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Plumb, Sir John Harold, 1911-2001 (Knight, historian and college head)



  • Existence: 1911 - 2001


Studied History at University College, Leicester, and in 1933 started a PhD at Christ's College Cambridge on the Convention Parliament of 1689. On completing his thesis Plumb was elected to an Ehrman research fellowship at King's College. He spent most of the second World War at Bletchley Park in charge of a section which monitored the German naval code, RHV. Following the War, he failed to regain a fellowship at King's, and moved back to Christ's instead, becoming a lecturer. Given a LittD by Cambridge in 1957, and promoted to reader in 1962. Vice-master of Christ's from 1964 to 1968. Chair in English history 1966. Retired in 1974. Master of Christ's 1978-1982, Knighted 1982.

Plumb's notable works inclue England in the Eighteenth Century (1950), Sir Robert Walpole (1950, 1960, biographies).

Found in 23 Collections and/or Records:


Historic events, 19720421

Reference Code: GBR/1849/FP/272/1/xxx
Scope and Contents

Flags are up in college as it is the Queen's forty-sixth birthday. Peck referes cryptically to 'the great egg prodgect', continuing the mysterious egg theme in his correspondence. The Bishop of Ely is dining as Nigel's guest, and Sir John Plumb was present (Peck refers to him as 'Plumly'). Peck reports the news that men have been active on the moon (the Apollo 16 landings).

Dates: 19720421
 Series — Box: MS Add.9563: Box 1

Letters to and from Sir John Plumb, 1937 (circa)

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9563/154-156
Scope and Contents

[154] JHP to ROY [?], 16 NOV 1937. 'Peil is a fool. Don't take any notice of his inanities'; 'Snow was frightfully angry about the job'; reminiscences of holiday on 'Cote Basque';

[155] JHP to ROY [?], part of a letter, n.d. Teaching dull women at Girton; how he spends his days in Cambridge, wishes he had time to write;

[156] [ROY?] to JHP, n.d. Reaction to JHP's election to a fellowship at Christ's.

Dates: 1937 (circa)
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Small collection of correspondence of Plumb's

Reference Code: GBR/1849/FP/275/3
Scope and Contents

This small collection is mainly concerned with bequeathing his papers and books, and one note dated 12 June 1996 about a bill for a dinner at Christ’s hosted by Plumb.


Wisteria flowering, 1972

Reference Code: GBR/1849/FP/272/1/xxxiii
Scope and Contents

Sunday afternoon is time for the 'egg project'. Sir John Plumb (whom Peck refers to as 'Plumley') gave a pleasant speech.

Dates: 1972