Papers of Sydney Herbert Wood

Scope and Content

In 1953, when S H Wood stepped down as Chair from the German Education Reconstruction (GER), three of his colleagues (now based in Germany) presented him with a leather box containing letters from many of those he had worked with, met, or provided exchange opportunities to. The collection comprises the leather box, the letters he received, and a small number of photographs.

Administrative / Biographical History

It seems to have been Sydney H Wood's suggestion, on the outbreak of war, that the British Council should extend cultural hospitality to Germans, Austrians, Poles, and Czechs who had taken refuge in England. As representative of the Board of Education on the British Council he submitted a plan for this to Lord Lloyd who was the chairman of the British Council. On the basis of his plan the Resident Foreigners Committee, later the Home Division of the British Council was established. Its scheme of cultural hospitality for refugees was interrupted by heavy bombing. The fall of France required the British Council to devote its energies to the service of soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allies.

In 1941 a group of interested individuals, which included Wood, urged the government to take some definite steps to help German teachers and social workers in England to prepare themselves' for a return to Germany after the war. This attempt did not prove to be successful.

By 1942 Wood was chairman of the Home Division [of the British Council] he wanted to do something to relieve civilian refugees especially those from Germany. He identified the likely significance of this group once the war was over. Wood therefore sought to promote a revival of activity in cultural hospitality for Germans. With his wife; Phyllis, Sydney went on to be a founding member of the German Educational Reconstruction (GER) board. Both retired from the Board (S H Wood as Chair) in 1953.

Access Information


Custodial History

Transferred to the archives by Wood's family in July 2013


None expected

Related Material

The archives also holds the records of the German Educational Reconstruction RefNo GER.