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Correspondence, The majority of files date from 1973-82.

Reference Code: GBR/0014/FEBR 6

Scope and Contents

AFB was credited with having the largest correspondence of anyone in the House of Lords, and he appears to have conducted this correspondence from a desk originally used by Lord Attlee with the help of one part-time secretary (see "Towards Tomorrow" p.238). The correspondence is represented in the Brockway papers by the series of folders originally marked "Filing" and a few folders actually labelled "Pending". These are rare amongst the Brockway papers as being actual working papers in their original order. It appears to have been AFB's custom to keep all correspondence, both private and "professional", together, or rather that he made no distinction between private and political life. The correspondence is both incoming and outgoing and was frequently stapled to background materials or other information. The correspondence is both large and wide in range and diversity. Everyone and anyone could and did write to AFB - who had a high public profile. Most received some kind of answer. He was often referred to as "the member for Africa" and he appears to have extended the idea of a constituency 'clinic' to include anyone who cared to write to him, passing the letter to the appropriate authority. The letters range from the extremely informal and personal to the most formal in third person governmentese, and from proforma covering notes to detailed explanations of complicated civil rights cases. They are not always in English, not always intelligible and come from all over the world, although the majority come from Britain. The subject matter is extremely varied but apart from the personal and crank letters the subjects covered are largely connected with matters of immigration, race relations, civil rights (especially with regard to Northern Ireland), prisons and prison conditions, and colonial (or former colonial) countries and peoples. They include replies from Government ministers and officials, "off-the-record" materials and information and AFB's many appointments.

Also included in this series are the files of correspondence with and on behalf of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI). It was AFB's habit to supply the Secretary with House of Lords paper and allow her to write and sign letters on his behalf. Many of his own letters in the files encourage correspondents to address their enquiries to this Committee. There are separate JCWI files for the 1970s, but some correspondence does occur in the general files and in later files this correspondence is integrated with the whole. The personal letters include those from AFB's family, particularly his sisters, including many relating to his sister [Kathleen] Nora's ill health in old age and death. Also present are a great many from Dorothy Detzer Denny, an American who was a Washington lobbyist. AFB and DDD, as she signed herself, maintained a frank and affectionate correspondence until her death in 1980.


  • Creation: The majority of files date from 1973-82.


Conditions Governing Access

From the Fonds:

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.


32.5 archive box(es)

Related Materials

See also AFB's personal correspondence files for 1965-72 in FEBR 3/68-73 and the 1965 correspondence in FEBR 5.

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087