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Collection Level Description: Correspondence and papers of Sir Kenneth William Blackburne

Reference: GB 0162 MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 460
Title: Correspondence and papers of Sir Kenneth William Blackburne
Dates of Creation: 1929-1963
Extent: 25 boxes

Language of Material: English

Administrative/Biographical History

Kenneth William Blackburne (1907-1980) was a colonial administrator. Joining the Colonial Service in 1930, he was sent to Nigeria for his cadetship and spent five years there, first as Assistant District Officer, then as Private Secretary to the office of Lieutenant Governor. In 1935 he was made Assistant District Commissioner for Nazareth, Palestine. In 1938, he became Acting District Commissioner for Galilee, but returned to Great Britain six months later. His next three years were spent in the Colonial Office, as Acting Assistant Principal, then Principal. In 1941, he became Colonial Secretary of the Gambia, where he compiled a comprehensive report on Development and Welfare in the Gambia. Another move in 1943 saw him take up the post of Administrative Secretary to the Comptroller for Development and Welfare in the West Indies. During this period he was based mainly in Barbados. From 1947 he worked in London as the Colonial Office's first Director of Information Services. From 1950-1956 he served as Governor of the Leeward Islands, where he was particularly concerned with building preservation and restoration. His final postings before his retirement were in Jamaica, where he became Governor in 1957, then Governor General after the island's independence in 1962. Awarded the OBE, KCMG, GBE and GCMG, he was also the author of Development and Welfare in the Gambia, (s.l.,Bathurst, 1943) and Lasting Legacy - a story of British Colonialism, (London, Johnson, 1976). In 1935 he married Bridget Senhouse Constant Wilson, with whom he had two children.

Scope and Content

Administrative Information

Custodial History

The first approach by the Oxford Colonial Records Project to Sir Kenneth Blackburne was made on the 4th October 1963 and his papers were surveyed by the Project on the 12th February 1964. A series of negotiations between the Project and Sir Kenneth Blackburne continued until 1970 regarding a possible date of deposit. The papers were finally offered to the Project by his son in 1980.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were donated to the library by Lady Blackburne through the Oxford Development Records Project in 1982.


A typescript, with drafts and research notes, of Sir Kenneth Blackburne's article, The British Territories (contributed to The Restless Caribbean - Changing Patterns of International Relations in the Caribbean, edited by Richard L. Millett and W. Marvin Will (London, New York, Praeger, 1979) was donated to the library by Lady Blackburne in July 1990.

Access Conditions

Bodleian reader's ticket required.

Reproduction Restrictions

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

Further Information

Finding Aids

Listed as no. 562 in Manuscript Collections in Rhodes House Library Oxford, Accessions 1978-1994 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1996) 1996. A handlist is also available in the library reading room.

Publication Note

Myring transcript?

Access Points

Blackburne | Kenneth William | 1907-1980 | Sir | Knight colonial administrator

Great Britain | Colonies | Administration

Jamaica | History | 20th century

Mandate | Palestine

Antigua | Buildings, structures, etc. | Conservation and restoration

Palestine | History | 1917-1948

Nigeria | History | 1900-1960

Gambia | History | 20th century

Barbados | History | 20th century

West Indies | History | 20th century

Jamaica | Description and travel

West Indies | Description and travel

Cayman Islands | Description and travel

Turks and Caicos | Description and travel

Transformation from XML to HTML by Lawrence Mielniczuk
09 February 2012