Papers of Sir Bryan Clieve Roberts (1923-1996)

Scope and Content

The collection is composed of letters from Roberts to his parents in Croydon, Surrey, on his way to Africa. The letters were written from aboard the 'SS Oranjefontein', from Capetown, and from Lusaka, Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia).

Administrative / Biographical History

Bryan Clieve Roberts was born on 22 March 1923. He was educated at Whitgift School, and then studied at Magdalen College, Oxford. During the Second World War he was commissioned in the Royal Artillery and the Royal Horse Artillery, 1941-1946, and he saw active service in Normandy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany, 1944-1945. In 1950 he was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn, and he was in chambers at the Temple, 1950-1951. There was also a period at the Treasury Solicitor's Department, 1951-1953. Roberts became Crown Counsel for Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), 1953-1960, and was also Director of Public Prosecutions there, 1960-1961. In 1961 he was appointed Queen's Counsel for the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, 1961. In Nyasaland (now Malawi), he was appointed Solicitor-General, 1961-1964, and Minister of Justice, 1962-1963. He became a Member of the Legislative Council, 1961-1963, and then he was made Attorney-General of Malawi, 1964-1972. Between 1965 and 1972 Roberts was Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President, Secretary to the Cabinet, and Head of the Malawi Civil Service. He also chaired the Malawi Army Council, the National Security and Intelligence Council, and the National Development and Planning Council. In 1973 he was appointed to the Lord Chancellor's Office in London, where he served until 1982 when he became a Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate. He was also a JP. Roberts received the CMG in 1964 and the KCMG in 1973. Sir Bryan Clieve Roberts died in 1996.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

From miscellaneous letters, lots 349, 384, and 386, at Bloomsbury Book Auctions, 19 September 1991, Accession no. E91.82 (part).


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Who's who 1995. London: A. and C. Black, 1995.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.