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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 ACC/2337
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1820-1926
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.01 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Burns | John Elliott | 1858-1943 | labour leader and politician


Administrative/Biographical history:

John Elliott Burns was born in Lambeth, London in 1858, into a poor family. He was apprenticed to an engineer but attended night schools and read radical literature, becoming involved in the Social Democratic Federation. In 1889 he won a seat on the London County Council, for Battersea. He soon became a dominant figure in the Council, due to his hard work and powerful personality. In 1892 he was elected MP for Battersea, standing as an independent candidate. In 1905 he was offered the presidency of the Local Government Board, the first working man to achieve rank in the cabinet. Burns resigned from the Government in 1914 in protest at the First World War and retired from public life. He died in 1943.


Scope and content/abstract:

Letters to John Burns, 1901-1926, including letters from the London County Council Works Department, letters relating to the collecting of prints and drawings, and letters relating to Burns' library and book collection. Also two letters collected by Burns, comprising a letter from Lord Sidmouth to the Bishop of Raphoe, Co. Donegal, Ireland, 1820 and a letter from Henry Burney to "Smith", 18--.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Letters arranged chronologically.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The John Burns private collection of documents was acquired by Lord Southwood, who gave them to the Greater London History Library in 1943. The collection consisted mainly of books, maps and prints. Any archival items found during cataloguing were transferred to the Record Office.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
August to October 2010.

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