BURN, Duncan Lyell, 1902-1988, journalist and economist

Scope and Content

Papers of Duncan Lyell Burn, [1926-1981], relating to his economic, business and journalistic interests, including material relating to his post as industrial correspondent of The Times , [1940-1962], such as notes and interviews by Burn and others on subjects including post-war reconstruction, the German economy and rearmament, the Marshall Plan, and steel nationalisation; material collated by Burn on the UK iron and steel industries, [1926-1974], including documents, pamphlets, press cuttings, notes, correspondence and memoranda relating to steel and iron production, distribution and pricing, notably papers relating to steel supplies during World War Two; papers relating to foreign visits by Burn, 1946-1971, to the Federal Republic of Germany, Holland, Austria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Sweden, Italy and India; detailed notes on interviews by Burn with prominent industrial and political figures, [1963-1969], mainly relating to the heavy electrical industry, nuclear power, the steel industry, and industrial organisation; correspondence and papers relating to the writing and publication of The economic history of steelmaking, 1867-1939 (University Press, Cambridge, 1940), [1930-1939]; material concerning the work of the Economic Development Office, 1962-1965, notably comprising correspondence relating to the setting up of the EDO and its sponsors, notes on discussions and visits with electrical manufacturers, correspondence with the Gas Council, the International Electrical Association, the Board of Trade, the Electrical Council and the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and minutes and reports of the EDO; papers of the Select Committee on Energy, [1978-1981], including investigations into the generation of electricity by nuclear power; material relating to nuclear power, especially in the USA, [1965-1981], namely correspondence, papers and notes; general correspondence of Burn, [1940-1974].

Administrative / Biographical History

Born 1902; educated Holloway County School and Christ's College, Cambridge University; Lecturer in Economic History, University of Liverpool, 1925, and Cambridge University, 1927; worked at the Ministry of Supply (Iron and Steel Control), 1939; Member of the US-UK Metallurgical Mission, New York and Washington, 1943; Leader Writer and Industrial Correspondent, The Times , 1946-1962; Member of the Advisory Committee on Census of Production, 1955-1965; Member of the Executive Committee, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, 1957-1969; Director of the Economic Development Office set up by Associated Electrical Industries, English Electric, GEC and Parsons, 1962-1965; Member of the Economic Committee, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1963-1965; Lecturer, Bombay University, 1971; Specialist Advisor, House of Commons Select Committee on Energy, 1980-1988; died 1988.
Publications: Chemicals under free trade: European and global options (Atlantic Trade Study, London, 1971); Realities of free trade: two industry studies (Allen and Unwin, 1972); The economic history of steelmaking, 1867-1939 (University Press, Cambridge, 1940); The political economy of nuclear energy: an economic study of contrasting organisations in the UK and USA (Institute of Economic Affairs, London, 1967); The Steel Industry, 1939-1959: a study in competition and planning (University Press, Cambridge, 1961); editor The structure of British industry (University Press, Cambridge, 1958); Nuclear power and the energy crisis: politics and the atomic industry (Macmillan, London, 1978).


Arranged in sections as follows: correspondence, interviews, visits, iron and steel.

Access Information

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Other Finding Aids

Temporary list of some sections of the collection available.

Archivist's Note

Sources: Who's Who 1897-1996 (A & C Black, 1996); British Library On-Line Public Access Catalogue 97. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the British Library of Political and Economic Science. Most documents may be photocopied.

Custodial History

Given by the family, via Professor Leslie Hannah, in 1988 and 1989.

Related Material

The BLPES holds material concerning Duncan Burn in the papers of the Royal Economic Society (Ref: RES/6/2/24).