Reference number1383
TitleVarrier-Jones collection: records of Peter Fraser (1913-1961), incorporating the extensive personal and professional papers of Sir Pendrill Varrier-Jones (1883-1941), Medical Director of the Cambridgeshire Tuberculosis Colony (from 1927 called Papworth Village Settlement), at Bourn and Papworth Hall, and other records relating to this and kindred establishments
DescriptionThese records include a small number of personal records of Peter Fraser relating to his life and employment at Papworth Village Settlement where he was, 1935-40, private secretary to the Medical Director, Sir Pendrill Varrier-Jones, and 1940-46 Managing Director of Papworth Industries, and to his life thereafter as a farmer and landowner in Herefordshire. These extend from 1932 to 1960. The core of the archive however comprises the papers deriving directly from Fraser's employment at the Settlement as Varrier-Jones' private secretary 1935-40 and more especially of Varrier-Jones himself.

Improving the lives of people with tuberculosis was Varrier-Jones' life's work, and it is unsurprising that his personal and professional records are inextricably intermixed. Whilst there is, perhaps surprisingly, nothing relating directly to his childhood, youth or education, or to his medical training (beyond correspondence with a residue of contacts, particularly of his school Wycliffe College), a scattering of correspondence throughout the papers relate to family property in south Wales and especially to the house Bryntirion, to which his parents retired and which he took over on his mother's death in 1929, at Aylestone Hill on the outskirts of Hereford.

The great majority of the records however relate to his professional life as a medical practitioner and to the institutions which he created or in which he was closely involved. This includes drafts and copies of published papers in academic journals and other publications, correspondence about these, and extensive correspondence and other papers advancing the case for his system of treatment in industrial colonies or 'village settlements'. His own foundation, the Cambridgeshire Tuberculosis Colony, at Bourn 1915-18, then Papworth Hall in Papworth Everard from 1918 onward (called from 1927 Papworth Village Settlement) was of course the leading model of this kind of establishment and quickly gained an international reputation. Much of this correspondence is with members of his own governing committee and with civil servants, clerks of local insurance committees, etc., and colleagues within the medical profession, as well as with potential and actual donors to the Settlement. This correspondence extends over the entire period from the foundation of the Colony at Bourn in 1915 to Varrier-Jones' death in 1941.

Other records relate to the internal administration of the Papworth Village Settlement and its industrial and trading arm, Papworth Industries, which was organised under Varrier-Jones' remarkably close control, requiring the copying by Settlement officers of external communications to him and other reports. Most of this paperwork relates to the period of rapid development of the Settlement, coinciding with Varrier-Jones' ever-widening commitments, during the mid-1920s to 1941 that by culmulative steps necessitated the appointment of other officers of Medical Officer, General Manager, Secretary, Managing Director, and Chief Accountant.

The largest of the other establishments with which Varrier-Jones was involved and is represented in this archive is the Enham Village Centre, near Andover, Hants. The Village Centres Council for Curative Training of Disabled Ex-servicemen established this settlement during the Great War. There was an obvious convergence of interests during the 1920s because of the large number of ex-servicemen also at Papworth and their competition for public attention. A co-operation agreement in 1927 led to the appointment of Varrier-Jones as Medical Director of Enham and of a takeover of the Enham factory by his appointee as manager. From this date until his resignation in 1938 there is therefore a particularly full record of activities of the Enham Centre, including agenda of the establishment's governing body. Later Enham, re-named Enham-Alamein, became in effect a 'sister-establishment' of the Papworth Village Settlement and substantial records are in the archive of the Papworth Trust now also deposited in the County Record Office Cambridge (R103/81).

The Varrier-Jones papers also contain substantial papers about the British Legion sanatorium and colony at Preston Hall, Aylesford, Kent, particularly of the period 1925-27, when Varrier-Jones was invited by the Legion to take over as Medical Director, but including some earlier papers, and for the Peamount Industrial Colony in Newcastle, Co. Dublin, Ireland, 1928-32. Under the co-operation agreement of 1927 Papworth, Peamount and Enham were united for the purposes of 'London Publicity' under a single Organising Secretary who was the Village Centres' secretary, J. Reynell Wreford. Wreford was indeed a significant important figure and the archive includes much correspondence with him, including several of his valuable news-cutting books for 1927-36 that were returned to Peter Fraser in 1942, whether for the planned 'Memorial Library' or the biography, or simply (if belatedly) because Papworth was a safer place than central London in wartime.

More biographical information on Varrier-Jones and historical background on the Papworth Village Settlement will be found in the Introduction to the Papworth Archives Lists.
Date1901 - 1960
CreatorNameVarrier-Jones Papers
RepositoryCambridgeshire Archives
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