Diaries with correspondence, cuttings etc, 1920-01 - 1930-12
Scope and Contents
Bull’s interests were wide and varied and all are explored in the pages of his diaries. He was deeply immersed in every aspect of the life of the Borough of Hammersmith which he served as a Councillor on the London County Council and then as a Member of Parliament for thirty-seven years. Although never holding high parliamentary office himself, as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Walter Long when the latter was Chief Secretary for Ireland and then First Lord of the Admiralty, Bull was close to the sources of power and his diaries provide shrewd comment on major issues of the day, especially Irish affairs, and a fascinating source of political gossip.
While serving on the London County Council, Bull became Chairman of the Bridges Committee and saw the building of the Blackwall Tunnel to its completion. Characteristically, he also urged the case for the building of a Channel Tunnel. A perhaps less obvious cause supported by Bull was the movement to extend voting rights for women and the diaries contain interesting letters from a number of leading suffragettes thanking Bull for his help. As a young man, Bull volunteered to teach in the Bethnal Green Ragged School and throughout his life he was involved with philanthropic enterprises. His correspondence shows this same generosity in his personal relations.
The diaries have considerable interest for the light they throw upon public events but their unique charm lies in the vivid and detailed picture they present of social life within the family and local community from the last quarter of the nineteenth century until the First World War. In his 'Retrospect' of December 1917 Bull wrote, ‘‘I am getting oppressed with the size of this diary. Who will bother to read through it when I am gone? - & yet I cannot leave it off ...'.
Additional sections of the collection include Bull's pocket diaries kept throughout most of his business life and an early diary from his legal office, plus the diaries of Lady Bull from 1927 until well after her husband's death. The collection also contains private letters to Bull with flimsy copies of his replies. These cover the whole range of his affairs from local activities to parliamentary business though the preponderating interest is his legal practice and there are also very many letters soliciting his aid in finding jobs from which it is clear that he was generous with his time and efforts in this respect. There are also some early family letters mainly relating to business. The third component of the collection consists of notes, drafts, cuttings and anecdotes relating to Bull's long career in the House of Commons and to the working and history of Parliament, presumably collected by him with a view to writing his Parliamentary reminiscences.
- 1920-01 - 1930-12
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