The papers of the distinguished public servant Lady Plowden (1910-2000) were generously gifted to Newcastle University Library in 2003 by the Plowden family.
Held in Special Collections, Lady Plowden's papers are an extensive and rich resource reflecting her many areas of concern. Lady Plowden held a number of high-profile public roles in the spheres of education reform and television broadcasting, most notably as Chairman of the Central Advisory Council for Education (England), 1963 – 1967, Vice-Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors, 1970 – 1975, and Chairman of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), 1975 – 1980. A large and varied number of public roles followed, many of which retained this focus on primary and pre-school education reform as well as the promotion of high-quality television broadcasting. Lady Plowden's interests were wide however and these papers also reflect Lady Plowden's roles within organisations related to Romany and Traveller education and rights, adult education, the care and resettlement of offenders, the role of voluntary work, young adult unemployment and training, and women and employment.
Lady Plowden (nee Richmond) was a niece of Gertrude Bell and a cousin of the Trevelyans of Wallington. An additional deposit of material made by the Plowden family comprise of a number of family photograph albums and correspondence files relating to the Richmond, Bell and Trevelyan families.