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Archive of Sir Kenneth William Blackburne


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  1. Correspondence, etc. relating to cadetship in Nigeria, 1929-1950
  2. Diaries and Colonial Office letters concerning period of office in Palestine, 1935-1940
  3. Letters written by Blackburne and his wife to his parents and her mother, 1935-1941, 1943-1946, 1950-1956
  4. Correspondence and a report relating to period of office in the Gambia, 1941-1943
  5. Correspondence, notes and a diary relating to period of office in the West Indies, 1943-1950
  6. Correspondence, a diary and other papers relating to work at the Colonial Office and posting as Governor of the Leeward Islands, 1948-1957
  7. Reports, booklets, press cuttings, photographs, printed material, etc. concerning the Leeward Islands, 1807-1977
  8. Correspondence, press cuttings and transcripts of speeches relating to Governorship of Jamaica and the island's independence, 1957-1963
  9. Correspondence, press cuttings, photographs, etc. concerning departure from Jamaica, and relating to the Turks, Caicos and Cayman Islands, 1958-1978
  10. Diaries kept by Blackburne and Lady Blackburne in Jamaica, 1958-1962
  11. Letters of congratulation on awards, notes for speeches and miscellaneous printed material, 1938-1981
  12. Drafts, notes and top copies of Lasting Legacy - a story of British Colonialism, c 1943-1977
  13. Miscellaneous printed material, 1940-1974


  • Creation: 1929-1963


3.75 Linear metres (25 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 460].

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Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 460

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 785

Biographical / Historical

Kenneth William Blackburne (1907-1980) was a colonial administrator. Joining the Colonial Service in 1930, he was sent to Nigeria for his cadetship and spent five years there, first as Assistant District Officer, then as Private Secretary to the office of Lieutenant Governor. In 1935 he was made Assistant District Commissioner for Nazareth, Palestine. In 1938, he became Acting District Commissioner for Galilee, but returned to Great Britain six months later. His next three years were spent in the Colonial Office, as Acting Assistant Principal, then Principal. In 1941, he became Colonial Secretary of the Gambia, where he compiled a comprehensive report on Development and Welfare in the Gambia. Another move in 1943 saw him take up the post of Administrative Secretary to the Comptroller for Development and Welfare in the West Indies. During this period he was based mainly in Barbados. From 1947 he worked in London as the Colonial Office's first Director of Information Services. From 1950-1956 he served as Governor of the Leeward Islands, where he was particularly concerned with building preservation and restoration. His final postings before his retirement were in Jamaica, where he became Governor in 1957, then Governor General after the island's independence in 1962. Awarded the OBE, KCMG, GBE and GCMG, he was also the author of Development and Welfare in the Gambia, (s.l.,Bathurst, 1943) and Lasting Legacy - a story of British Colonialism, (London, Johnson, 1976). In 1935 he married Bridget Senhouse Constant Wilson, with whom he had two children.

Other Finding Aids

Listed as no. 562 in Manuscript Collections in Rhodes House Library Oxford, Accessions 1978-1994 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1996) 1996.

Custodial History

The first approach by the Oxford Colonial Records Project to Sir Kenneth Blackburne was made on the 4th October 1963 and his papers were surveyed by the Project on the 12th February 1964. A series of negotiations between the Project and Sir Kenneth Blackburne continued until 1970 regarding a possible date of deposit. The papers were finally offered to the Project by his son in 1980.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were donated to the library by Lady Blackburne through the Oxford Development Records Project in 1982.

Catalogue of the archive of Sir Kenneth William Blackburne
Collection Level Description by Paul Davidson; EAD version 2023 by Becky Gainsford
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom