Papers relating to Maurice B. Reckitt, Percy Widdrington, William Jowitt and Hugh Dalton

Scope and Content

Artificial collection of original, photocopied and research papers collected by John S Peart-Binns during the 1970s and 1980s, partly in connection with his research for the Dictionary of Labour Biography and his biography of Maurice Reckitt.

Administrative / Biographical History

Maurice Benington Reckitt (1888-1980) was a writer and Christian sociologist who collaborated with GDH Cole to found the National Guilds League. He contributed to AR Orage's 'New Age' and wrote for and edited the 'New English Weekly', but his lasting achievement was as editor of 'Christendom', a quarterly journal of Christian sociology, from 1931to 1950, and as organiser of the annual summer schools of sociology associated with the Christendom group. He was involved with many organisations including the Church Socialist League, the League of the Kingdom of God and the British Council of Churches. Reckitt's most important book, 'Faith and society', was published in 1932.

William Allen Jowitt, Earl Jowitt, (1885-1957) trained as a lawyer and was called to the Bar in 1909, being made a KC in 1922. He was a close friend of H H Asquith, and was Independent Liberal MP for Hartlepools, 1922-1924. After his victory at Preston in 1929, he accepted the post of Attorney-General in the Labour Government. He fought the Combined Universities seat as a National Labour candidate in 1931 and lost, returning to his lucrative law practice. He was re-admitted to the Labour Party in 1936, winning Ashton-under-Lyne in October 1939. He joined Churchill's coalition government in 1940 as Solicitor-General. He held various wartime posts. In 1945 he went to the House of Lords following his appointment as Lord Chancellor in the new Labour Government, remaining in office for the next six years. He remained Labour leader in the Lords, 1952-1955.

Hugh Dalton (1887-1962) became a barrister in 1914, but served in the army during the First World War. He was then a Lecturer and Reader in economics at the London School of Economics (LSE), where he was awarded a DSc, and produced a number of well received books. He became MP for Peckham in October 1924, but moved to Bishop Auckland in 1929. He was defeated in 1931, but regained the seat in 1935, retaining it until his retirement in 1959. He was Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 1929-31, Minister for Economic Warfare, 1940-42, President of the Board of Trade, 1942-45, Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1945-47 (when he resigned after a famous Budget leak), Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, 1948-50, and Minister of Town and Country Planning (then Local Government and Planning), 1950-51. He was a member of the Labour Party's National Executive Committee, 1926-27, and 1928-52, and its Chairman in 1936-37. He was created Baron Dalton in 1960.


U DPB/1-6 Papers relating to Maurice B Reckitt, Percy Widdrington and the Christian Socialist Movement, 1908-1980

U DPB/7-13 Papers relating to William Allen Jowitt, 1st Earl Jowitt of Stevenage, 1905-1984

U DPB/14-18 Papers relating to Hugh Dalton, Lord Dalton of Forest and Frith, 1908-1976

Access Information

Access will be granted to any accredited reader.

Custodial History

Donated by John S Peart-Binns, 14 Foster Lane, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire in November 1989

Related Material

Other repositories:

Papers relating to Maurice Reckitt and Tom Heron, donated by John S Peart-Binns, Bradford University Library Special Collections

Mitrinovic Library, Bradford University Library Special Collections

Papers of Maurice Reckitt, Sussex University Library Special Collections


  • Thomas S. Legg and Marie-Louise Legg, ‘Jowitt, William Allen, Earl Jowitt (1885–1957)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 6 Feb 2007]
  • JS Peart-Binns, 'Maurice B Reckitt: a life' (Marshall, 1988)
  • JS Peart-Binns, ‘Reckitt, Maurice Benington (1888–1980)’, rev., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 6 Feb 2007]
  • Ben Pimlott, ‘Dalton, (Edward) Hugh Neale, Baron Dalton (1887–1962)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 6 Feb 2007]