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The Papers of John Gridley

Reference Code: GBR/0014/GRID

Scope and Contents

Letters from Gridley to his wife Joan, chiefly on his life in Algeria and France. The letters cover various domestic issues, but also touch frequently on Gridley's work, with many references to [Maurice] Harold Macmillan [Minister Resident at Allied HeadQuarters in North-West Africa, 1942-45, later 1st Lord Stockton], Duff Cooper [later 1st Lord Norwich], and to Gridley's American and French colleagues. His letters from Paris include an account of the 1944 Armistice Day celebrations with Churchill and General Charles de Gaulle and particularly convey the hardship caused by the winter of 1944.

Other related papers include a letter of congratulation from Desmond Morton, Churchill's personal assistant, which vividly describes British frustration with de Gaulle in 1944; reports on the North African Economic Board and on the economic situation in France; papers relating to Gridley's post-war work for the European Coal Organisation, chiefly his visit to Poland and Czechoslovakia [Czech Republic and Slovakia] in early 1946.


  • Creation: 1943 - 1948


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 from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

John Gridley was born on 28 May 1904, the only son of William Joseph Gridley and Mary Ellen (née Michell). He was educated at Queen’s College, Taunton (and was granted an honorary degree by London University in 1967). In 1933 he married Joan Marion, elder daughter of Sir Herbert Merrett, having two sons; he and his wife were briefly divorced in 1950, but remarried in 1951.

John Gridley spent his pre-war career in South Wales shipping and coal businesses, and from about 1928 worked for the Cardiff coal company Gueret Llewellyn and Merrett (later bought by Powell Duffryn), initially in Spain. In the late 1930's Gridley worked with his employer and father-in-law Herbert Merrett, travelling extensively in Europe and South America.

During the early years of the war he continued to work in the coal industry, and was involved in the issues of wartime coal supplies. He was then appointed temporarily to the Coal Division of the North African Economic Board [NAEB] in Algiers in 1943, returning to Algiers in December of that year to become the British Joint Chairman of the North African Joint Economic Mission, remaining in this post until August 1944. He was then appointed as Economic Adviser to [Alfred] Duff Cooper, the British Ambassador to France, in October 1944. His main task was to restore supplies of coal and steel to France, but he was also Economic Adviser at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) and served on the Inter-Allied Railway Commission, eventually leaving Paris in mid-1945.

After the war, Gridley became Chairman of the European Coal Organisation, (1945-46), and was a founding member and Marketing Director of the National Coal Board, (1946-48). He was Chairman of Mobil Oil Company Limited, (1948-68) and President of the Institute of Petroleum, (1962-1964), also serving as Director of Powell Duffryn Limited and other companies. He was awarded the CBE in 1945.

Gridley died on 25 November 1968.


1.5 archive box(es)

Language of Materials



The papers' original arrangement has been retained: all of the letters were numbered by John Gridley except those written from Paris, which were numbered later by Richard Gridley. After John Gridley's death his widow destroyed some of his letters, as is indicated by gaps in the numbering; none of her replies survive.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this finding aid is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London. A detailed listing by Richard Gridley may also be consulted at Churchill Archives Centre.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were given to the Archives Centre by Richard Gridley in September 2007.

Related Materials

Churchill Archives Centre also holds the papers of Duff Cooper, GBR/0014/DUFC.


Catalogued by Katharine Thomson in September 2007, using an existing list and biographical information provided by Richard Gridley; further biographical information taken from Who's Who (A&C Black).


Gridley, John Crandon, 1904-1968, economic adviser

2007-09-14 09:43:24.073000+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