Papers of William Thomas Kneale

Scope and Content

The deposit contains scrapbooks of newspaper cuttings and correspondence regarding events in Kneale’s life and loose leaf newspaper cuttings of Kneale’s career in journalism including off-island papers and Manx newspapers the Mona’s Herald and the Isle of Man Examiner; also material relating to Kneale’s involvement in the Isle of Man Education Authority and Executive Council of the Manx Museum and National Trust, reviews of his son Nigel’s work and miscellaneous printed material and ephemera.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Thomas Kneale (1896-1963) known as Tom, was a journalist and newspaper editor from the Isle of Man who gained his first experience through the Manx newspaper the Mona’s Herald. In 1919 he married Lilian Kewley (1889-1979) and the same year moved to Dalton-in-Furness, England in the hope of increasing his journalistic skills and experience. There he was district reporter-manager for the Barrow News and Mail. During his time in Dalton Kneale became aware of the poverty and unemployment in the surrounding area; he thus became the secretary for the charity the Dalton Distress Relief Fund which fed a thousand children on a daily basis. During his time in England his first son Thomas Nigel Kneale (1922-2006) was born, a child who later went on to be a famous writer and television dramatist. In 1924 Kneale joined the Bolton Evening News and held the position of deputy chief reporter from 1927 to 1928. Returning to the Island in 1928 he became assistant editor of the Isle of Man Examiner and in 1930 his second son was born, Bryan Kneale the famous artist and sculptor. By 1931 he had entered a partnership with his brother Robert G. Kneale (c.1884-1942) and together they acquired the Mona’s Herald newspaper. After his brother’s untimely death Kneale took full charge of the paper and ran it independently for another three years. In 1945 due to ill health Kneale retired from editorship of the Mona’s Herald and sold his interest in the firm.

Throughout his retirement Kneale continued to contribute frequently to local columns and he dedicated the rest of his free time to public service. He was elected a member of the Isle of Man Education Authority and eventually obtained the chairmanship. Through his representation as a member of the Education Authority, he became a member of the Manx Museum and National Trust (MMNT) in 1951. On his retirement from the Education Authority Kneale automatically ceased to be a MMNT; happily he was back almost immediately, co-opted as a Trustee. In 1955 Kneale was elected to the Executive Committee of Trustees and in 1957 he was appointed chairman of the Executive Committee, a position he held until his death in 1963.

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Archivist's Note

The biographical was information gathered from Manx newspaper articles from one of the scrapbooks situated within the deposit ( Isle of Man Examiner, 5 September 1963 and the Mona’s Herald, 3 September 1963) and Philip Purser, ‘Kneale, (Thomas) Nigel (1922–2006)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Jan 2010; online edn, Sept 2010 [, accessed 9 Nov 2015].

Isle of Man newspapers available online at, accessed 9 Nov 2015.

Fonds-level description created by Eleanor Williams (MNH Project Archivist), November 2015.

Separated Material

Separated material held by Manx National Heritage include photographs of William Thomas Kneale and family. Reference number: PG/13541.

Related Material

Related material held by Manx National Heritage include the papers of William Thomas Kneale's son - Literary papers of playwright and author Thomas Nigel Kneale including screenplays, scripts, correspondence and press reviews. Reference number: MS 11631.