC last year.

Churchill's papers are primarily preserved at the Churchill Archive Centre at the University of Cambridge.