Papers of Sir Michael Blundell

Scope and Content

  • Personal correspondence, speeches, broadcasts, etc., [1925-1961]
  • Miscellaneous correspondence, 1948-1959
  • Correspondence, [1946-1963]
  • Papers relating to publicity and the press, 1939-1963
  • Subject files, 1948-1963
  • Papers relating to constituency matters, Rift Valley, 1948-1961
  • Papers relating to constituency matters, Nakuru, 1948-1959
  • Papers relating to general constituency matters, 1948-1962
  • Papers relating to the Mau-Mau emergency, 1951-1953
  • Papers relating to the Ministry of Agriculture, 1953-1962
  • Papers relating to the European Elected Members Organization, 1948-1959
  • Papers relating to the Specially Elected Members Association andUnofficial Members Organization, 1952-1959
  • General political files, concerning elections, etc., 1956-1962
  • Papers relating to political groups in Kenya, 1953-1961
  • Constitutional papers and memoranda, 1947-1961
  • Papers relating to Federation proposals, 1951-1961
  • Papers relating to the Kenya Constitutional Conferences, 1959-1962
  • Papers relating to Kenyan political and economic affairs, 1948-1976
  • Press cuttings, 1954-1962
  • Correspondence, memoranda, minutes, etc. of the Emergency Committee, War Council, etc. during the Mau Mau emergency, 1952-1956
  • Correspondence arising from his public positions, with papers relating to subversive propaganda, Lyttleton Plan, constitution talks, and settlement of European farms, 1951-1962
  • Letters of appreciation relating to his public work, papers relating to the Pyrethrum Board andto appointment to the Ministry of Agriculture, and miscellaneous papers, 1952-1979

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Michael Blundell (b 1907) was educated at Wellington College, Berkshire.On leaving school in 1925 he went out to farm in Kenya, eventually buying his ownproperty in the Nakuru district. His interest in agriculture led to his firstpublic appointment when, in 1938, he was elected to the Coffee Board of Kenya.During World War Two he served in the Royal Engineers in Abyssinia, Asia andEast Africa and, in 1945 was appointed Colonel, East Africa Command. From 1946 to1947, as Chairman of the European Settlement Board, he initiated the post-warEuropean Settlement Schemes.

His political career began in 1948 whenhe became elected member for Rift Valley, a position he retained until 1957,and again from 1959 to 1963. He was elected to the Pyrethrum Board of Kenyain 1949 and became Chairman the following year. In 1951 he was ActingLeader, then Leader, until 1954, of the European Elected Members. In 1954 hewas appointed Minister Without Portfolio to the Emergency War Council during the Mau Mau crisis, later leaving it to serve as Minister of Agriculture, a post he held until 1955 and from1961 to 1962. During the period 1954-1957 he belonged to the United CountryParty of European Liberals.

A couple of years after the party's demise, he was requestedto organise a moderate group of elected members of the Legislative Council,the nucleus of the New Kenya Group. In 1959 he resigned from office in order tolead it. In his role as leader of moderate opinion in Kenya he played a largepart in bringing about the negotiations for constitutional developments leadingto independence. These negotiations resulted in the two Lancaster HouseConferences of 1960 and 1962.

He retired from active politics in 1963in order to attend to his estate and work on his biography. In 1962 he became Chairman of the Egerton Agricultural College,of the East African Breweries in 1964, and the Uganda Breweries in 1965. Hewas also Chairman of Saccone and Speed (E.A.) Ltd.. He was awarded the MBE in1943 and created KBE in 1962.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Paul Davidson, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Other Finding Aids

Listed as no. 123 in Manuscript Collections of Africanain Rhodes House Library Oxford, compiled by Louis B. Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1968). A handlist is also available in the library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.


The papers relating to the Kenya Constitutional Conferences, political andeconomic affairs in Kenya, and press cuttings were added to the existingcollection in 1979. The correspondence, etc. of the Emergency Committee and War Council, etc. during the Mau Mau emergency, correspondence arising from public positions, etc., and letters of appreciation, etc.consists of Blundell material initially retained by the Foreign Office, the final two boxes of which were transferred in June 1979.

Related Material

Tapes and transcripts of five interviews on his service in the KenyanGovernment, 1954-1962 (ref. MSS. Afr. s. 1717 (14)).