Plowden (Lady Bridget) Archive

Scope and Content

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.


Lady Plowden's own filing system has been retained and the files are arranged by organisation. Each organisation within which Lady Plowden held a position forms its own Series. You will see these in date order, so that her earliest positions are listed first. In addition to these files, Lady Plowden also retained some general correspondence files, speech files, and research files which do not relate to any specific position she held with any organisation. These general files follow those relating to her official positions, are called 'Personal Correspondence Files', 'Speeches Files - Drafts and Notes' and 'Research and Press Cutting Files'.

Access Information

Open with some restrictions. Special Collections staff will provide researchers with further details of these restrictions. Please follow this link for further information about how to access items from this collection: .

Acquisition Information

The archive of Lady Bridget Plowden was gifted to Newcastle University Library in 2003 by the Plowden family. An additional deposit comprising of family papers was made later in the same year.

Archivist's Note

This EAD description created by Ruth Sheret 27 September 2017 and updated 19 July 2018.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright relating to all works created by Bridget Plowden has been passed to Newcastle University. In all other cases, UK copyright rules apply.


No further accruals are expected.