Commonwealth Press Union

Scope and Content

Records and publications of the Empire Press Union, later (from 1950) called the Commonwealth Press Union. Includes a limited number of official records relating to the administration of the organisation (reports, financial statements, rules, correspondence etc., several items being mounted in a volume entitled 'The Empire Press Union Guard Book') 1909-1998; circulars and bulletins covering the periods 1911-1924, 1929-1939 and 1964-1986; a good series of Conference papers and reports, 1909-1973, together with associated albums of news cuttings, 1919-1946, and photographs, c.1950-1985; a few publications, 1911-1978; a small series of Fellowship Scheme leaflets, 1965-1970; and papers relating to Sir Harry Brittain (the founder of the Empire Press Union) with other papers on the history of the organisation.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Empire Press Union was founded by Harry Brittain in 1909, it became the Commonwealth Press Union in 1950. Members are newspapers of which there are currently over 700 from 50 countries in membership. These are represented by their proprietors, senior executives and editors. The Union's aim is to uphold the ideas and values of the Commonwealth and to promote, through the Press, understanding and goodwill among its members; to defend Press freedom; to support the interests of publishing bodies and individuals; to maintain a comprehensive training programme; to work forimproved facilities for reporting and transmitting news. The CPU provides training and defendsthe freedom of the Press. It organises training courses, seminars, workshops, exchanges and three fellowships: Harry Brittain fellowship, Gordon Fisher fellowship and the CPU fellowship in international journalism. Conferences are held every two years. It vigorously defends press freedom, making use of its close links with governments and also with other established Commonwealth bodies, with the shared aims including the pursuit of better education and the protection of human rights. It monitors and opposes all measures and proposals likely to affect the freedom of the press in any part of the Commonwealth.


The records have been grouped according to type, as described under Scope and Content. Documents relating to conferences have been grouped into subseries for each conference, with the exception of the volumes of press cuttings, which appeared to form a separate series, and the photographs.

Access Information

Open although advance notice should be given. Access to individual items may be restricted under the Data Protection Act or Freedom of Information legislation. Access to at least one file in this collection is resticted by this.

Acquisition Information

Donated to ICS by the Commonwealth Press Union in [?1999].

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued to file level (see link to repository catalogue).

Archivist's Note

Compiled 2000, revised by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project, Aug 2001.

Conditions Governing Use

A photocopying service is available at the discretion of the ICS Library staff. Copies are supplied solely for research or private study. Requests to publish, or quote from original material should be submitted to the Information Resources Manager.