Papers of Robert Peers (1888-1972), Professor of Adult Education, University College, Nottingham, 1909-1970

Scope and Content

With the exception of some early material regarding entrance to Liverpool University in 1910, the collection is concerned chiefly with Peers' official duties as an academic at University College, Nottingham. There are lecture notes and publications relating to the development of adult education in England, of which Peers was a pioneer. There are also lecture notes, syllabuses and bibliographies for Peers' courses in Economics and Social History. The extensive tours undertaken by Peers in the West Indies, Australia, Africa and Europe (mainly 1949-1955) are recorded in copies of speeches and lectures.

The series of correspondence covers Peers' role as Chairman of the Trustees of the Nottingham Mechanics Institute and later as president of the New Mechanics, concerning the Derbyshire Foundation Lectures.

There is extensive research material and related correspondence concerning publications by Peers. Few personal items are included, but a series of photographs includes both portrait shots of Peers and scenes concerning the university's history.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Peers (1888-1972) graduated from Liverpool University in 1913 with a First Class Honours Degree in Economics. He was appointed Director of Adult Education at the University College of Nottingham in 1920. He established the first University Department of Adult Education and was appointed to the newly created Chair in 1922. It was largely as a result of his work that the East Midlands region and the University College of Nottingham became important centres for Adult Education.

As Acting Principal of the College he played an instrumental part in the acquisition of the Charter which gave it full University status in 1948. In recognition of his services to the University, as Head of the Adult Education Department and as Vice-Principal and deputy Vice-Chancellor, he was awarded a Professorial Fellowship and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters on his retirement in 1943.

Professor Peers also occupied a number of other important positions including Chairman of the East Midlands region of the Transport Users Consultative Committee, and President of the Nottingham Mechanics Institution. He was also a Justice of the Peace for Nottingham. He was awarded the honour of CBE in 1954.


Material is arranged in five sections according to type (e.g. lectures, correspondence) and chronologically within each section.

Access Information

ACCESS: Access to certain material is restricted.

REPROGRAPHIC: Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Other Finding Aids

NOTE: Copyright on all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

  • In the Reading Room, University of Nottingham Library: Typescript Catalogue, 117 pp
  • At the National Register of Archives, London: Typescript Catalogue, 117 pp

Conditions Governing Use

COPYRIGHT: 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 the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email ). The Department will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but the responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the reader.

LANGUAGE: English.

Custodial History

The papers were given to the Library of the University of Nottingham in 1977 by his widow.