Papers of Rowland Barrett, socialist, upholsterer and journalist

Scope and Content

Letters of appreciation, etc, 1904-1931; letters to Barrett about his career as a representative of William Brown and Company of Liverpool Limited, 1915-1923; letters about Barrett's work for the Labour Party in Devon,1924-1944; records concerning the Leicester by-election of 1913, 1913-1915; correspondence about Barrett's work for the National Union of Agricultural Workers (NUAW), 1930-1944; Records concerning Barrett's imprisonment as a conscientious objector in World War I, [?1901]-1918; correspondence and papers concering reformed spelling, 1917-1919, 1940-1949; records concerning the Sunderland water supply, 1922; records concerning tithes, 1923-1935; general correspondence and papers, 1926-1949; cartoons, 1901-1910; press cuttings and other records concerning the 'Bedfordshire Mercury', 1911-1912; press cuttings concerning Barrett's activities in local politics whilst living at Rockvale, Stoke Fleming, Dartmouth, 1924-1949; notes on furniture history, 1905-1907; Press cuttings and other records concerning the 'Leicester Pioneer', 1913-1950; literary records, 1907 and nd; obituaries, 1950; poetry, 1905-1928; Ruskin Hall (later Ruskin College) essays and notes by Barrett., 1904-1911; 'Men of Mark', the unpublished life and letters of Barrett, and related records, 1913-1949.

Administrative / Biographical History

Rowland Barrett began his working life as an upholsterer, but took up journalism in 1908, as editor of the 'Coventry Sentinel'. From 1915 to 1923 he was a commercial representative in the north east; in the latter year he purchased a small-holding near Dartmouth, which he ran as a holiday camp for socialists. Converted to socialism in 1894, he was a lifelong campaigner and during his later years he was active on behalf of the National Union of Agricultural Workers (NUAW) and the Labour Party, in Devon and elsewhere.

Reference: entry on Barrett by Richard Storey, 'Dictionary of Labour Biography', Vol.4 (London, 1977).

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See

Other Finding Aids

Custodial History

The collection was donated to the Centre by Colin Barrett, great-nephew of Rowland Barrett, in 1975.

Related Material

The Coventry and Warwickshire Collection in Coventry Central Library includes a volume of annotated 'Coventry Sentinel' and 'Midland Counties Tribune' cuttings, with a small group of letters (JN 335). The letters mostly relate to the charge of obstruction against Barrett in August 1909 for holding Independent Labour Party meetings in Nuneaton market place.