Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)NCLAdd/114-120
TitleLetters from Neville Chamberlain to Mr and Mrs Michael Knowles
Extent10 items
DescriptionLetters, some with transcripts, several with pages missing, from Chamberlain writing individually to the Andros Fibre Company overseer and his wife, Mr and Mrs Knowles, [Andros Island, Bahamas]. All but letter /120 were written from 40 Princes Gardens, London, or Highbury, Birmingham, whilst Chamberlain was on two return trips to England, mid-way through his seven year sisal-growing experience on the island. In the final letter locations are reversed with Chamberlain writing from Andros Island to the Knowles during their holiday back home in England. His correspondence with Knowles largely relates to business matters and his family's political activities during a period which saw Lord Salisbury [Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 1830-1903, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury; Prime Minister 1885-1886; 1886-1892; 1895-1902] returning to the role of Prime Minister for the third time; Chamberlain's writing also includes comments on his own maiden political speech. In his letter to Mrs Knowles, Chamberlain gives a vivid account of his social experiences.

/114 Letter, dated 23 July 1894, to Knowles. Final page[s] missing.
/115 Letter, dated 24 July [18]94, to Mrs Knowles, describing 'the whirl of gaieties' that he had been involved in including attending a most amusing speech by his father Joseph Chamberlain [1836-1914] that 'kept the House [of Commons] in roars of laughter' and a party at the home of Earl Brownton attended by 'three London "beauties"'. Chamberlain, in his mid-twenties, notes that the latter were 'very dangerous singly' [but] 'there is safety in numbers and my old heart has come out unscathed'. Final page[s] missing.
/115a Transcript copy of /115.
/116 Letter, dated 16 September [18]94, to Knowles. Anticipating his arrival back in Andros on the next boat, Chamberlain ends, 'I am awfully keen to get back'.
/117 Letter to Knowles, dated 19 July 1895, relating his time spent electioneering with his father [Joseph Chamberlain, 1836-1914] and brother [Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain, 1863-1937]. Whilst his father and brother 'were both hard at it making speeches every day' Chamberlain describes how he 'summoned up courage and delivered ...[his] maiden speech to an audience of about 800 with great success.' 'I was in the devil of a funk, but I believe I did not show it'. He looks ahead to an insect collecting tour in Norfolk and grouse shooting in Scotland. Annotated 'last page mislaid'.
/117a Transcript copy of /117.
/118 Letter to Knowles, dated 30 August 1895, in which Chamberlain thanks him for showing around Sir W[illiam] F[rederick] Haynes-Smith [1839-1928; Governor of The Bahamas, 1895-1897] noting stories of Sir William's 'recklessness in financial matters'. After discussing business matters and social occasions, Chamberlain comments that 'Politics are very dull'. He describes the reception his father was receiving in his new role as Colonial Secretary [, with the Colonial papers rejoicing. He refers to enclosing two cartoons, both 'from a (hostile) evening paper'.
/118a Transcript copy of /118.
/119 Letter, with missing front page[s].
/120 Letter, dated 26 December 1895, in which Chamberlain, Andros Fibre Co[mpany], Andros Island, Bahamas, writes telling Knowles of a fire that had destroyed a baling shed and stock.
Access StatusOpen


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