The Archive of Fred Singleton

Scope and Content

Correspondence, notes, typescripts and manuscripts, conference papers, travel and political ephemera, plus a small quantity of photographic material.

Administrative / Biographical History

Fred Singleton was born in Hull on 13 October 1926 and educated at Hull Grammar School (1937-1944). His military service (1944-1947) with the Royal Navy included a period on the cruiser HMS Aurora. He studied Geography at Leeds University (1947-1952), receiving a B.A (Hons), Dip. Ed and M.A., with a thesis entitled "Kalevala and the Historical Geography of Finland". Fred Singleton was active in student politics, becoming Vice-President of the Leeds University Students' Union and of the National Union of Students (1951-1953).
His teaching career began at Carlton Grammar School in Bradford (history and geography, 1953-1955), then the Workers Educational Association, firstly teaching national servicemen at Catterick Camp (1955-1958) later as organising tutor for the West Riding (1958-1962). In 1962, he was appointed Lecturer at the Bradford Institute of Technology, which became the University of Bradford in 1966. With major research interests in Finland, Yugoslavia, and Yorkshire history, he became Chairman of the newly-established Research Unit in Yugoslav Studies in 1965, Senior Lecturer in Geography in 1968, and Reader in Yugoslav Studies in 1977. He retired in 1981, and served as Honorary Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the University until his death in 1988. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University in 1987 and his colleagues John B. Allcock, John H. Horton and Marko Milivojevic published a volume of essays in his honour: Yugoslavia in Transition (Berg, 1992).
Dr. Singleton combined his teaching and research with work as author, editor and public speaker. His many books included works on Yorkshire history, Yugoslavia, Eastern Europe, environmental issues, Finland, and socialism, including Saddleworth Story (1964), Twentieth Century Yugoslavia (1976), The Just Society (with Ken Coates, 1977), A History of Yorkshire (with Stuart Rawnsley, 1986), A Short History of Finland (1987), plus a school geography textbook published in 1966. He contributed many chapters and articles on these topics to reference works, newspapers and journals, such as the Annual Register of World Events, The World Today, and Osteuropa.
Dr Singleton was involved in academic societies, in particular the National Association for Soviet and East European Studies (NASEES), serving on the committee in various capacities from 1967-1978. He was active in peace campaigns and politics, including standing as Labour Party candidate for Harrogate in the 1959 parliamentary election and for the European Assembly in 1979. Other roles included Vice-President of the British Yugoslav Society and member of the Labour Party's East-West Committee. Fred Singleton was married, with four children.


Original order of files cannot be ascertained, so we have roughly sorted the archive into an artificial arrangement of series based on Dr Singleton's areas of interest and activities. We have retained original order within files. The archive includes many groups of loose papers which have lost their file identity and original order. To assist users, these papers will be organised into artificial files when the Archive is catalogued in more detail.

Access Information

Available to researchers, by appointment. Access to archive material is subject to preservation requirements and must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation. This Archive contains correspondence and other items containing personal data so access is restricted under the Data Protection Act pending further cataloguing. This will be carried out in response to user demand so individuals are encouraged to inform Special Collections of their interest in this material.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the University of Bradford between 1988 and 2000.


The Biographical History is taken from a 1987 curriculum vitae and the sources listed in Publication note.

Other Finding Aids

Building on initial sorting and listing carried out by John Brooker and Thomas Ellen in 2006, a basic file level spreadsheet has been produced to facilitate public access. The content of this document can be accessed via Special Collections staff. We will produce publishable finding aids for sections of the archive in response to user interest.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Parts of the archive show signs of historic water damage and mould. Newspapers, press cuttings and photographic formats are generally in poor condition.

Archivist's Note

Original description by Thomas Ellen, April 2006, using ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; revised by Alison Cullingford, October 2015.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be supplied or produced at the discretion of Special Collections staff, subject to copyright law and the condition of the originals. Applications for permission to make published use of any material should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian in the first instance. Special Collections staff will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Appraisal Information

Duplicates and irrelevant material have been weeded as seen; further appraisal will be carried out as the Archive is catalogued in more detail. Publications have been transferred to other collections or rehomed.

Related Material

Published works by Dr Singleton and rare books and pamphlets belonging to him have been added to Special Collections University, Local and other printed book collections.


Yugoslavia in Transition (Berg, 1992) includes a personal memoir by Fred Singleton's friend Tony Topham and a bibliographic review of his writings about Yugoslavia by John Horton.