This collection comprises the working papers of the late Samuel Edward Finer (1915-1993) from his years as Professor of Political Institutions at the University of Keele (Keele, Staffordshire), from 1954-55. In the mid-fifties, Finer was engaged in gathering material for a book on post-war transport policy in Britain, 1945 to c. 1955. In a letter to G. Woodcock, dated 15 August 1955, Finer described his project as 'an independent piece of research', tentatively entitled 'The Politics of Transport, 1945-1955'. Finer defined his intentions as follows: 'The idea is to explore exactly how the 1947 statute [on transport] got onto the statute book and how it was taken off. I am not interested in the economics of it except in so far as they affect the whole process of legislation and politics'. The collection thus reflects work-in-progress, and charts the progress and development of Finer's ideas and research for this subject. The nine box files include: handwritten notes, press cuttings, and card indexes. The collection also includes two files of lecture notes, compiled by J.J. Richardson.
Finer wrote and edited a number of books on a range of subjects including: political parties in Great Britain; constitutions; comparative government; pressure groups; civil supremacy over the military. From an academic standpoint however, Finer is best remembered for his posthumously published three-volume magnum opus, The History of Government from Earliest Times (OUP, 1997).
Finer was born in 1915. After his career at Keele University, Finer was appointed Professor of Government at Manchester University (1966 to 1974). Following this he took up the Gladstone Professorship of Government and Public Administration at Oxford 1974 to 1982, and was nominated Emeritus Professor of Government and Public Administration.
The presence of material in this collection compiled by Professor Jeremy Richardson is explained by the fact that Richardson was both pupil and a colleague of Finer at Keele University.