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Political and Colonial papers of Charles Roden Buxton


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There are two categories of papers in this collection: Political papers and Colonial papers.

Political papers - covering european politics and unofficial peace efforts in both World Wars. Includes pamphlets and books, many of which are by Buxton. Some of the pamphlets were issued by the Union of Democratic Control, others by the Society of Friends which Buxton and his wife joined in 1917.

Colonial papers - covering East and South Africa, the Protectorates, Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Includes letters and memoranda of William G. and Margaret Ballinger (1930-1935); correspondence with Tshekedi Khama (1931-1933); numerous memoranda and other papers of the Labour Party International Department, also papers associated with the Joint Select Committee on Closer Union in East Africa on which Buxton served as Joint Secretary with Ormsby-Gore.


  • Creation: 1908-1950, 1971


7 boxes

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 405].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 405

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 1060

Biographical / Historical

Charles Roden Buxton was born on the 27 November 1875 in London, England, and was educated at Harrow, and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1897 he went to South Australia to act briefly as Private Secretary to his father, who was the Governor. He then visited India, Malaya, Japan and China, and travelled to Texas where he spent 6 months on a cattle ranch, before returning to London.

In 1901 Buxton started to give lectures in English Literature at Morley College; he was Principal of the College from 1902-1910. He also began reading for the Bar, to which he was called in 1902, but felt increasingly drawn towards politics as the medium for promoting his social ideals. In 1906 he contested East Hertfordshire as a Liberal, but it was not until 1910 that he entered Parliament as Liberal Member for the Mid or Ashburton Division of Devon. In 1912, David Lloyd George invited him to become Honorary Secretary to the Land Enquiry Committee.

In 1917 Buxton joined the Independent Labour Party and became a Member for Accrington (1922-1923) and for Elland Division of the West Riding (1929-1931). In 1926 he was appointed Parliamentary Adviser to the Labour Party, a post he resigned in October 1939.

At the beginning of World War I, Buxton went on an unofficial mission to the Balkans with his brother Edward Noel Buxton, MP (Lord Noel-Buxton), with the object of securing the neutrality of Bulgaria and thus checking the spread of the war. In November 1914, with Ramsay MacDonald, Charles Trevelyan and E.D. Norel, he founded the Union of Democratic Control, to promote peace by negotiation on the basis of a settlement just to all those involved. From this time until his death in 1942 he worked unremittingly for peace and the equitable distribution of the world's land and resources.

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room and a handlist is also available for this collection.

Listed as no. 5 and 195 in Manuscript Collections (Africana and non-Africana) in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, Supplementary accessions to the end of 1977 and Cumulative Index, compiled by Wendy S. Byrne (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1978).

Political and Colonial papers of Charles Roden Buxton
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom