Papers of Diane Noakes

Scope and Content

The papers comprise the diaries, letters and correspondence relating of Diane Noakes. The majority relate to her life in England but some refer to her work in Uganda

Administrative / Biographical History

Mary Elizabeth (Diane) Noakes (née Bixby) was born on 30 December 1911 in Mile End, East London. She had a number of secretarial jobs, including working for the Toynbee Hall Settlement. In 1941 she volunteered into the Women's Royal Air Force, where she carried out welfare, educational and administrative duties, and attained the position of Sergeant. After the War she trained as a teacher at Borthwick Teacher Training College, London, and worked from 1947- 1949 at Peckham Secondary School for Girls teaching commercial subjects.

In 1951, Diane Noakes was invited by the Federation of Partnerships of Uganda African Farmers (FPUAF) to help resolve disputes. She was already Secretary of the Working Party of the Congress of Peoples Against Imperialism (later amalgamated with other organisations to become the Movement for Colonial Freedom), and went to Uganda in this capacity. She reached agreement over cotton ginning and helped establish the Abalini Cooperative for farmers; she founded a school and clinic, and a weaving factory was also set up for women. Although the Abalini Cooperative folded, the Abesigwa Coffee Co. Ltd. was established. In 1965 Diane Noakes was appointed to the paid position of Executive Secretary of the Central Council of the Indian Associations in Uganda. She was also involved with the establishment of the Uganda Children's Welfare Society.

Following her return from Uganda in 1958, she gained employment at the Kellogg International Corporation in London, and advanced to the position of Assistant Metallurgist. Socially, she was a member of the Labour Party and Political Education Officer for Thornton Ward, and was involved with the running of the Kellogg Corporation photography club. She retired in 1971 and bought a house near Shap, in the Lake District, where amongst other things she campaigned for 'Cumbrians for Peace'. Diane Noakes died on 21 November 1983, following a period of illness.


The collection has been arranged into the following sections: diaries; correspondence; materials relating to Uganda; Labour Party papers; miscellaneous papers, and photographs.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Donated in January 1995

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance