Papers of William Ironside

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of 8 personal letters from Frederick Pethick-Lawrence to his friend William Ironside ('Billy') [of Faggs Farm, near Ashford, Kent] whilst Ironside was suffering from tuberculosis and on the occasion of Pethick-Lawrence's marriage to Helen McCombie.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Ironside (fl. 1953-1957) was a friend of the Labour politician Frederick Pethick-Lawrence.

Frederick Pethick-Lawrence (1867-1954) was a politician active in the campaign for women's suffrage. He was educated at Eton College, and at Trinity College, Cambridge where he studied mathematics and natural sciences. He later studied law and was called to the bar in 1899. After marriage to Emmeline Pethick in 1901 he appended her maiden name to his own surname Lawrence. He was a leading member of the Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU) from 1907-1912, founded and edited the periodical 'Votes for Women' alongside his wife, and was imprisoned and suffered forcible feeding for the women's suffrage cause in 1912. Originally a Liberal Unionist candidate (for North Lambeth in 1901), Pethick-Lawrence had a lifelong involvement in the Labour Party, defeating Winston Churchill to become Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for West Leicester (1923-1931) and later working as MP for Edinburgh East and for the Treasury. He was a leading Labour spokesman on economics. A supporter of Indian self-government, he became secretary of state for India, with a seat in the House of Lords in 1945. After his wife's death in 1954 he married Helen McCombie (née Millar) in 1957, who had also been a militant suffragette. He died in 1961.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.

Acquisition Information

Provenance unknown. In box labelled 'Autograph letters awaiting listing'', found during the move into the new building, 2002 and formally accessioned, Jul 2003.

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library Catalogue

Related Material

See also further correspondence of Frederick Pethick-Lawrence in the Autograph Letter Collection (Strand 9: 9/08, 9/20, and 9/26), held at the Women's Library. Further correspondence and papers of Pethick-Lawrence are held at the British Library, Cambridge University: Trinity College Library, Oxford University: Bodleian Library and the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam.