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The Papers of Leslie Hore-Belisha

Reference Code: GBR/0014/HOBE

Scope and Contents

The collection, though small, is interesting as no other papers appear to have been left by Hore-Belisha. It comprises letters, diaries, some photographs and documents (mainly copies) covering most of Hore-Belisha's career but concentrating on his most important position as War Minister from 1937-1939 and particularly the events surrounding his dismissal by Neville Chamberlain.


  • Creation: 1928 - 1981


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge. Individual closures of files are indicated in the catalogue.

Biographical / Historical

7 September 1893: Born, son of Captain and Mrs J I Belisha

June 1894: Belisha's father died

1912: Belisha's mother married Sir Adair Hore, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Pensions. Belisha took name Hore-Belisha. Educated Clifton College, Bristol, Paris, Heidelberg and St John's College, Oxford. President of Oxford Union Society

1914-1918: Served in Royal Fusiliers Public School Battalion and RASC in France, Flanders and Salonika; Major; mentioned in despatches.

1919: Invalided out. Returned to Oxford. MA

1923: Called to the Bar, Inner Temple

1923-1942: MP for Devonport as Liberal Nationalist

1931-1932: Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade

1932-1934: Financial Secretary to the Treasury

1934-1937: Minister of Transport

1935: Privy Councillor

October 1936: Seat in Cabinet

December 1936: Lady Hore died

1937-1940: Secretary of State for War and President of Army Council

1939-1940: Member of War Cabinet

1942-1945: MP for Devonport as Independent.

1944: Married Cynthia, daughter of Gilbert Elliot of Kent.

May-July 1945: Minister of National Insurance

1947: Member of Westminster City Council

1950: Unsuccessfully contested Croydon as Conservative

1954: Created 1st Baron, Hore-Belisha of Devonport

16 February 1957: Died at Rheims


12 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection of the papers of Leslie Hore-Belisha, 1st Baron Hore-Belisha of Devonport was purchased at public auction in March 1985 for Churchill College with the aid of generous grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Friends of the National Libraries and the Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund.


It would appear that these papers had been gathered, copied and sometimes annotated by Hore-Belisha's Secretary and confidant, Miss Hilde Sloane, for the use of R J Minney in his book "The Private Papers of Hore Belisha", published in New York by Doubleday and Co in 1961. Many of the letters and papers and numerous diary entries are quoted in Minney's book, frequently with Miss Sloane's gloss added as commentary and there is little in the collection which lies outside the scope of Mr Minney's book.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

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