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Records of Cambridge University Democratic Front, 1934 - 1939

Reference Code: GBR/0265/UA/SOC.125

Scope and Contents

The records comprise correspondence of the organisation's officers with supporters, speakers and writers of articles; a full set of the journal; members lists and assorted poitical flyers and pamphlets from the left and right of politics.


  • Creation: 1934 - 1939

Conditions Governing Access

From the Management Group:

The University Archives are generally freely available to the holder of a reader's ticket for the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR. Restrictions on access are imposed on certain categories of sensitive record: financial, governmental and personal, by order of the originating body or under data protection legislation. Access information, including opening hours and how to obtain a reader's ticket, appears as part of the Library's web site (

Biographical / Historical

The organisation was established in 1934 as a forum for non partisan discussion of national and international politics. Committed to democratic principles in face of ideological extremes and increasing militarism, it described itself as part of the 'Progressive Movement'. In 1935 it joined with The Next Five Years Group, critical of the UK's National Government. To investigate problems of economic and political interest, the Front organised study groups on the 'Machinery of Goverment' for instance or 'Malnutrition and Poverty'. It also held speaker meetings.

The comparative neutrality of its early years had been abandoned in favour of centre/centre left alliance by 1937 when it launched a magazine, The Democratic Front (soon simplified to The Democrat). It included articles on national and international events, civil war in Spain for instance or the invasions of Abyssinia and Czechoslovakia, but also book and art exhibition reviews and poetry.

From the start, many public figures supported the Democratic front as Vice-Presidents, including Conservative politician Vyvyan Adams, philosopher C.E.M. Joad and classicist Professor Gilbert Murray.


0.03 cubic metre(s)

Custodial History

Presented to the University Archives by Judith Hodson, daugther of A.W. Bonsall (1917-2014), political editor of The Democrat, in September 2021.

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom