John Hill Archive: the papers, photographic and slide collection of John Edward Bernard Hill, 1912-

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1187 JH
  • Dates of Creation
      1699-2000 (predominantly 1929-2000)
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      10 series; 357 boxes A light box is available in the Archives for the viewing of slides. Projector viewing can be arranged.

Scope and Content

John Hill served in the Royal Artillery in World War II, rising to the rank of captain and seeing active service as an Air Observation Post pilot. The series JH/WAR contains transcripts of his personal journal of his military service, together with contemporary documents, maps, and published material, and some post-war material. The latter includes papers relating to old comrades' organisations, military museums and heritage centres, and miscellaneous publications and cuttings.

The agricultural series JH/AGR mainly covers the period between 1955 and 1972. Files relate to various agricultural committees, the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Farmers' Union, local and European agriculture, Conservative Party agricultural policy, and general agricultural issues.

Series JH/EDUcontains papers relating to topical education issues in the early 70s including the restructuring in schools and the move to comprehensive education. The entire range of education is covered, from nursey education through to higher education, as well as teachers' issues. JH was Chairman of the Conservative Education Committee between 1970-1971, included are papers of this committee and JH's correspondence during this time. Files are also included on education in Europe, education in East Anglia, and the Department of Education and Science.

The above two series overlap considerably with JH/POL - Political papers, which is further subdivided into:

  • JH/POL/EUR - European papers
  • JH/POL/LOC - Constituency papers
  • JH/POL/PARL - Parliamentary papers

JH/POL/EUR - official and unofficial printed material, printed ephemera, draft proposals, minutes, memoranda, background and briefing notes, etc. relating to the European Community, EU elections, the European Parliament,the Council of Europe, and a wide-range of topics affecting Europe which include agricultual and environmental issues, education, trade, etc.

JH/POL/LOC - printed ephemera and papers relating to John Hill's election campaigns; [closed] South Norfolk constituency papers and correspondence; minutes and correspondence of the South Norfolk Conservative Association; John Hill's speech notes and press-cuttings; and papers relating to local government and local government issues.

JH/POL/PARL - printed official and unofficial parliamentary papers including copies of Hansard with John Hill's parliamentary speeches and questions, Bills and Acts; parliamentary reports and papers presented to Parliament; papers of various committees; papers on debates relating to the Far East, and to Europe and a referendum on UK membership of the EC; general election material; correspondence with MPs; John Hill's parliamentary expenses, etc.

John Hill's non-political contributions to public organisations are covered in JH/PUB. Included are various sub-files on Charterhouse, his former school, where Hill was a member of the governing body from 1958-1990; minutes and miscellaneous papers of the University of East Anglia where Hill was a member of Council from 1975-1982; Langley School papers, where Hill was a governor from 1962-1977; minutes and papers of the Country Landowners' Association, where JH was a member of the Executive Committee between 1957-1959 and 1977-1982; and papers relating to various river boards, Hill was a member of the East Suffolk and Norfolk River Board between 1952-1962, he was Vice-President of the River Boards' Association and Chairman of the River Blyth Internal Drainage Board, etc.

The Blyford series JH/BLY primarily covers the period between 1944 and 1989. It contains papers which relate to the development, management and farming operations of Blyford Estate which was subdivided into tenant farms. Separate files exist for the individual farms and properties on the estate. Also included are files on crops, dairying, shooting, employees, financial and legal records, and land agencies. John Hill's contributions to the local community around Blyford are covered in JH/COM.

JH/PER contains personal and family papers of John and Edith Hill as well as those of certain relatives including John Hill's father R.W. Hill. Includes personal correspondence, financial and investment accounts [closed files], files on Hill's school and university years, and files on his general interests and clubs which he joined in a personal capacity. A file is also included on Lord Edward Holroyd Pearce and his family who were close friends of the Hills.

A large slide and photographic collection JH/PHO, arranged chronologically, is included in support of the papers. John Hill was a keen photographer and images of his many foreign and local trips as a member of Parliament, and also as a family man are captured. In particular, agricultural activities and the development of the Blyford Estate are well covered; a 1937 "gap-year" visit to India; China in 1956; Southeast Asia in 1957; and the United States in 1958. This series closely supports JH/TRA which includes printed ephemera, itineraries, bills, notebooks, lectures and addresses, correspondence, press cuttings, etc. for personal and political trips.

Approximately 50 uncatalogued films are still to be taped and reviewed for possible addition to the collection.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Hill was born on 13 November 1912. He was educated at Charterhouse and Merton College, Oxford, where he obtained his M.A. In 1938 he was called to the Bar - with the Certificate of Honour (Inner Temple) - but a year later at the outbreak of WWII he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant R.A. (T.A.)

Later, during his active service, Hill became an Air Observation Pilot attached to 651 (Air O.P.) Squadron, during which time he went with the R.A.F. to Tunisia. He was wounded in action in 1943 and was invalided out in 1945.

Hill made extensive journeys abroad mainly as a member of United Kingdom parliamentary delegations, and of agricultural or Commonwealth committees. Significant trips include a 'gap year' visit to India in 1937, China in 1956, Southeast Asia in 1957, the United States in 1958, and West Germany and Berlin in 1959.

The Conservative Member for South Norfolk since January 1955, when returned at a by-election, Hill was from 1959-1960 an Assistant Government Whip and from 1960 until 1964 a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, becoming Opposition Spokesman on Education and Science in October 1965.

Mr Hill has farmed the Blyford Estate, Suffolk since 1944. He still lives at Watermill Farm near Wenhaston. He was married in 1944 to Edith Luard [deceased 1995], the widow of the late Commander R.A.E. Luard. They adopted a daughter, Linda.

Hill's activities included shooting and association football - he was an association football blue at Oxford - in 1934, becoming secretary of the Oxford University Association Football Club.

Hill has also been a member of the East Suffolk and Norfolk River Board from 1952-1962, and he was a member of the Governing body of Charterhouse School.

See also entry in Who's Who.


  • JH/AGR Agriculture 1945-1990
  • JH/BLY Blyford Estate 1699-1999
  • JH/COM Local Community Development 1935, 1946-1948, 1964-1968, 1979-1980
  • JH/EDU Education1945-1988
  • JH/PER Personal 1901-1902, 1914-1918, 1925-2000
  • JH/PHO Photographs and films 18-- - 1999
  • JH/POL Political 1944-1988
  • JH/PRE Press-cuttings 1939-2000
  • JH/PUB Public life, non-political 1930-1998
  • JH/TRA Travel 1931-1977
  • JH/WAR Military Service in WWII 1929-1946, 1967-2000

Access Information

Other than where a specific access restriction is noted, the collection is open for consultation in the Archives Department during its advertised opening hours.

Acquisition Information

In November 1999 the first consignment of documents was delivered to the University of East Anglia. Deposits followed throughout 2000. The more recent material, and the photographic collection were the last to enter the archive.



Conditions Governing Use

Reproductions can be supplied in hard copy or digital format subject to physical condition and the terms of deposit. A charge is made for this service. Copyright restrictions may apply and the advice of the Archives department should be sought for any use of reproductions other than personal research.

Custodial History

This personal archive has been developed and housed at the homes of John Hill: formerly in Esher, Surrey, and since 1944 at Watermill Farm, Wenhaston.


A limited amount of material is usually on loan to the depositor at any one time. Future negotiations for the deposit of the material currently being created by Mr Hill are expected. Blyford Estate retains documentation relating to this collection as it is still an operating company. Future deposits to that series may also be expected.

John Hill still retains a 1956 film on China, and photographs of a 1937 trip to India.

Related Material

The Everest Archive: photographs and papers of Joan Elizabeth Everest. Held at the same repository. Joan Everest was John Hill's cousin, and a descendant of the man after whom the mountain was named.