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Sir Harry Brittain Collection

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3011AAA

Scope and Contents

A collection of loose prints and others in an album relating to the career of Sir Harry Brittain (1873-1974).

These photoraphs were selected by the Librarian from a large collection and have been chosen for their relevance to Sir Harry's Empire/Commonwealth interests. They are by various photographers, including Sir Harry himself; some of these are noted but it is probably that others were also taken by him. Among them are portraits of individuals, groups, travel scenes and some English events with an Empire interest. Finally there are photographs connected with the Imperial Press Conferences and Empire Press Union.

Captions written in Sir Harry's distinctive hand (and sometimes characteristic green ink) are given in inverted commas. Those derived from typed labels, captions in books, etc. are given without them, and information obtained or deduced from other sources is in brackets. Throughout, 'HB' refers to Harry Brittain.


  • Creation: 1873 - 1974


Conditions Governing Access

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 (

Biographical / Historical

Harry Ernest Brittain was born on Christmas Eve, 1873, and educated at Repton and Worcester College, Oxford. He was called to the Bar in 1897 but practised for only a week. His career was in the newspaper world - he was a director of many papers and journals - and was the Unionist M.P. for Acton from 1918 to 1929, but he is chiefly noted for his vast range of voluntary activities, his writing and his travelling. The list of bodies with which he was connected occupies some eighty lines of Who's Who; chief among them were those connected with the Empire/Commonwealth and the furtherance of friendship with the U.S.A. He founded the Imperial Press Conference in 1909 and the Empire Press Union in the same year; he also opened its Golden Jubilee Conference in 1959. A member of the Royal Colonial Institute from 1909, he was made a Vice-President in 1927 when it was about to become the Royal Empire Society and an Honorary Member in 1961, when it had become the Royal Commonwealth Society. He was first Secretary, and later Chairman, of the Pilgrims and joined in its 70th anniversary celebrations in 1972. He travelled widely, wrote eleven books and many articles, and included 'avoiding retirement' in his recreations in Who's Who. He was created KBE in 1918, CMG in 1924 and received many awards and other recognitions. He celebrated his hundredth birthday in good health and spirits, and died on 9 July 1974.


2 archive box(es) (132 images in 2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Fair to good condition.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented by Lady Brittain in October 1985.


This collection level description was entered by SG using information from the original typescript catalogue.


Brittain, Henry Ernest (Harry) 1873-1974

Includes index.
2004-02-12 12:18:28+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom