Papers of Dr Royston Aubrey Bruton (1936 - 1993)

Scope and Content

The research papers of Dr Roy Bruton comprise material collected for his masters and doctoral theses on Chinese education and the education of the Bidayuh people (Land Dayak) of Sarawak, Malaysia.

The papers in more detail are as follows: six card index boxes (1966-1993); masters dissertation on Chinese education in Sarawak (1971); doctoral dissertation on Bidayuh education in Sarawak (1981); field notes and photographs of the Bidayuh (1970s); one copy of and photocopies of Farewell to democracy in Sarawak (1993); the works of the Reverend Peter H H Howes in published form (1952-1994); miscellaneous papers relating to the Bidayuh (1970s) including photocopied extracts of secondary and primary source material (from Dayak Bidayuh National Association Thirtieth Anniversary Publication [1989]); maps (1949-1974) mostly of Sarawak; primary material on education in Sarawak (1968-1976); information about Sarawak schools, Sarawak Malays and Sarawak Chinese (1970s); papers on the Cheyne Organization and Cheyne Press (1970s and 1980s); photocopied journal articles and reviews (1954-1992); material on Malaysian politics and elections (1978-1991); a small amount of material collected on Margaret Mead (1986-1987) and some general material (especially secondary sources) on Asian history and politics as well as general literature on modern development and education.

Administrative / Biographical History

Royston Aubrey Bruton was born near Chesham in Buckinghamshire in 1936 and attended Amersham College, a private high school. After national service he graduated with a certificate of education from Worcester Teachers' Training College in 1959 and was then awarded scholarships that took him to the London School of Economics where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1964. In 1966 he obtained a diploma in education from the London University Institute of Education. He was also appointed lecturer at Battersea College of Education where he taught until 1978. He was promoted to senior lecturer in 1967. Through this time he worked on his masters dissertation on Chinese education in Sarawak 1841-1941 and was awarded his degree in 1971 through the Institute of Education in the department for education in developing countries.

In 1971 he registered as a doctoral student through the Institute and began his research on education and the Bidayuh people of Sarawak, whom he visited in four consecutive years from 1973 to 1976. He studied the work of schools in the Tebia area of the Kuching district, coming into contact with Archdeacon Peter Howes, explaining why some of Howes' work is embedded within the Bruton archive. Howes was a missionary with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and later became assistant bishop of Kuching. He retired in 1981.

Roy Bruton left his post at Battersea College in 1978 to concentrate on his PhD thesis which was submitted in final form in 1981, when he was awarded the degree in the sociology of education by the University of London. In his final years he worked from his home, Chenies, near Rickmansworth, with the intention of setting up a socio-political study centre and an associated private press. He prepared his own doctoral work for publication and this appeared as Farewell to democracy in Sarawak: theoretical exploration of socio-cultural transmissions, with reference to change, conflict and contradiction (1993). The final touches to this book were made in the week before he died prematurely from the emphysema which had troubled him for many years. He died in Harefield Hospital in January 1993.


DRB/1-9 Indexes and MA and PhD theses

DRB/10 Rt Rev. Peter HH Howes

DRB/11 Papers relating to the Bidayuh (Land Dayaks) of Sarawak

DRB/12-23 Miscellaneous papers relating to Sarawak, Malaysia, South - East Asia, Education and Margaret Mead

Access Information

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Other Finding Aids

Entry in South East Asian studies subject guide

Custodial History

Donated in 1993, some additional material received from Professor King in July 1994.


Marrison, Geoffrey, A catalogue of the collections of Dr Roy Bruton on Sarawak, Malaysia and on the sociology of education (1995)