WAINWRIGHT, Richard Scurrah (1918-2003)

Scope and Content

Papers of Richard Wainwright MP, c 1868-2005, including personal papers, papers relating to the Colne Valley constituency and general election campaigns, articles, speeches and press releases written by Wainwright and Liberal Party policy papers; papers relating to Richard Wainwright's time at Cambridge University, his work for the Friends Ambulance Unit during World War II and the Rowntree Reform Social Services Trust (now the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust). Further papers relate to his wife, Joyce's, involvement in the Yorkshire Women's Liberal Federation.

Administrative / Biographical History

Richard Scurrah Wainwright born April 11 1918, the son of Henry Scurrah and Emily Wainwright; attended the independent boys school at Shrewsbury; through an open scholarship Wainwright was able to attend Clare College Cambridge, where he gained a BA (Hons) in History in 1939; whilst studying at Cambridge Wainwright developed his interest in the Liberal Party, as a member of the Cambridge University Liberal Club; during the 1930s he was deeply affected by the social conditions in Britain at the time particularly on the housing estates in Leeds, which shaped his future political views; at the outbreak of war in September 1939 he registered as a conscientious objector and joined the Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU), a Quaker organisation providing a voluntary ambulance service; Between 1939 and 1946 he served with the Unit in France, Holland, Germany and the blitz cities; after the war he trained to become a Chartered Accountant and became a partner first at Beevers and Adgie in 1950 and then Peat Marwick Mitchell and Co; later left this profession to focus on his political aspirations; stood, unsuccessfully, as the Liberal Party candidate for the constituency of Pudsey, Yorkshire in the General Election of 1950, and again in 1955; Liberal candidate for Colne Valley, also in Yorkshire, 1956, winning the seat at the General Election of 1966; at the following General Election he lost his seat to the Labour MP David Clark but was successful in both the February and October elections of 1974; remained Colne Valley's MP until his retirement in 1987; was an active member of the Liberal Party, working as Chairman between 1970 and 1972; his particular areas of interest were employment, trade and public finance; elected to serve on the Liberal Party Executive, 1953; concentrated his work on local government at Liberal headquarters from 1961; a central spokesman for the Liberal Party on finance (representing his party on the Finance Bill Committee in 1968), trade and industry (1970-?), the economy (1966-1970; 1979-1985) and employment (1985-1987); Chairman of the Liberal Party Research Department, 1968-1970; focused on the financial management of the party after 1974; politically active after retirement in 1987, working for the Electoral Reform Society; Deputy Chairman of the Wider Share Ownership Council, 1986-1997; when the Liberal Party merged with the Social Democratic Party to become the Liberal Democrats Wainwright became a member, working as President of the Yorkshire Federation of Liberal Democrats, 1989-1997; Active in his community, he was a dedicated Methodist Preacher and served on the Leeds Group B Hospital Management Committee, and was Chairman of the Arthington Hospital and Thorp Arch Hospital Committees, 1948-1958; served on the Committee for the Leeds, Skyrac and Morley Savings Bank Board of Managers and Leeds Library Committee; other roles included Treasurer of the Leeds Invalid Children's Aid Society and the Bethany House Free Church Probation Home; member of the Joseph Rowntree Social Services Trust Limited (now the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust), 1959-1984; Fellow of the Huddersfield Polytechnic, later Huddersfield University, in 1988; he died on January 16 2003; His wife Joyce, who he married in 1949, was an active member of the Yorkshire Women's Liberal Federation, fulfilling roles as both Chairman and President, and Chairman of the Colne Valley Women's Liberal Council (1959-1987); she was also a member of the Executive of the National Women's Liberal Federation.


Organised by subject and then chronologically into seventeen series: Series 1: Personal Papers (1913-2003) Series 2: Cambridge University (1933-1962) Series 3: Friends' Ambulance Unit (FAU) (1934-1939) Series 4: Articles, newspaper cuttings, press releases and speeches (c1935-1991) Series 5: Constituency Papers divided into two sub-series: A/ - Pudsey and B/ - Colne Valley (1868-2005) Series 6: General Elections (1949-1987) Series 7: Rowntree Reform Social Services Trust (1904-2002) Series 8: Liberal Party Papers (c1938-2000) Series 9: Liberal Party Organisation (1937-1966) Series 10: Jeremy Thorpe Case (1976-1979) Series 11: Liberal and Social Democratic Party Papers (1983-1990) Series 12: Liberal Democrat Party Papers (1987-2004) Series 13: Liberal Organisations (1967-2005) Series 14: Groups and Organisations (1938-1992) Series 15: Publications (1877-1999) Series 16: Women's Liberal Federation divided into three subseries: /A - National Women's Liberal Federation, B/ - Yorkshire Women's Liberal Federation and /C - Colne Valley Women's Liberal Association (1926-1989) Series 17: Papers of Joyce Wainwright (1939-2003)

Access Information

Mostly open, some files closed under the Data Protection Act.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by family

Other Finding Aids

Online catalogue available

Archivist's Note

Who's Who, Who Was Who. Entry compiled by Becky Webster.

Separated Material

Papers of the Friends Ambulance Unit from 1939 are held in the Library at Friends House (ref. TEMP MSS 876) Papers of the National Women's Liberal Federation are held at Bristol University Information Services: Special Collections (DM 1193)

Conditions Governing Use

Most items can be photocopied, subject to handling and copyright restrictions.


No further accruals expected