Plowden (Lady Bridget) Archive

Subject strengths: Education, Social History

The papers of the distinguished public servant Lady Plowden (1910-2000) were generously gifted to Newcastle University Library in 2004 by the Plowden family.

Held in Special Collections, Lady Plowden's papers are an extensive and rich resource reflecting her many areas of concern, including primary education and the promotion of high-quality television broadcasting. Lady Plowden's highest public profile was during the years 1975 to 1980, when she chaired the Independent Broadcasting Authority, but her most seminal influence on British life was in the 1960s, through the progressive educational philosophy espoused by the Plowden Report on primary education.

An additional deposit of material made by the Plowden family in the form of Elsa's family photograph albums contains material which is complementary to other collections held in Special Collections, for through her mother, Elsa Bell, Lady Plowden was a niece of Gertrude Bell and a cousin of the Trevelyans of Wallington.

Collection Name and Collection Reference Code:

Collection Name: Plowden (Lady Bridget) Archive

Archive Ref Code: GB186/BP

Date Range of Material

20th Century

Type of Material

Personal archive of Lady Bridget Plowden

Size of Collection

71 Linear Metres of shelving 

How To Order Items From This Collection

Please use the finding aid below to search through a list of the individual items we have within this collection.

If you find an item you would like to consult in the Special Collections reading room, simply make a note of the reference number and title of the item(s) you are interested in (for example BP 1/2/1 ACERT Annual Report).

You can then place your order by linking to our request form. 

Finding Aid

The first catalogue section of the Plowden Papers is available via online listing.

Scanning and Photocopy Service

If you are unable to visit our reading room, we also have a scanning and photocopying service.

Other Resources

For the archive of Lady Plowden's aunt Gertrude Bell, see Bell (Gertrude) Archive.

For the archive of Lady Plowden's relative, see Trevelyan (Charles Philips) Archive.

Material from this collection was used in our Treasures of the Month feature for July 2010.

Projects, Progress and Updates:
Work on cataloguing the Plowden Papers is currently in progress.

To date, initial box-lists of the papers have been created and full cataloguing of the first section of the papers, relating to Lady Plowden's work as chairman of the Advisory Council for the Education of Romany and Other Travellers (ACERT), is now complete.

For information relating to the first catalogued section of the Plowden Papers, relating to her work as Chairman of The Advisory Council for the Education of Romany and other Travellers (ACERT) click here.

Currently underway is work on the second section of the papers, relating to Lady Plowden's work in other areas of Education, including the Plowden Report.

Regular updates on cataloguing progress will be posted here.