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The Papers of Fenner Brockway

Reference Code: GBR/0014/FEBR

Scope and Contents

Papers mainly comprising manuscripts of books, articles, speeches, diaries, correspondence, book reviews and press cuttings


  • Creation: 1914 - 1982

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 holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Archibald Fenner Brockway was born in Calcutta, India, 1 November 1888, the son of W. G. Brockway and Frances Elizabeth Abbey. He was educated at Eltham College. He married Lilla Harvey-Smith in 1914 (divorced 1945), with whom he had four daughters, and Edith Violet King in 1946 (separated 1982), with whom he had one son.

He campaigned on behalf of the Liberal Party in parliamentary and local elections and was active in the Women's Suffrage movement. Later he joined the Independent Labour Party (ILP). He worked on the staff of the "Examiner", 1907-9; as a sub-editor on the "Christian Commonwealth", 1909-11; and as a sub-editor, 1911, and editor, 1912-17, on the "Labour Leader", the ILP weekly. He was Secretary of the No Conscription Fellowship, 1917, and served four terms of imprisonment as a conscientious objector during the First World War, 1916-19. He was Joint Secretary of the British Committee of Indian National Congress and editor of "India", 1919, and Joint Secretary of the Prison System Enquiry Committee, 1920.

He was an active member of the ILP, serving as Organising Secretary, 1922, General Secretary, 1928 and 1933-9, Chairman, 1931-3, and Political Secretary, 1939-46, and editing "New Leader", 1926-9 and 1931-46. He also organised an ILP contingent to fight with the Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War, 1936-9. He served as Member of Parliament for East Leyton, 1929-31. He joined the Labour Party, 1946. He was elected as Member of Parliament for Eton and Slough, 1950-64. He campaigned for racial equality, introducing a bill outlawing racial discrimination for nine successive years before legislation was passed in 1964. He was created a life peer, as Lord Brockway of Eton and Slough, 1964, and continued an active political career in the House of Lords.

He was a lifelong anti-colonialist and peace campaigner. He travelled extensively in India between the wars and in Africa during the 1950s and 1960s. He helped to establish the People's Congress Against Imperialism, 1948, was a founder and Chairman of Liberation (formerly the Movement for Colonial Freedom), 1954-67, a leading light of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and a founder, with Philip Noel-Baker, of the World Disarmament Campaign, 1979.

He died on 28 April 1988. He is commemorated by a statue in Red Lion Square, London.

His publications include: "The Devil's Business" (1915); "Non Co-operation in Other Lands" (1921); "India and its Government" (1921); with Stephen Hobhouse "English Prisons Today" (1922); "A New Way with Crime" (1928); "The Indian Crisis" (1930); "Hungry England" (1932); "The Bloody Traffic" (1933); "Will Roosevelt Succeed?" (1934); "Purple Plague" (1935); "Workers' Front (1938); "Inside the Left" (1942); with Frederic Mullally, "Death Pays a Dividend" (1944); "German Diary" (1946); "Socialism Over Sixty Years: the life of Jowett of Bradford" (1946); "Bermondsey Story: life of Alfred Salter" (1949); "Why Mau Mau?" (1953); "African Journeys" (1955); "1960 - Africa's Year of Destiny" (1950); "Red Liner" (1961); "Outside the Right" (1963); "African Socialism" (1964); with Norman Pannell, "Immigration: what is the answer?" (1965); with [Cora] Wendy Campbell-Purdie, "Woman Against the Desert" (1967); "This Shrinking Explosive World" (1968); "The Next Step to Peace" (1970); "The Colonial Revolution" (1973); "Towards Tomorrow" (1977); "Britain's First Socialists" (1980); and "98 Not Out" (1986).


84 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

Copies of the collection level description and catalogue are available at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, and the National Register of Archives, London. A pdf of the finding aid can be downloaded from the Archives Centre's website:

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were loaned to Churchill Archives Centre by Fenner Brockway, 1982. Further papers were deposited via Liberation and the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, 1985.


This collection level description was prepared by Sophie Bridges, August 2004. The collection was catalogued by Averil Condren, 1995. Biographical information was obtained from "Who's Who 1897-1996" (A and C Black) and Fenner Brockway's obituaries in "The Times", "The Guardian", 29 April 1988, and "The Independent", 2 May 1988.


Brockway, Archibald Fenner, 1888-1988, Baron Brockway of Eton and Slough, politician

2004-08-10 14:44:06+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