Papers of Donald Piers Chesworth, politician and administrator

Scope and Content

Papers of Donald Piers Chesworth, [1906]-1991, comprising family papers, including photograph album of scout camp attended by his father, Frederick Chesworth, [1929-1936]; diaries of his mother, Daisy Chesworth, 1942-1981, giving brief entries; family holiday photograph album, [1936], stamp albums; files relating to Daisy Chesworth's death and estate, 1987;

volume of notes and lectures relating to the National Fire Service, [1939-1945];

papers relating to Chesworth's standing as a Parliamentary candidate, 1945, 1950, including posters, press cuttings, photographs with Clement Attlee campaigning in Rangoon; notes on rallies of Oswald Mosley (standing for Parliament in North Kensington), 1959;

correspondence, reports and papers relating to Notting Hill housing and social conditions, [1957-1963], including interviews with tenants and local people, housing waiting lists, minutes of Notting Hill Social Council, 1963; population survey of Kensington, [1961]; rent tribunals; papers, probably preparatory notes for a book by Chesworth, "Anatomy of Notting Hill"; paper entitled "Community Struggles in North Kensington 1966-1974";

correspondence and papers of the Association of Neighbourhood Councils, 1971, (a local government pressure group), particularly with MPs;

correspondence, reports, photographs and papers relating to Chesworth's work with War on Want, 1963-1986, including the Mahiwa project, Tanzania, 1970-1973; Bangladesh War of Independence, 1971;

minutes and papers relating to the World Political Action Trust, 1970-1973;

reports and papers relating to wage fixing in Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika), [1961-1967]; reports and correspondence, 1962-1989, relating to the Sugar Wages Council and education in Mauritius; correspondence and papers relating to the assassination of the vice-president of Zanzibar, 1973 (Zanzibar Treason Trial);

papers relating to the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) Labour group, including correspondence relating to secondary schools, 1973; papers relating to his work in Tower Hamlets, including Tower Hamlets Training Forum, [1962], 1986-1989; Tower Hamlets ILEA Tertiary Education Council, [1987-1990]; Spitalfields Heritage Centre, 1983-1991; papers relating to the opening of the Thames Children's Beach (Tower Hill), [1980s];

correspondence, reports and papers relating to Chesworth's work as Warden of Toynbee Hall, [1906-1987], including papers of the Management Committee, articles on the history of the Hall, annual reports, [1970-1988];

papers and correspondence relating to his work as Consultant to Kumagai Gumi UK, 1987-1991.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born, 1923; educated at King Edward VI School, Birmingham; London School of Economics; worked for National Fire Service and Royal Air Force, 1939-1945; stood as an unsuccessful Labour candidate in Warwick and Leamington, 1945, Bromsgrove, 1950, 1951; life member of the Labour party; Student and Overseas Secretary, International Union of Socialist Youth, 1947-1951; Chairman, National Association of Labour Student Organisations, 1947; Whip and Member of the Policy Committee, London County Council, 1952-1965; involved with investigation of the slum landlord Perec (Peter) Rachman in Notting Hill, after rent protests and demonstrations, [1950s]; Member, Board of Visitors, Hewell Grange Borstal, 1950-1952; Chairman, Managers of Mayford Home Office Approved School, 1952-1958; Labour Adviser, Tanganyika Government and Chairman, Territorial Minimum Wages Board, 1961-1962; Labour Adviser, Mauritius Government and Chairman, Sugar Wages Councils, 1962-1965; Council member, 1965-1976 and Chairman, 1967, 1968, 1970-1974, War on Want; Director, Notting Hill Social Council, 1968-1977; National Committee, UK Freedom from Hunger Campaigns, 1969-1976; Executive Board, Voluntary Committee on Overseas Aid and Development, 1969-1976; Member, ILEA Education Committee, 1970-1977; Chairman, World Development Political Action Trust, 1971-1975; Alderman, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, 1971-1977; Chairman, Mauritius Salaries Commission, 1973-1977; Member, Court of Governors, London School of Economics, 1973-1978; South Metropolitan Conciliation Committee, Race Relations Board, 1975-1977; Warden, Toynbee Hall, 1977-1987; Vice-Chairman, Toynbee Housing Association, 1977-1986; Governor, Tower Hamlets Adult Education Institute, 1978-1991; Governor, City and East London College, 1978-1991; Chairman, Mauritius Government Enquiry into position of families without wage earners, 1981; OBE, 1987; Government Salaries Commissioner, Mauritius, 1987-1988; Chairman, Tower Hamlets ILEA Tertiary Education Council, and Member Tertiary Education Board, 1987-1991; Asha East London Education Project, 1986-1991; Advisory Committee member, Queen Mary College project to expand further and higher education taken up by East London youth, 1987-1991, Chairman, Spitalfields Heritage Centre, 1987-1991; Executive Member, Tower Hamlets Training Forum and Workshops, 1986-1991 and Tower Hamlets Education and Careers Centre, 1986-1991; Member, Education Committee, Tower Hamlets Association for Racial Equality, 1986-1991; Social Affairs Consultant, Kumagai Gumi UK, 1987-1991; OBE, 1987; died, 1991.

Publications: contributor to Statutory Wage Fixing in Developing Countries (ILO), 1968; contributor to International Labour Review.


The papers are unsorted.

Conditions Governing Access

The Archives are available for access in an Archives Reading Room located on the 2nd Floor of the Mile End Library. The Archives Reading Room is open Mon-Fri 9.30am to 4.45pm (closed 1-2pm for lunch). Users do not require an appointment before they visit but are advised to contact the Archives in advance, so that more information can be supplied concerning their area of research.

Contact the Archivist: Lorraine Screene, Main Library QMUL, Archives, Mile End Rd, London E1 4NS, telephone: 020 7882 7556, email

Acquisition Information

Transferred to Queen Mary from Bernard Sheridan in 1994.

Other Finding Aids

Archivist's Note

Sources: Who's Who 1897-1996, CD-ROM (A & C Black); Historical Manuscripts Commission On-line National Register of Archives. Compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Separated Material

Files of correspondence and papers of Chesworth as Warden of Toynbee Hall, held by London Metropolitan Archives (reference: Acc 2486/187-205).

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying at the discretion of the Archivist.

Custodial History

Donated to Queen Mary and Westfield College by Donald Chesworth, and removed from his flat after his death in 1991.