Race and migration

Mark Abrams

The social scientist Mark Abrams was born Mark Abramowitz in 1906, to Jewish parents who had emigrated to London from the Baltic region of the Russian Empire. In 1933, Abrams returned to Britain after a fellowship in Washington, DC, to join the research department of the London Press Exchange, a leading advertising agency. It was in this job that Abrams conducted pioneering work in social investigation, including surveys of consumer behaviour and newspaper readership, that made him a hugely influential figure in the emerging discipline of sociology. During WWII Abrams honed his social investigative skills at the overseas department of the BBC, the psychological warfare board and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. In 1946 Abrams founded Research Services Ltd, remaining chairman until 1970. In the 1950s and 1960s Abrams worked closely with the Labour Party, undertaking voter surveys for them.

Relevant material includes:

  • ABMS 5/34: Abrams working papers on ‘race relations’ from 1954 to 1970. Subjects covered include the incidence of racial discrimination by British region, by political affiliation, attitudes towards immigrants and ‘Powellism’ in public life. Includes drafts of Mark Abram’s papers ‘Coloured Immigrants and the Electorate’ (1965), ‘Public Opinion and Immigration’ (1969), ‘The Incidence of Race Prejudice in Britain’ (n.d.) and correspondence regarding Mark Abrams’s Listener article ‘Attitudes of Whites Towards Blacks’ (1969).
  • ABMS 6/4/6: Letters to Abrams from members of the public after his December 1958 broadcast ‘Black and White’ on the BBC Home Service. Includes handwritten annotations from Mark Abrams.
  • ABMS 3/168: ‘National Survey of Race Prejudice’ (1968), a nationwide survey of white adults carried out on behalf of the Survey of Race Relations in Britain.
  • ABMS 3/169170: ‘Racial Prejudice: a Comparison of the Five Towns with the National Sample’ (1968). A report based on responses from a national sample and samples in five towns: Lambeth, Bradford, Wolverhampton, Ealing and Nottingham. Carried out on behalf of the Survey of Race Relations in Britain.
  • AMBS 3/180: Report undertaken on behalf of Political and Economic Planning to investigate the incidence of discrimination in the workplace, 1967.
  • AMBS 3/181: A PEP report on racial discrimination, requested by the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants and the Race Relations Board, 1966.
  • ABMS 4/4: minutes and working papers from the Labour Party committee on Race Relations and Immigration, 1963-1971.
ABMS 3 168 - National Survey of Race Prejudice

ABMS 3 168 – National Survey of Race Prejudice

Fenner Brockway

Politician and activist Fenner Brockway (1888-1988) was born in Kolkata to a Christian missionary family. In contrast to his upbringing, Brockway became a committed socialist, anti-imperialist, anti-racist and pacifist. Between 1942 and 1947 Brockway chaired the British Centre for Colonial Freedom, and in 1945 he helped establish the Congress of Peoples against Imperialism. From 1954 he was chairman of the Movement for Colonial Freedom. He cultivated personal relationships with Indian and African nationalist leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi.

In February 1950 Brockway returned to Parliament as a Labour MP for Eton and Slough. He used his political influence to agitate for better protections for immigrants from the New Commonwealth. Brockway’s commitment is hard to overstate; he introduced a bill outlawing racial discrimination for nine successive years before legislation was finally passed under the Labour government in 1964. Ironically, in 1964 Brockway lost his seat: he was defeated chiefly due to his progressive stance on race relations. Brockway continued his political agitation in the Lords.

Relevant material includes:

  • FEBR, Box 42, Item 210: correspondence regarding the citizenship rights of Kenyan Asians, 1969-1972.
  • FEBR, Box 52, Item 226: correspondence and information papers regarding a proposed Immigration Bill, as well as material relating to the Joint Committee Against Racialism. 1968-71.
  • FEBR, Box 52, Item 227: papers relating to refugees, 1968-72.
  • FEBR, Box 54, Item 242: Correspondence from 1965, including immigrants and race relations.
  • FEBR, Box 15, Item 58: press cuttings and Labour Party promotional material from the 1964 Slough election. Also contains material relating to the 1955 and 1959 elections.

Patrick George Buchan-Hepburn

Patrick George Buchan-Hepburn, Lord Hailes (1901-1974) was born in East Lothian to Sir Archibald Buchan-Hepburn and Edith Agnes Buchan-Hepburn. In 1931 the Conservative landslide carried him into Parliament as a MP for East Toxteth, Liverpool. By the early twentieth-century Liverpool had a well-established Black community, which faced violent hostility from the white population and was seen as a ‘social problem’ by local authorities. Buchan-Hepburn held the Toxteth seat until 1950.

In 1958 Buchan-Hepburn became Governor-General of the Federation of the West Indies, a new federation of ten Caribbean islands which the Colonial Office hoped would, in time, become an independent state. The federation dissolved in 1962; it had never made sense to the Caribbean islands themselves, who wanted separate independence from Britain.

Relevant material includes:

  • HAIS 5/8: Material about the experience of Caribbean migrants in Britain collected by Haile on tours of the country, following his appointment as Governor-General of the Federation of the West Indies.

Duncan Sandys

Conservative MP Baron Duncan-Sandys (1908-1987) initially found his political career much assisted by virtue of being son-in-law to Winston Churchill. In 1945, he fell victim to the Labour landslide, but returned to Parliament in 1950 as a MP for Streatham. In 1960, under Harold Macmillan’s government, Sandys was appointed Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. The Prime Minister found Sandys the perfect candidate to counteract the position of the colonial secretary Iain Macleod, who believed that Britain should not stand in the way of decolonisation.

Sandys’ relationship with Macleod was strained, due to their extreme differences in opinion. In 1968 Sandys he became involved in a very public row with Macleod over whether Kenyan Asians should be allowed to settle in Britain. This community were descendants of indentured labourers recruited by the British colonial administration at the turn of the twentieth century to build the Kenya-Uganda railway. The colonial government encouraged a system of racial hierarchy, giving preferential treatment to Kenyan Asians over Black Africans. Independence and the nationalist government stoked old racial tensions, encouraging Kenyan Asians to seek refuge in Britain. Despite Britain’s role in creating the conditions for this persecution, Sandys was strongly against accepting Kenyan Asian immigration, in keeping with his overall hostility to immigration, and supported the restrictive measures taken by the home secretary, James Callaghan.

Relevant material includes:

  • DSND 8: Duncan Sandys’ papers relating to his time as Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, 1960-1965. This series includes telegrams, letters and conversations, as well as press cuttings relating to Sandys’ visits to African states in the early 1960s.
  • DSND 14/14: Duncan Sandys’ papers relating to Kenya, 1964-1969.
  • DSND 13/20: Correspondence relating to immigration, mostly from members of the public, 1966-1969.

Quintin McGarel Hogg

Quintin McGarel Hogg, second Viscount Halisham (1907-2001) started his career as a lawyer but quickly entered Parliament, joining as the Conservative MP for Oxford City in 1938. In 1963. He disclaimed his peerage for life, and was elected Conservative MP for St Marylebone, 1963-1970. He made an unsuccessful bid for the premiership after Harold Macmillan retired due to ill health. In 1964 he was appointed Secretary of State for Education and Science and between 1966 and 1970 he served as opposition spokesman on Home Affairs. Halisham served as Lord Chancellor, 1970-1974 and 1979-87.

Lord Halisham’s grandfather was also named Quintin Hogg, a merchant who consolidated his fortune in the tea and sugar industries during the mid-nineteenth century. Hogg’s brother-in-law, slave-owner and merchant, Charles McGarel was a major beneficiary of the British government’s scheme to compensate slave-owners following Abolition. McGarel, having no children to leave his fortune to, bequeathed it to Hogg, on the condition he integrate McGarel into the family name.

Halisham’s papers includes a large amount of material relating to the Commonwealth Immigrants Act and the Race Relations Act, 1968.

Relevant material includes:

  • HLSM 2/41/87 and 88: Papers relating to the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill and the Race Relations Bill, 1965-1968. Includes copies of Conservative Research Department and Advisory Committee on Policy papers, on immigration and repatriation. Also includes copies of Powell’s speeches, and a standard letter sent by Quintin Hogg to members of the public who contacted him about immigration.
  • Also see HLSM 2/41/138 and 139 for material relating to the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill and the Race Relations Bill. Includes Conservative Research Department memorandums, notes for speeches by Quintin Hogg, letters. Topics include the British Nationality Act and Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech.
  • HLSM 2/41/100: Papers relating to a House of Lords debate on emigration, 1966, including Quinton Hogg’s remarks on the ‘brain drain’.
  • HLSM 2/41/101: Correspondence, speech notes and research material relating to the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, 1966.
  • HLSM 2/41/137: Correspondence with James Callaghan about polygamous marriages, visa extensions and medical examination of immigrants, and Conservative Research Department memorandum.
  • HLSM 2/41/140-144: Material relating to the Race Relations Bill. Including material regarding Human Rights legislation, Conservative Research Department memorandums, a note on ‘Race Relations and the Law in Britain’ by Quintin Hogg, notes from James Callaghan, correspondence relating to Hogg giving a speech at the Race Relation Board.
  • HLSM 2/41/145-148: Letters from the public concerning Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood Speech’, Hogg’s speech during the Second Reading of the Race Relations Bill and media appearances by Hogg.
  • HLSM 2/41/149: Draft speech and Conservative Research Department memorandum relating to the Immigration Appeals Bill, 1968.

Aubrey Jones

The politician, industrialist and politician Aubrey Jones (1911-1930) was born in Glamorgan to a coalminer and a schoolteacher. Despite his father being an ardent trade unionist, Jones moved towards the right-wing. Following his education at the London School of Economics, Jones began a journalistic career working for the Times. In 1950 Jones won the newly created Birmingham Hall Green seat for the Conservatives. However, Jones was consistently side-lined by various Conservative administrations for being too liberal, particularly on issues of ‘race relations’ and immigration.

Relevant material includes:

  • AUJO 4/28: Correspondence, articles and papers on immigration, including a speech by Aubrey Jones to the City of London Young Conservatives, 1964-5.

Neil Kinnock

Papers of the former leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition Neil Kinnock (1942-).

Relevant material includes:

  • KNNK 8/67: Briefings and cuttings regarding the effect of the European single market on movement of peoples within the European Community, including notes from Alistair Darling on the implications of this for immigration and asylum policy, 1990-1991.
  • KNNK 19/2/1: Paper from Neil Kinnock’s visit to Bradford in 1983. Includes a briefing on ‘race relations’ in the city.
ABMS 5 34 pt 3 - Coloured Immigrants & the Electorate

ABMS 5 34 pt 3 – Coloured Immigrants & the Electorate

George Ambrose Lloyd

George Ambrose Lloyd, Lord Lloyd of Dolobran (1879-1941) was a colonial administrator and politician. He was deeply enamoured with the colonial heroic fantasy, fulfilled when he became governor of Bombay in 1918. As Lloyd faced mounting public unrest in resistance to British colonial rule, he clung ever stronger to his belief that the Indian people required the leadership of white Britons, founding the India Defence League in 1933 to oppose the granting of Home Rule to India.

Relevant material includes:

  • GLLD 16/6: Papers relating to ‘Alien Immigration’. Including a Royal Commission report on Alien Immigration, 1903; Aliens (Prevention of Crime) Bill 1911, a failed bill that would have enabled ‘aliens’ who had committed a crime to be deported, as well as anti-immigrant pamphlets notes and press cuttings.

John Newbigin

John Newbigin was born in 1947 in Liverpool. Before becoming Policy Adviser to Neil Kinnock in 1986, Newbigin had a career as a youth and community worker with various London organisations, including the Inner London Education Authority, Avenues Unlimited, Brixton Young Families Housing Aid Association. Newbigin also served as Director of the London Youth Festival for 1984-1985.

Following Kinnock’s departure as Labour Party Leader following the 1992 election, Newbigin turned to the field of Arts Policy. Including working as Special Adviser at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, 1997-2000.

Newbigin worked as a Policy Adviser to Neil Kinnock, Leader of the Opposition, between 1986 and 1992 when Kinnock resigned as party leader following Labour’s loss in the general election. Newbigin then returned to the field of arts policy, first as Assistant to the Chairman of Enigma Productions, 1992-97, then as Special Adviser at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, 1997-2000, before becoming Head of Corporate Relations at Channel 4 Television, 2000-05.

Relevant material includes:

  • NEWB 2: Papers and correspondence on Black Sections, 1978-1992. Labour Party Black sections was the caucus for Labour Party members of African, Caribbean and Asian descent, who organised around the label of ‘political blackness’ to highlight their unified experiences in a systemically racist society.

Davidson Nicol

Scientist and diplomat Davidson Nicol (1924-1994) was born in Sierra Leone. His family belonged to the elite Creole community descended from freed slaves who settled in Sierra Leone in the late 1700s and early 1800s. He studied at Christ’s College, being the first Black African to graduate with First Class Honours from the University of Cambridge. After earning his PhD and medical degree, he taught at Ibadan University, before returning to Cambridge to take up a Fellowship at Christ’s in 1957. Nicol was the first to analyse the breakdown of insulin in the human body, a breakthrough discovery for the treatment of diabetes. Between 1964-9 Nicol was chairman of the University of Sierra Leone, serving as Vice Chancellor between 1966 and 1969.

Nicol became Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations in 1969. He served until 1971, when he became the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Between 1972 and 1982 he served the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. Nicol was also appointed head of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

Nicol was a published author under the pen name Abioseh Nicol. His publications include short stories, poetry, music and a biography of Africanus Horton, one of the founders of African Nationalism.

Nicol’s papers (NICL) are closed until they have been catalogued.

Phillip Noel-Baker

The politician and Nobel prize winner Baron Phillip Noel-Baker (1889-1982) used his political influence to work towards disarmament. Noel-Baker (who added ‘Noel’ to his surname after marrying Irene Noel in 1915) entered Parliament in 1929 as a Labour MP for Coventry, after previously working with the League of Nations. In 1938, Noel-Baker proposed a motion to Parliament that recognised the ‘deplorable treatment’ of Jewish Germans in the wake of Kristallnacht and called for a coordinated response to the ‘refugee problem’. Noel-Baker’s motion spurred on the development of the Kindertransport operation. Following the Second World War Noel-Baker re-joined the Foreign Office and was appointed Secretary of State for the Commonwealth (1947-1950). During this time, he supported continuation of the British imperial presence. His commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament led to him being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1959, and continued to work towards less antagonistic relations between Britain and the USSR, opposing the United States’ boycott of the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980.

Relevant material includes:

  • NBKR 3/180: Papers and pamphlets regarding the 1968 Race Relations bill.
  • NBKR 4/572-596: Correspondence on individual refugees and internees (German nationals in Britain and Jewish-German refugees during were often interned together in ‘enemy Alien camps’ during WWII) and press releases on European migration following the Second World War.

George Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers

George Pitt-Rivers (1890-1966) was an author, anthropologist, proponent of eugenics and supporter of the British Union of Fascists. The grandson of Augustus Pitt-Rivers, the famous anthropologist and founder of the Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford, George Pitt-Rivers was born into the highest echelons of the economic and intellectual elite. After serving and being wounded in the First World War, Pitt-Rivers embarked upon an extensive publishing career, which gave voice to his anti-Semitic, anti-Bolshevik and eugenicist views.

In 1927, after anthropological fieldwork in the South Pacific, Pitt-Rivers published The Clash of Culture and the Contact of Races (1927), in which he argued that the intermingling of different racial groups led to societal collapse. His anthropological work aligned with his political convictions. Pitt-Rivers sympathised with Nazi Germany’s efforts at population control and ethnic cleansing. He was also a supporter of Oswald Moseley’s British Union of Fascists, an attachment that got the anthropologist interned during the Second World War under the Defence Regulation Act 18B.

Pitt-Rivers’s far-right sympathies did not see him excluded from mainstream eugenicist and anthropological circles. George Pitt-Rivers was a member of the council of the Eugenics Society, which included such figures as Marie Stopes and Julian Huxley. He was also general secretary of the International Union for the Scientific Investigation of Population Problems, chairman of the British Population Society and elected fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Relevant material includes:

  • PIRI 1/6: Pitt-Rivers’s correspondence relating to Anthropology and Eugenics, including with Marie Stopes and the Royal Anthropological Institute.
  • PIRI 2/1: Pitt-Rivers’s papers relating to eugenics, including the Eugenics Society.
  • PIRI 3/1 and 3/2: Papers relating to anthropology, eugenics and other topics classified as ‘scientific’ by Pitt-Rivers.
  • PIRI 10: Pitt-Rivers’s collection of anthropological photographs, including from his own expeditions to the South Pacific.

Jack Pole

Historian Jack Pole (1922-2010) is best known for his work on liberty, equality and representation in early American politics. Pole was born in London to affluent parents, who moved in bohemian, intellectual and left-wing circles in Hampstead. After graduating from Oxford in 1949, he studied for a PhD at Princeton University.

Between 1963-1979, Pole was a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. Pole was deeply affected by the Black thinkers he had met in America, such as W. E. B. du Bois, and added their works to the syllabus.

Between 1979 and 1989 he held the Rhodes chair of American history at Oxford University. Pole introduced major changes to the American history course at Oxford, adding papers on slavery and Civil Rights. He was influential in the decision to deny Margaret Thatcher an honorary degree, arguing that her policies had harmed British higher education.

Relevant material includes:

  • POLE 2: Papers from a Parliamentary committee Pole sat in the early 1960s, working out the principles of a potential British anti-discrimination law. The committee was chaired firstly by Fenner Brockway (who is also included in this research guide) and then by Maurice Orbach. They drafted a bill, which was introduced to Parliament. It was unsuccessful, but influenced the Race Relations Act passed by Harold Wilson’s Labour government in 1965.

ABMS 5 34 pt 3 - Study Group on Immigration

ABMS 5 34 pt 3 – Study Group on Immigration

ABMS 5 34 pt 3 - Study Group on Immigration

Enoch Powell

Conservative politician Enoch Powell’s (1912-1998) papers cover his career in extensive detail. He became an MP for Wolverhampton in 1950 and became known for his vocal opposition post-war Commonwealth immigration. In 1968, Powell gave his now famous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in which he predicted that public unrest would follow immigration. The speech clarified Powell’s reputation as a frank and outspoken racist. The outcry it caused got him fired from the shadow cabinet the next day, but it also garnered him sympathy from members of the public who shared his hostile views. In 1985, following the Handsworth Riots, which were sparked by police discrimination towards the Black community, Powell placed responsibility for the disorder on immigration, and used it to argue for voluntary repatriations.

Relevant material includes:

  • POLL 2/1 and 2/2: Powell’s desk and personal diaries for the years 1946-1996.
  • POLL 3/2/1/3: Papers and correspondence on settlement within the British Empire, and the Empire Settlement Bill, particularly emigration from Britain to Australia and New Zealand, 1952.
  • POLL 3/2/1/20: Texts of Powell’s speeches on immigration from February 1968 to October 1976, including the ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech.
  • POLL 4/1/4: Correspondence with personal friends following Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in Birmingham, 1968.
  • POLL 8/1: Letters received by Powell from the public on immigration, 1968-1997.
  • POLL 8/2: Statistics and press cuttings relating to immigration, collected by Powell.
  • POLL 12/3/7-15: Press cuttings from the period following Powell’s 1968 speech.
  • Also see POLL 3/2/4 for Powell’s journalistic projects and POLL 6 for Powell’s publications.

The Papers of Lord Stewart of Fulham and Baroness Stewart of Alvechurch

Michael Stewart (1906-1990) had a long political career as both an opposition MP and later cabinet member. Stewart was elected Labour MP for Fulham East in 1945 and kept the seat until 1979, by which point the constituency had been renamed Hammersmith and Fulham.

In 1964 Harold Wilson appointed him Education Secretary. In 1965-1966 Stewart served as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, then First Secretary for Economic Affairs in 1966-1967. While serving as Foreign Secretary between 1968 and 1970, Stewart gave his support to two controversial policy decisions. He strongly supported the American position in Vietnam, to the outrage of the anti-war left. Stewart also facilitated the British government’s secret supplying of arms to the Nigerian federal government during the Nigerian-Biafran war, even while there was evidence that government forces were engaged in ethnic violence against the Ibo people. A naval blockade was imposed with explicit aim of creating mass starvation; between 500,000 and 2 million Biafran civilians died of starvation.

Relevant items from the collection include:

  • STWT 7/1/6: Papers from the Manifesto Group of the Parliamentary Labour Party, which include statement on race and immigration, October 1976 to April 1981.
  • STWT 7/7: Miscellaneous Labour Party Research Department papers on race and immigration, July 1976 to February 1977.

Margaret Thatcher

During the premiership of Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013), Britain experienced several violent clashes between Black communities and the police. In 1984, Thatcher’s government passed the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. The Act extended police powers of stop and search, giving police new national powers to stop and search anyone suspected of possessing stolen goods. These controversial ‘sus’ laws had been criticised by Black communities in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and London since the 1960s.

Relevant material includes:

  • THCR 1/12/2: Copy of Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech (April 1968), annotated by Margaret Thatcher.
  • THCR 1/12/36: Briefing notes on ‘law and order’, including a report on ‘The Ethnic Origins of Prisoners’, June 1986. See also THCR 1/12/49 for papers relating to crime rates in Wandsworth and Lambeth, 1989.
  • THCR 2/4/1/5: Letters received by Margaret Thatcher on immigration between January and February 1978, after she spoke of her fears of Britain being ‘swamped’ by immigrants during a television interview.
  • THCR 2/6/1/139-141: Papers relating to immigration from 1975 1978. Includes correspondence with MPs, David Lane (Commission for Racial Equality) and Narindar Saroop (UK Anglo-Asian Conservative Society).
  • THCR 2/6/2/83: Papers relating to a meeting between Margaret Thatcher and MPs to discuss immigration on 8th July 1980. This file (and THCR 2/6/2/82) also includes papers relating the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill, 1983.
  • THCR 5/1/3/14: Papers for speech ideas on immigration and ‘race relations’, including a Conservative Research Department briefing note on the Race Relations bill, 1976.

Frank Whittle 

The inventor of the jet engine, Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle (1907-1996) chaired the Migration Council between 1950 and 1951. The purpose of the Council was to encourage British migration to the Commonwealth, particularly Australia, Canada and New Zealand, to exploit the natural resources of those countries. 

Relevant material includes:

  • WHTL A.343-A.348: Correspondence, drafts of articles and speeches, memoranda and notes from Whittle’s Chairmanship of the Migration Council. 

Papers of Peter and Phyllis Willmott

Sociologist Peter Willmott (1923-2000) joined the Labour Party research department in 1952, where he met Michael Young, who was then the department head. In 1954 the two men set up the Institute of Community Studies in Bethnal Green.

Relevant material includes:

  • WLMT 4/5: correspondence and papers relating to the book, The New East End – Kinship, Race and Conflict (2006), co-authored by Michael Young, Kate Gavron and Geoff Dench, 1991-1998.

Michael Wolff

Journalist and Conservative MP Michael Wolff (1930-1976) became a member of the Conservative Research Department in 1966, which had special responsibility to advise the leader of the Party, then Edward Heath.

Relevant material includes:

  • WLFF 3/2/21: Papers on the expulsion of Asians from Uganda, a population which had migrated to the country as a result of British imperial policies. Despite having British citizenship, the Conservative government were ambivalent about receiving them.
  • WLFF 3/2/101: Wolff’s papers from the Conservative Research Department on immigration and ‘race relations’, 1968-1969.
  • WLFF 3/3/22: Wolff’s papers from the Conservative Research Department on immigration, 1972-1947.
  • WLFF 3/4/19: Publicity material from the 1970 General Election containing material on immigration.

February 2022