Papers of Kenneth Edwards (1904-1982), Professor of Geography at The University of Nottingham, 1933-1987

Scope and Content

The collection comprises:

Published works by Professor Edwards including articles, books, and encyclopaedia entries, many relating to the history, planning, industry and geography of Luxembourg and the East Midlands region of England, 1933-1987 (KCE 1);

Minutes, agenda papers, reports and correspondence relating to the East Midlands region of the Economic Planning Council, c.1960s-1970s (KCE 2);

Papers concerning Professor Edwards' work on Luxembourg including: correspondence with the Luxembourg Society (1943-1952) and correspondence with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (1941-1946); (KCE 3);

Files relating to Professor Edwards' work for the Ministry of Town and Country Planning (KCE 4);

Material relating to the University of Nottingham and the design of a new Geography department in the proposed 'Social Sciences and Education' building, comprising correspondence, drawings and feedback from other colleges in the UK regarding their teaching accommodation, 1957 (KCE 5);

Glass photographic plates, positive, including images of industrial buildings and waterways in Nottinghamshire, c.1950s-1960s, (KCE 6);

Material relating to the Inner Hebrides, Orkneys and Iceland, being prints of images and copies of Sir Joseph Banks' Letters and Journals, (KCE 7);

Administrative / Biographical History

Kenneth Charles Edwards was born in Hampshire in 1904 and educated at Itchen Grammar School and University College Southampton. He joined University College Nottingham in 1926 to teach as an assistant lecturer in the department of geography and geology. When the department divided, Edwards became lecturer in charge of geography. He was promoted to a readership in 1939 and in 1948 was elected to the newly-independent University of Nottingham's first Chair of Geography. Beyond his subject responsibilities at the university, Edwards was also chairman of the University Club and the first Dean of the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences.

Professor Edwards was keenly committed to the promotion of serious field studies as an important element of undergraduate study. He was for many years the chairman of the Le Play Society's Students' Group, before becoming president of its successor, the Geographical Field Group, after the war. He remained president until his death. He also held the presidency of the Nottingham branch of the Geographical Association. From 1937 to 1958, he was convenor of the Standing Conference of Heads of Geography Departments in British Universities.

His wide geographical knowledge of the East Midlands led to his being released on secondment between 1944 and 1946 as the Regional Research Officer for the newly-established Ministry of Town and Country Planning. In 1956, he launched The East Midlands Geographer and in 1966 he edited Nottingham and its region for the British Association's Nottingham annual meeting of that year. In 1967, Professor Edwards was nominated to the East Midlands Regional Economic Planning Council, and his services to planning and the region were recognised by a CBE in 1970.

As a result of pre-war field studies and doctoral research, Edwards became an authority on the geography of Luxembourg. This experience was used in wartime intelligence. He subsequently initiated and edited the National Atlas of Luxembourg, published in 1971. He was also familiar with Poland through field study and led the first official post-war delegation of university geographers there in 1959. Professor Edwards died in Beeston, Nottinghamshire on 7 May 1982.

Economic Planning Councils were established by the UK Government in 1964. They were responsible to the Department of Economic Affairs and replaced the regional boards operated by the Ministry of Production and then the Board of Trade. The East Midlands regional council was based in Nottingham and was active in economic planning and development in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Rutland and Northamptonshire. The council investigated a broad range of issues including new towns, sewage, rivers, and housing.


The collection has been divided by document type into series. Within these series, items have been arranged chronologically.

Access Information

Accessible to all registered readers

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all finding aids belongs to The University of Nottingham.

Online: Available on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, accessible from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Conditions Governing Use

Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email

Custodial History

The collection was acquired on a number of separate occasions by The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections between March 1991 and December 2001.

Related Material

Geographical Field Group papers (reference: GFG)