Papers of the Convention of Associations

Scope and Content

The papers cover two main periods: 1920-1932 and 1957-1963. There are minute books for the whole of the first period and separate files of minutes for particular sessions. The rest of the collection consists of circulars; press cuttings; correspondence with the District Associations; and files of correspondence and other papers dealing with specific conferences, administrative matters, or particular subjects with which the Convention of Associations was concerned.

Included is correspondence (April 1960-March 1963) of C.O. Oates, Chairman of the Convention of Associations, mainly with successive Secretaries and Under-Secretaries of State for the Colonies (Hugh Fraser, Iain Macleod, Reginald Maundling and Duncan Sandys) and Governors of Kenya (Sir Patrick Renison and Malcolm MacDonald). There is also some correspondence with Lord Salisbury.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Convention of Associations was established in 1910 to combine a number of associations that had already formed in Kenya to make the needs and interests of the colonists known to the Colonial Office.

The first member of the Convention, the Colonists' Association, was formed in 1902 to encourage Europeans to settle in Kenya. The following year this was transformed by Lord Delamere into the Planters' and Farmers' Association, but it soon reverted to its original name under the presidency of Lord Hindlip. In 1907 Captain Grogan became president of this Association; he later became the first President of the Convention.

The Pastoralists' Association was another major member of the Convention. It had been founded by R.A.B. Chamberlain to represent those farmers who had come from South Africa to settle in Kenya.

A number of District Associations joined these two bodies to form the Convention.

The first meeting of the Convention was held in February 1911; from that time it exerted its political influence on the Government continuously, though with diminishing force after 1927 when the Governor and the Official members of the Legislative Council ceased to attend the sessions. After the meeting in 1938, when Lord Erroll suggested that the Convention should confine itself to discussing agricultural and technical matters, it seems not to have met for some time, and after the Election in 1943 its original work was taken over by the Electors' Union.

There was an attempt to revive the Convention in November 1943, but it was not until 1957 that the real revival took place; the first meeting was held on the 8 May 1958 and the first Conference on the 27 June. The Convention of Associations continued its activities until April 1963 when it was finally wound up.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


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

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room and a handlist is also available for this collection.

Listed as no. 992 in Manuscript Collections in Rhodes House Library Oxford, Accessions 1978-1994 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1996).

Conditions Governing Use

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

Custodial History

Deposited with the Oxford Colonial Records Project in May 1963.