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The Papers of Sir William Gorell Barnes

Reference Code: GBR/0014/BARN

Scope and Contents

The papers cover a number of important aspects of Barnes' work as Personal Assistant to Clement Attlee, while Lord President of the Council during World War II and Prime Minister after the War, and his concern with Colonial and Common Market affairs both in his official capacity as Assistant (later Deputy) Under-Secretary of State at the Colonial Office and later through the Conservative Commonwealth and Overseas Council.


  • Creation: 1942 - 1975

Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holder and should seek advice about contacting her from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Born: 1909 Educated: Marlborough College, Pembroke College, Cambridge Married:1935 Barbara Cottrell, with whom he had three daughters and one son. Died:1987 Career: 1932-39: Diplomatic Service -Foreign Office Baghdad, Lisbon 1939-45: Offices of War Cabinet 1942-45: Personal Assistant to Lord President of the Council (Clement Attlee) 1945-46: Assistant Secretary HM Treasury Oct 1946-Feb 1948: Personal Assistant to Prime Minister, Clement Attlee 1948-59: Assistant Under Secretary of State Colonial Office 1959-63: Deputy Under Secretary Colonial Office 1962: Member UK delegation to EEC negotiations 1963: Retired from Civil Service 1963-66: Vice-Chairman and Financial Director Harveys of Bristol 1963-80: Director Royal Group of Insurance Companies (Deputy Chairman 1972-80) 1967-69: Chairman Jones Templeton & Co 1966-80: Director Doulton & Co (Deputy Chairman 1969-80) 1966-71: Director Limmer Holdings Ltd (Chairman 1971) 1971-83: Director Tarmac PLC 1983-84: Director Tarmac Roadstone Holdings Ltd 1972-84: Director Donald Macpherson Group 1974-75: Chairman Conservative Commonwealth and Overseas Council 1970-77: Member of Council of Westfield College, London 1978: Honorary Fellow of Westfield College, London Publications: "Europe and the Developing World" Honours: CMG (1949), CB (1956) and KCMG (1961).


14 archive box(es)

Language of Materials



The papers were generally in good order and condition when deposited at Churchill Archives Centre.

Other Finding Aids

The collection has been catalogued. Hard copies of the paper catalogue are available in the reading room at Churchill Archives Centre.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection of papers of Sir William Gorell Barnes was deposited at Churchill Archives Centre by his widow in 1988.

Related Materials

Churchill Archives Centre also holds a small collection of the papers of Clement Attlee (GBR/014/ATLE) and the papers of Lawrence Burgis, secretary to the War Cabinet (GBR/014/BRGS).


This collection and series description was prepared by Natalie Adams of Churchill Archives Centre in October 2004 using information from the typed catalogue. The remainder of the catalogue was converted by Caroline Herbert in 2008.


Barnes, Sir William Lethbridge Gorell, 1909-1987, Knight, civil servant

2004-10-11 13:31:45+00:00
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