The Letters Relating to the Midland Union of Conservative Associations

Scope and Content

These papers include correspondence to the following officers (ie officials) of the Midland Union of Conservative Associations: John C. Shaw, who served as Honorary Secretary and Central Office Agent for the Midland Area until his retirement in 1912; A. Clayton Barker, who served under Shaw from 1896, becoming Assistant Secretary and then Secretary; Harry Pratt, Honorary Organising Secretary in the 1920s [There are letters to others,as well]. The bulk of the correspondence is to Barker. Barker was also involved in the foundation of the West Midlands Federation of the Junior Imperial League in 1926 - of which he became its first Honorary Secretary and then Chairman. He was elected a member of the Midland Association of Conservative and Unionist Agents in 1907 and served as Vice-Chairman and Chairman. He was also one of the founders and first Chairman of the Midland Agents Unemployment Insurance Fund. [A small amount of the correspondence to Barker relates to these other activities]. Other correspondents include Lord Austin; Stanley Baldwin; Anne Chamberlain; Sir Austen Chamberlain; Joseph Chamberlain; Neville Chamberlain; Lord George Hamilton; Sidney Law; Lord Plymouth; H. Pratt; Lord Windsor.

Administrative / Biographical History

The National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations was founded in 1867. The Midland Union was one of a number of area organisations (which also included the North Western and Southern Areas) which made up the National Union organisation. Between 1886 and 1930 the Midland Union covered most of the counties in the West and East Midlands. Separate provincial Areas were established in 1930, after which the name Midland Union continued to be used for the West Midlands Area only. However, by the 1950s the Midland Union only comprised of 58 constituencies in the West Midlands. As a result the provincial Area decided to adopt the name used for it by Conservative Central Office since the 1931- the West Midlands Area.

Reference: The Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts, Bodleian Library, Finding aid to the Conservative Party Archive (CPA) ( ( ). Accessed April 2002.


The letters are arranged chronologically.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was purchased in 1985.

Other Finding Aids

Please see online archive catalogue for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department also holds the papers of Austen, Joseph and Neville Chamberlain together with other Chamberlain family papers.

Geographical Names