JENNINGS, Sir (William) Ivor (1903-1965)

Scope and Content

Legal and educational papers of Sir (William) Ivor Jennings, 1928-1965; comprising: A. Education: material collected by Jennings as Vice-Chancellor of Ceylon University, Chairman of the Royal University of Malta Commission and a member of other educational bodies in or relating to Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kuwait, Malaya and Uganda. B. Constitutional issues: material on constitutional and legal issues in Australia, Canada, Ceylon, Cyprus, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Gibraltar, Japan, Malaya, Maldives, Malta, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Singapore, South Africa, and Sudan; C. Books and other writings: including material relating to British Commonwealth of Nations, Colonial Constitution Law, Laws and Liberties of England, Road to Peradeniya (unpublished autobiography); D. Other material: material outside previous other categories, including British government publications and volumes of press cuttings.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir (William) Ivor Jennings, constitutional lawyer and educationalist, was born in Bristol on 16 May 1903 and died in Cambridge on 19 December 1965. Educated at Queen Elizabeth's Hospital, Bristol Grammar School and St Catharine's College, Cambridge, he had already begun a university career before he was called to the bar in 1928. His first academic appointment was as lecturer in law at Leeds University in 1925-1929, following which he taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where he was first lecturer, (1929-1930) and then reader in English Law (1930-1940). His publications in this period included works on the poor law code, housing law, public health law, town and country planning law and laws relating to local government. He also wrote on constitutional matters in The Law and the Constitution (1933), Cabinet Government (1936) and Parliament (1939).
Appointed principal of University College, Ceylon in 1940, he was its first Vice-Chancellor (1942-1955) when it became the University of Ceylon. He described his life there in Road to Peradeniya, an unpublished autobiography (ref: C/14); see also Jennings' The Kandy Road (ed. H.A.I. Goonetileke, University of Peradeniya, 1993). He was frequently consulted on constitutional, educational and other matters and was Chairman of the Ceylon Social Services Commission (1944-1946), a member of the Commission on University Education in Malaya (1947), a member of the Commission on the Ceylon Constitution (1948), President of the Inter-University Board of India (1949-1950), Constitutional Adviser and Chief Draughtsman, Pakistan (1954-1955), a member of the Malayan Constitutional Commission (1956-1957), and Chairman of the Royal University of Malta Commission. He was also Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia, in 1938-1939 and Visiting Professor, Australian National University in 1950.
As the colonial period ended, he became particularly interested in the Commonwealth and the newly independent nations and was valued as a commentator on the subject. He delivered the 1948-1949 Wayneflete lectures at Magdelen College, Oxford on `The Commonwealth in Asia', the 1950 George Judah Cohen Memorial Lecture at the University of Sydney on `The Commonwealth of Nations', the 1957 Montague Burton lecture on International Relations at the University of Leeds on `Nationalism, Colonialism and Neutralism' and a series on `Problems of the New Commonwealth' at the Commonwealth Studies Center (now closed) at Duke University, South Carolina, USA in 1958. He re-published an earlier work on laws of the empire as Constitutional Laws of the Commonwealth (3ed. 1956) and published The Approach to Self-Government (1956) and works on Ceylon and Pakistan.
In 1954 he became Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge and Downing Professor of the Laws of England in 1962, holding both posts until his death. In later life he returned to his study of the British constitution, with the publication of Party Politics (1960-62). He was knighted in 1948, made a QC in 1949, and awarded the KBE in 1955.


Files were sorted into the 4 series described above. Within these files were left as Jennings arranged them, with same titles; subgroups A-B are arranged by country, C by publication, D by type of publication; correspondence was already located with subject matter.

Access Information

Open although advance notice should be given. Access to individual items may be restricted under the Data Protection Act or the Freedom of Information Act.

Acquisition Information

The papers were purchaed by ICS from Lady Jennings in 1983.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued to file level. See link to repository catalogue..

Archivist's Note

Compiled 1997, revised by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

A photocopying service is available at the discretion of the Library staff. Copies are supplied solely for research and private study. Requests to publishj original material should be submitted to the Information Resources Manager.