BRAITHWAITE, William John, 1876-1938, civil servant

Scope and Content

Papers collated by William John Braithwaite relating to the origins of the National Insurance system in the United Kingdom, 1908-1932, notably manuscript transcripts of Braithwaite's diaries, 1910-1912, and drafts of his memoirs relating to the period where he was working with the Rt Hon David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the scheme; letters and telegrams found loose in the diaries and memoirs, 1911-1932, from correspondents including Sir Robert Laurie Morant, the Rt Hon Charles Frederick Gurney Masterman, and James Arthur Salter, Baron Salter; official papers relating to the creation of the National Insurance Act, 1908-1912, including memoranda and reports on social insurance schemes in Germany, 1908, memoranda, reports and correspondence on the costs of the National Insurance scheme, the costs of alternative schemes, contributions, and accident compensation, numerous drafts and commentaries, and correspondence with various relevant organisations; printed, typescript and manuscript versions of the evidence given by Braithwaite before the Royal Commission on National Insurance, 1924-1925; correspondence between Braithwaite and the Stoke and Melford Club, 1912, on the effects of the National Insurance Act; press cuttings, 1911-1912, 1923, mainly relating to Braithwaite's appointments; a letter to Braithwaite from H Angst, British Consul in Zurich, 1910, giving a full account of an interview with Herr Babel, leader of the German Social Democratic party, warning of the danger of war; a photograph of Braithwaite.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born 1876: educated Winchester and Oxford University; joined civil service, 1898, as part of the Inland Revenue Department; sent on mission to Germany, 1908, to inquire into local taxation methods; Assistant Secretary, Board of Inland Revenue, 1910-1911; sent to investigate German system of health insurance, 1910; Personal Assistant to the Rt Hon David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1910-1911, during the creation of the National Insurance Act; appointed Secretary, National Health Insurance Joint Committee, 1911-1912; Commissioner for Special Purpose of Income Tax, 1913; CB, 1937; died 1938.


Arranged in sections as follows: diary and memoirs, official documents, Stoke and Melford Club, press cuttings, German letter, photograph.

Access Information


Other Finding Aids

Printed handlist available.

Archivist's Note

Sources: Who's Who 1897-1996 (A & C Black, 1996); British Library On-Line Public Access Catalogue 97. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by British Library of Political and Economic Science. Most documents may be photocopied.

Custodial History

Given by the family in 1957.


ed Sir Henry N Bunbury Lloyd George's Ambulance Wagon: being the memoirs of William J Braithwaite (Methuen and Co, London, 1957).

Geographical Names