Papers of Sir Norman Chester, 1907–1986

Scope and Content

The papers contains a vast collection of material relating to all areas of Chester's long and varied career; from his wartime service with the Economic Section of the War Cabinet and his secretaryship of the Interdepartmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services which produced the Beveridge Report to his time as Warden of Nuffield College and his many publications.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Norman Chester was born at Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester on 27 October 1907, the son of a Lancashire factory worker. After normal schooling until the age of fourteen, he continued to study general and commercial subjects at the Manchester Municipal High School of Commerce where he was granted his matriculation certificate by the University of Manchester, a diploma in accountancy by the School and intermediate and advanced level certificates in book keeping and accountancy and commercial law by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, London. From Manchester University he also obtained an external degree in Administration in 1930 and while working as a clerk in the City Treasurer's office completed a thesis on "The rating of land values" for the degree of M.A. (Source: Oxford DNB)


The main collection is contained in 325 boxes, arranged in eight sections with sub-divisions, with two boxes of additional material: A. Biographical section, B. General correspondence section, C. Oxford University section, D. Nuffield College section, E. Academic bodies section, F. Other bodies section, G. Publications section, H. Additional material.

Access Information

By prior appointment only. Application in writing (letter or email) to the Assistant Librarian (Archives). See Nuffield College Archives location page for more details.

Other Finding Aids

The handlist for the Chester collection can be found [online] Link:

Custodial History

After Sir Norman's death in 1986 the papers kept in his house in the Woodstock Road were amalgamated with those still in Nuffield College. During sorting the amount of material was considerably reduced. Printed material was extracted and either absorbed into the holdings of Nuffield College Library or otherwise disposed of in a fitting manner. Material that readers may easily consult in other repositories was discarded, e.g. minutes and committee papers of Oxford City Council which are in the local record office. Papers concerned with the foundation and administration of the Oxford Centre for Management Studies were extracted and deposited in the archive of Templeton College. Similarly, those connected with Sir Norman's interest in football and his service to the sport's administrative bodies were segregated and have been donated to the Sir Norman Chester Centre for Research into Football at the University of Leicester.