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Noakes, Diane

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0102 PP MS 56
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies
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Full title: Noakes, Diane
Date(s): Created 1911-1984
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 4 boxes
Name of creator(s): Noakes | Mary Elizabeth Diane | 1911-1983 | née Bixby | political activist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Mary Elizabeth (Diane) Noakes (née Bixby) was born on 30 December 1911 in Mile End, East London. She had a number of secretarial jobs, including working for the Toynbee Hall Settlement. In 1941 she volunteered into the Women's Royal Air Force, where she carried out welfare, educational and administrative duties, and attained the position of Sergeant. After the War she trained as a teacher at Borthwick Teacher Training College, London, and worked from 1947-1949 at Peckham Secondary School for Girls teaching commercial subjects.

In 1951, Diane Noakes was invited by the Ugandan African Farmers' Union to help resolve disputes. She was already Secretary of the Working Party of the Congress of Peoples Against Imperialism (later amalgamated with other organisations to become the Movement for Colonial Freedom), and went to Uganda in this capacity. She reached agreement over cotton ginning and established the Abalini Co-operative for farmers; she established a school and clinic, and a weaving factory was also set up for women. Although the Abalini Cooperative folded, the Abesigwa Coffee Co. Ltd. was established. In 1965 Diane Noakes was appointed to the paid position of Executive Secretary of the Central Council of the Indian Associations in Uganda. She was also involved with the establishment of the Uganda Children's Welfare Society.

Following her return from Uganda in 1958, she gained employment at the Kellogg International Corporation in London, and advanced to the position of Assistant Metallurgist. Socially, she was a member of the Labour Party and Political Education Officer for Thornton Ward, and was involved with the running of the Kellogg Corporation photography club. She retired in 1971 and bought a house near Shap, in the Lake District, where amongst other things she campaigned for 'Cumbrians for Peace'. Diane Noakes died on 21 November 1983, following a period of illness.


Scope and content/abstract:

Diaries, correspondence, photographs and papers, 1911-1984, of Diane Noakes. The majority of the papers relate to her life in England, but some relate to her work in Uganda (1951-1958).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The collection has been arranged into the following sections: diaries; correspondence; materials relating to Uganda; Labour Party papers; miscellaneous papers; and photographs.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids:

Unpublished handlist.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated in January 1995.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The School of Oriental and African Studies holds records of the Movement for Colonial Freedom (now Liberation) (Ref: MCF).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
16 May 2000

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