Correspondence and papers of Sir Kenneth William Blackburne

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 GB 162 Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 460
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      25 boxes

Scope and Content

  • Correspondence, etc. relating to cadetship in Nigeria, 1929-1950
  • Diaries and Colonial Office letters concerning period ofoffice in Palestine, 1935-1940
  • Letters written by Blackburne and his wife to his parents and her mother, 1935-1941, 1943-1946, 1950-1956
  • Correspondence and a report relating to period of office in the Gambia, 1941-1943
  • Correspondence, notes and a diary relating to period of office in the West Indies, 1943-1950
  • Correspondence, a diary and other papers relating to work at the Colonial Office and posting as Governor of the Leeward Islands, 1948-1957
  • Reports, booklets, press cuttings, photographs, printed material, etc. concerning the Leeward Islands, 1807-1977
  • Correspondence, press cuttings and transcripts of speeches relating to Governorship of Jamaica and the island's independence, 1957-1963
  • Correspondence, press cuttings, photographs, etc. concerning departure from Jamaica, and relating to the Turks, Caicos and Cayman Islands, 1958-1978
  • Diaries kept by Blackburne and Lady Blackburne in Jamaica, 1958-1962
  • Letters of congratulation on awards, notes for speeches and miscellaneous printed material, 1938-1981
  • Drafts, notes and top copies of Lasting Legacy - a story of British Colonialism, c1943-1977
  • Miscellaneous printed material, 1940-1974

Administrative / Biographical History

Kenneth William Blackburne (1907-1980) was a colonial administrator. Joining theColonial Service in 1930, he was sent to Nigeria for his cadetship and spentfive years there, first as Assistant District Officer, then as PrivateSecretary to the office of Lieutenant Governor. In 1935 he was made AssistantDistrict Commissioner for Nazareth, Palestine. In 1938, hebecame Acting District Commissioner for Galilee, but returned to Great Britainsix months later. His next three years were spent in the Colonial Office, asActing Assistant Principal, then Principal. In 1941, he became ColonialSecretary of the Gambia, where he compiled a comprehensive report on Development andWelfare in the Gambia. Another move in 1943 saw him take up the post ofAdministrative Secretary to the Comptroller for Development and Welfare in theWest Indies. During this period he was based mainly in Barbados. From 1947he worked in London as the Colonial Office's first Director of InformationServices. From 1950-1956 he served as Governor of the Leeward Islands,where he was particularly concerned with building preservation andrestoration. His final postings before his retirement were in Jamaica, where he became Governor in 1957, then Governor General after the island's independence in 1962. Awarded the OBE, KCMG, GBE and GCMG, he was also the author of Development and Welfare in the Gambia, (s.l.,Bathurst, 1943) and Lasting Legacy - a story of British Colonialism, (London, Johnson, 1976). In 1935 he married Bridget Senhouse Constant Wilson, with whom he had two children.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


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

Other Finding Aids

Listed as no. 562 in Manuscript Collections in Rhodes House Library Oxford,Accessions 1978-1994 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1996)1996. A handlist is also available in the library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Custodial History

The first approach by the Oxford Colonial Records Project to Sir KennethBlackburne was made on the 4th October 1963 and his papers were surveyed bythe Project on the 12th February 1964. A series of negotiations betweenthe Project and Sir Kenneth Blackburne continued until 1970 regarding a possible date of deposit. The papers were finally offered to the Project by his son in 1980.


A typescript, with drafts and research notes, of Sir Kenneth Blackburne'sarticle, The British Territories (contributed to The Restless Caribbean - Changing Patterns of International Relations in the Caribbean, edited by Richard L. Millett and W. Marvin Will (London, New York, Praeger, 1979) was donated to the library by Lady Blackburne in July 1990.


Myring transcript?