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Archives of the Board of Extra-Mural Studies, 1850 - 2007

Reference Code: GBR/0265/UA/BEMS

Scope and Contents

The archives comprise the full range of institutional operational records, together with the personal papers of several individuals - James Stuart, Helen C. Colman, Richard G. Moulton, D.H.S. Cranage and G.F. Hickson - closely associated with the organisation.


  • Creation: 1850 - 2007


Conditions Governing Access

BEMS 56 may only be consulted with the permission of the Director of the Institute of Continuing Education. Across the archive, personal records are closed to scholars for 80 years from the date of creation under data protection legislation. Specific restrictions, if any, are indicated within each catalogue entry.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests to publish text should be addressed to the Director of the Instute of Continuing Education, Madingley Hall, Madingley, Cambridge CB23 8AQ.

Biographical / Historical

The Local Lectures Syndicate was established in 1873 with James Stuart (1843-1913), Fellow of Trinity College and later Professor of Mechanism and Applied Mechanics, as its Secretary. From the mid 1860s, Stuart had been actively involved in the Extension Movement which aimed to bring higher education to men and women outside the Universities by means of lecture courses and classes. In its first year, the Syndicate organised lectures in the Midlands towns of Nottingham, Derby and Leicester. After five years, the conduct of lectures and classes was handed to the other University Syndicate with extra-mural responsibilitites, the Local Examinations Syndicate (established 1857); thereupon renamed the Local Examinations and Lectures Syndicate. It was operating in all parts of industrialised England by the 1880s, supplemented by an annual residential Summer Meeting in Cambridge, and as time went on, by vacation and summer courses of all kinds. The Extension Movement was instrumental in the foundation of several local University Colleges, among them Exeter, Nottingham, Leeds and Sheffield. The Board of Extra-Mural Studies, continuing the work in adult education of the Syndicate, was established in 1924. It was renamed the Board for Continuing Education in August 1991 and re-established as the Institute of Continuing Education in January 2001. Accommodation was provided in offices in Mill Lane, 1886-1927, Stuart House, Mill Lane, 1927-75, and Madingley Hall, Madingley, from 1975 to date.


55 linear metre(s) : paper

Language of Materials



BEMS 11: number not used.

Other Finding Aids

The original catalogue was completed in 1970 while the archives were still at Stuart House, by Edwin Welch of Churchill College. Additions were incorporated by hand thereafter up to 1985. In 2002, the catalogue was converted into digital form, restructured to bring record series together, especially in sections 18-21, and emended to take account of data protection legislation. A hard copy catalogue is available for consultation in Reading Room of Deparment of Manuscripts and University Archives (In.17).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The vast majority of the archives were transferred to the University Archives in October 1972. The Stuart and Colman Papers (catalogued as BEMS 1-2) had earlier been given to the Board by Miss Helen C. Colman of Carrow Abbey, Norwich, sister in law of James Stuart; as had the Moulton Papers (catalogued as BEMS 3), transferred on permanent loan by Rev. H.K. Moulton, 23 Mount St., West Kirby, Liverpool. Other smaller transfers were made by the Director of the Board as follows: BEMS 44/10 on 10 Dec. 1974; BEMS 1/48; 28/8; 38/27, 30; 43/20, 22; 53/22 on 17 Feb. 1975; BEMS 33/5 on 19 May 1975; BEMS 16/50-6; 48/38-42; 58/1.13b on 2 Aug. 1975; BEMS 22/12 on 25 Feb. 1976; BEMS 41/6; 58/1.31 on 1 May 1976; BEMS 14/38-45; 16/57-61 on 8 May 1976; BEMS 38/31 on 16 Aug. 1976; BEMS 14/46-8 on 29 June 1977; and by other individuals as follows: BEMS 33/12 by Edwin Welch on 17 Apr. 1980; BEMS 17/1B, 3A, 4A, 5A by Prof P.D.A. Harvey on 24 Jan. 1985; BEMS 53/28 by unidentifed donor in 1999; BEMS 58/2 by P. Woodhuysen on 23 Dec. 2002; BEMS 59/1 by Peter Fox, University Librarian, on 25 March 2009. BEMS 50/1-39 returned to G.F. Hickson c.1976. The archives are a permanent transfer to the University Archives.

Related Materials

See also among the University Archives: Reports (passim); CUR 57*, 57/1-4; R 233, 237, 240; WUES 6/7-8, 11, 9/3; Min.VII.60; LES 1/1-10; War 214/9; Synd.VII; VC Corr.XI.2, 4.

Related Materials

The modern records of the Local Examinations Syndicate which operates under the trading name of Cambridge Assessment are retained at their headquarters at the The Triangle Building, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8EA.


This online catalogue was completed in 2002 and emended in March, April and October 2005, January 2006, November 2007, September 2009 and July 2012.


Board of Extra-Mural Studies

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom