Papers of Major David Graham Pole

Scope and Content

Correspondence (1915-1941), newspaper cuttings and reports relating to Pole's career as an MP (1929-1931); correspondence on Indian and Burmese affairs (1928-1934); correspondence with, and cuttings, articles and photographs about, George Lansbury MP; correspondence with Lansbury's children (1940); articles by David Pole (1926-1931); privately published autobiography of David Pole (1950).

Administrative / Biographical History

David Graham Pole was born on 11th December 1877. Pole’s parents were part of the Church of Scotland and Pole was educated at the Freechurch Manse at Auchencairn before becoming a student at the University of Edinburgh. Before embarking on his political career he was a solicitor. He was part of the Society of Solicitors before the Supreme Courts of Scotland in 1901. In 1899, Pole joined the Edinburgh University Company of the Royal Scots as a private. Two years later he was promoted to Second Lieutenant. Pole also went on to become a reserve Captain in the Territorial Army. When the first World War broke out, Pole transferred to the regular army and became a Captain in the Northumberland Fusiliers. He was promoted to the rank of Major in 1915.

Pole was Vice-Chairman and Honorary Secretary of the British Commission on Indian and Burma Affairs 1918-39, becoming Chairman of the Commission in 1940. Pole was also M.P. for South Derbyshire from 1929 to 1931 and, as member of Parliament, he regularly raised the issue of Indian Independence in the House. Prior to his election success, Pole was an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate four times: in East Grinstead at the 1918 general election, at the Edinburgh North by-election in 1920, in Cardiff South at the 1922 general election, and in Cardiff Central, during the 1924 general election. Pole was also Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for War in 1931.He was close personal friend of fellow MP, George Lansbury (MP 1922-40, and leader of the Labour Party 1932-1935). Pole and Lansbury corresponded from at least 1924 and the relationship between Pole and the Lansbury family continued after George Lansbury's death in 1940 as Pole continued a correspondence with Lansbury's children. Pole died in 1952.


The papers were arranged by the University Library in the 1970s.

Conditions Governing Access

The records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including the Data Protection Act 1998.

Acquisition Information

Papers were donated to the University of York by Rhoda Vickers, personal secretary to David Pole, in 1973.

Other Finding Aids

A typescript catalogue, to file level, is available for consultation in the Borthwick Institute's searchrooms and at the National Register of Archives, London.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Karamdeep Sahota in October 2007.

Conditions Governing Use

A reprographics service is available to researchers. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute, University of York, terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

George Lansbury, Labour Politician GB 0097 Postgate/9 (Lansbury) David Pole correspondence with Annie Beasant and Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru GB 0059 Mss Eur F 264

Further papers relating to George Lansbury and David Pole can be found at the London School of Economics and the British Library (Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections).


John Shepherd, George Lansbury, At the Heart of Old Labour (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002) contains sections devoted to the relationship between Lansbury and Pole based on the evidence provided from the papers held at the Borthwick Institute.

Geographical Names