Skip to main content

The Papers of Baron Noel-Baker

Reference Code: GBR/0014/NBKR

Scope and Contents

The papers cover every aspect of Lord Noel-Baker's very full and varied career and include constituency papers, Labour Party material, extensive sections on domestic and international affairs, peace and disarmament, sport, books and articles, speeches and correspondence.


  • Creation: 1899 - 1990

Conditions Governing Access

With the exception of two files which are still closed, 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

Nov 1889: Born, son of J. Allen Baker, MP. Educated, Bootham School, York; Haverford College, USA; King's College, Cambridge (1910, 1912). 1910-12: President of Cambridge University Athletic Club. 1912: President of Cambridge Union Society. 1914: Vice-Principal, Ruskin College, Oxford. 1914-15: First Commandant Friends' Ambulance Unit. 1915: Married Irene, daughter of Frank Noel, British landowner of Achmetaga, Greece. 1915-18: Officer First British Ambulance Unit for Italy. 1917: Mons Star. Silver Medal for Military Valour (Italy). 1918: Croce di Guerra. 1919: League of Nations Section of British Delegation during Peace Conference. 1919-22: League of Nations Secretariat. 1924: Contested (Lab) Handsworth Division of Birmingham. 1924-29: Sir Ernest Cassel Professor of International Relations in the University of London. 1929-30: Member of British Delegation to the 10th Assembly of the League of Nations. 1929-31: MP (Labour) for Coventry. 1929-31: Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. 1932-33: Principal Assistant to the President of the Disarmament Conference at Geneva. 1934: Dodge lecturer, Yale University. 1936-50: MP (Labour) for Derby. 1942-45: Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of War Transport. 1945-46: Minister of State at the Foreign Office. 1945: British Delegate to UN Preparatory Commission. 1946-47: Member of the British Delegation to the General Assembly of the UN. 1946-47: Secretary of State for Air. 1947-50: Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. 1950: Delegate to the Colombo Conference on Economic Aid. 1950-51: Minister of Fuel and Power. 1950-70: MP (Labour) for Derby (South). 1959: Nobel Peace Prize. 1960: President of the International Council on Sport and Physical Recreation, UNESCO 1960: Albert Schweitzer Book Prize. 1961: Honorary Fellow of King's College, Cambridge 1964-70: Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Group, Parliamentary Labour Party. 1975: Olympia Diploma of Merit. 1976: Officer, Legion of Honour 1977: Papal Knight, Order of St Sylvester. Died 8 October 1982.


1044 archive box(es)

Language of Materials



With so large a collection, the organisation of the material posed some problems. As Lord Noel-Baker was invariably engaged in a number of quite different pursuits at anyone time, it was found to be impracticable to adopt a simple chronological arrangement of the papers so they were divided into broad areas as indicated in the catalogue. The material in each section was then arranged chronologically. Within certain sections, however, a heading like "International Affairs", covering over 800 files, was divided by topic or area and then arranged chronologically. Great care was taken never to split up or amalgamate the files or bundles that had originally been single units in Lord Noel- Baker's hands and so, naturally, there is some degree of overlap in the subjects covered in different sections. Thus material relating to disarmament may well be found in League of Nations papers in Section 4 labelled "International Affairs" as well as in Section 5 "Disarmament" which is devoted entirely to that topic.

The first four sections of the catalogue had been completed by the time of Lord Noel-Baker's death in 1982. More material subsequently came to light -almost 400 boxes of papers relating to every aspect of Lord Noel-Baker's life and career.

Consequently, extra files had to be added to the lists in Sections 1 to 4 using the nomenclature 1X to 4X for these "extra" papers. For the most part, the unit of description here is a whole box though some sections have been listed in greater detail.

Other Finding Aids

There are printed catalogues of the Noel-Baker Papers available for consultation in the reading room at Churchill Archives Centre and at the National Register of Archives in London. Volume 1 of the bound catalogues covers NBKR 1-4 and NBKR 1X-4X. Volume 2 covers NBKR 5-12. There are also unbound box lists to the papers of Irene Noel Baker (Acc 797 and 814) and to the additional file of material deposited by the University of Oslo in 1991.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was deposited at Churchill Archives Centre at various stages between 1978 and 1996. The bulk of the material was deposited initially by Lord Noel-Baker himself and subsequently by members of his family as well from as other sources.

Related Materials

See also the Noel-Baker Associated papers, GBR 0014/NBKR AS.


When the collection was deposited at Churchill Archives Centre it was largely in good physical condition, many bundles having been carefully wrapped in newspapers and stored away during Word War II and untouched since, but most of those papers which were less tightly wrapped were full of soot and the Conservationist fumigated and treated bundles that had been affected by damp.

This collection and series description was prepared by Natalie Adams of Churchill Archives Centre in May 2004. In 2013 the catalogue was converted to electronic form and upgraded by Philip Cosgrove and Emily Morris.

36 archive boxes of Irene Noel-Baker's material (formerly Acc 797 and Acc 814) deposited at Churchill Archives Centre have been returned to the family in two stages in 1991 and 2010. Any researchers wishing to consult this material should contact The British School at Athens in Athens, Greece, where it is being held.


Baker, Philip John Noel-, 1889-1982, Baron Noel-Baker, politician

2004-04-27 11:51:24+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