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The Papers of Sir Henry Willink

Reference Code: GBR/0014/WILL

Scope and Contents

Personal papers and memoirs


  • Creation: 1914 - 1970

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

Henry Urmston Willink was born in Liverpool in March 1894. He was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge. Before he could take his Cambridge degree he volunteered for service in the Royal Field Artillery during World War One, and gained the Military Cross, the Croix de Guerre, and was mention in dispatches. He was called to the bar (Inner Temple) in 1920, became a KC in 1935 and a Bencher of the Inner Temple in 1942.

After unsuccessfully contesting the Ipswich by-election in 1938, he was elected as an MP after winning the Croydon North by-election in June 1940. Until November 1943 he served as Special Commissioner for the Homeless in London and was then Minister of Health from 1943-5. He was made a Privy Councillor in 1943. After suffering from a period of ill health he was appointed Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, with effect from January 1949, and resigned his parliamentary seat at the end of 1948.

On his retirement as Master of Magdalene in 1966 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the College. During his time as Master he had served as Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University (1953–5). He was also a fellow of Eton College (1946–56), and Dean of the Court of Arches (1955–69). Willink chaired the Royal Commission on Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming (1949–51), a Committee on Medical Manpower (1955), and a Royal commission on the Police (1961/1962).

Willink was created a baronet in July 1957. He died in January 1973.


4 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

Copies of this finding aid are available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London. A more detailed list is available at Churchill Archives Centre.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were presented to Churchill Archives Centre by Lady Willink in 1973


This collection (fonds) level description and summary catalogue was prepared by Andrew Riley of Churchill Archives Centre in March 2005 using information from "Who Was Who, 1897-1996" (A and C Black) and information from an original catalogue.


Willink, Sir Henry Urmston, 1894-1973, 1st Baronet

2005-03-30 12:02:15+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