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SIMON, Brian (1915-2002)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0366 SIM
Held at: Institute of Education
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Full title: SIMON, Brian (1915-2002)
Date(s): 1940s-1990s
Level of description: collection
Extent: 31 boxes; 7 boxfiles; 1 album
Name of creator(s): Simon | Brian | 1915-2002 | Professor of Education
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Brian Simon was Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Leicester. He was best known for his 4 volume history of the English education system from 1780-1990 (a standard text today), and his continued campaigning for comprehensive schooling. Simon came from a privileged background. His parents were great civic figures in Manchester. His father, Ernest Simon, head of the family engineering firm, was made first Lord Simon of Wythenshawe for public services. His mother, Shena, served 50 years on Manchester's education committee, working to improve the state system. Among close family friends was RH Tawney, also strongly committed to secondary education for all. As a schoolboy, Simon had encountered German fascism at first hand, having been sent in the early 1930s to Kurt Hahn's progressive school at Salem, which was already under Nazi attack. During his time at Trinity College, Cambridge, Simon was part of the generation which, horrified by fascism, turned to communism. Allegations that Simon recruited Guy Burgess for the KGB were refuted by him. His communist beliefs, unlike those of many of that generation, survived the war and the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary. Simon wanted to become a teacher and following the Second World War, in 1950, he went to Leicester University School of Education, where academics were doing field work devising a comprehensive school system. He was to stay at Leicester for the rest of his professional life until his retirement in 1980. Simon wrote a draft autobiography, which was published in a shortened version as A Life In Education (1998). Today he is recognised as a great educationalist by those who work in the field.

Studies in the History of Education, 1780-1870 (1960), later retitled The Two Nations and the Educational Structure
Education and the Labour Movement, 1870-1920 (1965),
The Politics of Educational Reform, 1920-1940 (1974)
Education and the Social Order, 1940-1990 (1991).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers relating to the life and work of Brian Simon, 1940s-1990s, including memoirs from Simon's time at Kurt Hahn's progressive school at Salem; talks, articles, reviews, lectures and other papers by Simon; correspondence, [1952-1990], including with Caroline Benn and Norman Morris; press cuttings, 1967-1989, chiefly comprising obituaries and biographical material (of others); working papers, chiefly in preparation for the following publications by Simon: Studies in the History of Education, 1780-1870 (1960), Education and the Labour Movement, 1870-1920 (1965), The Politics of Educational Reform, 1920-1940 (1974) and Education and the Social Order, 1940-1990 (1991); papers relating to the National Union of Students; papers relating to visits abroad; publishers' correspondence and personal photographs and scrapbooks.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Not fully arranged at present, but loosely ordered according to the order in which the material was received.

Conditions governing access:

Open, subject to signature of Reader Application Form. Some files are closed under the Data Protection Acts. Full details are at the relevant file level descriptions.

Conditions governing reproduction:

A reader wishing to publish any quotation of information, including pictorial, derived from any archive material must apply in writing for prior permission from the Archivist or other appropriate person(s) as indicated by the Archivist. A limited number of photocopies may be supplied at the discretion of the Archivist.

Finding aids:

Paper list for most of the collection.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Collected from the family in Leicester in August 2005 and later in 2006.

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Entry compiled by Sarah Drewery.

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:
Jan 2008

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