Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)NC18
TitleCorrespondence with Ida and Hilda Chamberlain
Extent2443 items
DescriptionLetters from Neville Chamberlain to his sisters Hilda and Ida Chamberlain, and letters from Hilda and Ida to Neville. Other correspondence between Neville and his sisters is included in NC1/15 and NC1/16.

From late 1915 until July 1940, Neville and his sisters Hilda and Ida regularly wrote to each other. The two sisters lived together in Odiham, Hampshire from December 1914 and would take turns to write, with Hilda normally writing one week and Ida the following week. Neville's letters were similarly alternately addressed to Ida or Hilda. In a typical week, there would therefore be one letter from either Hilda or Ida to Neville and one letter from Neville to either Hilda or Ida, normally whoever sent the last letter. There were occasional interruptions to this pattern of writing, for instance when Neville was staying with Hilda and Ida.

The letters were often fairly long and discussed a wide variety of matters including political matters and other current affairs, their work and activities during the week, family matters, holidays, and much more. Neville's letters discuss much of his work in politics and government, and he gives various opinions and ideas in his letters. Ida's and Hilda's letters give much detail about their activities such as their work in the village of Odiham and Ida's work as a District and County councillor; and they comment on political matters and sometimes make suggestions and give ideas to their brother on political matters. Further details about the contents of the letters are given in the appropriate sub-series, and files for each year.

Due to the regularity in which these letters were written, their high level of detail, and their candour they are often considered to be like a diary, and as such are a key source about Neville Chamberlain and the governments he served in. Neville's letters to his sisters, which have been referred to as 'diary letters', are in fact far more comprehensive than his diaries [see NC2, in particular NC2/20-24] which were irregularly written.
Access StatusOpen


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