Papers of Sir David Keir

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection contains:

  • Council and Committee papers of:
    • the Royal Technical College of East Africa (1951-1962)
    • the Royal College in Nairobi (formerly the Royal Technical College of East Africa) (1958-1964)
    • the Provisional Council of the University of East Africa (1961-1965)
    • the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology (1953-1962)
    • Kumasi College of Technology (1953-1961)
    • Fourah Bay College (1953-1961)
  • Papers relating to the 1955 and 1958 Working Parties on Higher Education in East Africa (1953-1963)
  • Papers relating to Keir's work as Chairman of the Commission on Medical Education in Malaya (1953), Chairman of the Survey of Technical and Commercial Education in Northern Rhodesia (1960), and Adviser to the Government of Iraq on the University of Baghdad (1956)
  • Papers relating to education and educational institutions in the West Indies, Singapore, Pakistan and Nigeria (1957-1964)
  • Printed material (college brochures, calendars, annual reports etc.) mainly relating to Nigeria and East Africa (1945-1958)
  • Miscellaneous papers about education and wartime subjects, and about proposals for a Chair of Race Relations at Oxford University (1935-1953)

The bulk of the papers in the collection relate to Keir's work with ACCCAST and COCAST.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir David Lindsay Keir was born on the 22 May 1895 in Bellingham, Northumberland, England. He was educated at Glasgow Academy and was in his second year at Glasgow University when World War I broke out; he joined the King's Own Scottish Borderers. After the war he entered New College, Oxford.

During the 1920s and 1930s Keir worked at the University of Oxford. He held the posts of Dean, later Estates Bursar, of University College, and was University Lecturer in English Constitutional History (1931-1939). In 1939 he was appointed President and Vice-Chancellor of the Queen's University in Belfast; he returned to Oxford in 1949 as Master of Balliol College from which office he retired in 1965.

Keir was knighted in 1946 and received many honorary degrees including a DCL from the University of Oxford (1960). At Oxford he also received honorary fellowships from University, Balliol, and New Colleges, and was an honorary fellow and associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Keir died on the 2 October 1973.

Between 1954 and 1963 Keir was involved with the work of the Advisory Committee on Colonial Colleges of Arts, Sciences and Technology (ACCCAST) which had been formed in 1949. In July 1957 ACCCAST was reconstituted so that it could continue to provide services for colleges in independent countries of the Commonwealth: it became the Council for Overseas Colleges of Arts, Science and Technology (COCAST).

In 1954 Keir was appointed Chairman of ACCCAST and in the same year became ACCCAST (later COCAST) representative on the Council of the Royal Technical College of East Africa (1954-1963). In February 1959 he was also COCAST representative at the official opening of the Singapore Polytechnic by H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh. Keir ended his service on COCAST by undertaking, in 1962, a journey to East Africa, Rhodesia, Khartoum and Malta to report on the progress of twenty seven universities, colleges and other educational institutions.

In addition to his work for ACCCAST and COCAST, Keir was Chairman of the 1953 Commission on Medical Education in Malaya, led two Working Parties on Higher Education in East Africa (1955, 1958), was an Adviser to the Iraqi Government on the constitution of the University of Baghdad (1956), and took part in a Visitation to review the progress and advise on the development of the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology (1959). Keir was also Chairman of a Survey of Technical and Commercial Education in Northern Rhodesia (1960), and a member of the Provisional Council of the University of East Africa (1962-1963).

Conditions Governing Access

Bodleian reader's ticket required.

Note

Collection level description created by Marion Lowman, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

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. 199 in Manuscript Collections of Africana in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, compiled by Louis B. Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1968).

Conditions Governing Use

No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.

Custodial History

Deposited with the Oxford Colonial Records Project.

Geographical Names