Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)NCLAdd/141-150
TitleLetters from Neville Chamberlain to Miss Parkes; with one from Anne Chamberlain to Miss Parkes
Extent10 items
DescriptionMiss Parkes would appear to have been Chamberlain's secretary in Birmingham between 1919 and 1921and this group of letters largely relate to administration of his personal and constituency affairs, the organisation of and his attendance at meetings, matters involving individual constituents etc. The letters are mostly written from Chamberlain's Birmingham or London home addresses, although one is written from Greenhill House, Sherborne, Dorset and another from Cairnton, Banchory, N.B.

/141 Letter, dated 13 January 1919, in which he asks Miss Parkes to meet him in order to discuss constituency matters.
/142 Letter, dated 26 January 1921, in which he asks Miss Parkes to send his patience cards, together with his razor strop and wash leather.
/143 Letter, dated 24 February 1921, concerning constituency matters. Chamberlain also mentions that he had seen Hugh Edwards in the House of Commons [John Hugh Edwards, d 1945, MP(Lab) Mid Glamorgan, 1910-1922, author of 'From Village Green to Downing Street; The Life of D. Lloyd George, MP'] 'and abused him for not acknowledging my trouble in getting him a ticket for the Lloyd George function'. He had apparently sent a letter to Chamberlain in Birmingham, and he asks Miss Parkes to find out whether this letter arrived. Chamberlain comments that 'Of course, you can't believe a word these Welshmen say!'
/144 Letter, dated 26 March 1921, in which he gives Miss Parkes various instructions. Chamberlain asks her to confirm an engagement on 7 May, but to tell T.J.Bass that he will be unable to attend his meeting on 26 April. He is also unable to attend a conference given by Griffiths on 1 April, due to a meeting of the B.S.A [Birmingham Small Arms Company, of which Chamberlain was a director]. He asks Miss Parkes to send a letter about a forthcoming meeting of the Birmingham Club to 'all the Birmingham MP's [sic] except Hallas' [Eldred Hallas, 1870-1926 MP(Lab) Duddeston, 1918-1922], Sir Alfred Robbins [1856-1931, London correspondent of the Birmingham Post, 1888-1923] and G.W.Hubbard [Editor of the Birmingham Daily Post]. He follows these instructions with a draft of the letter. His final comment to Miss Parkes is that the 'weather here is brilliant & I caught a salmon yesterday so things are satisfactory!'
/145 Letter, dated 5 April 1921, in which he asks Miss Parkes to alter the time of an appointment that he has with 'Mr. Pratt' [Harry Pratt, Conservative Central Office agent for the West Midlands area] because he will be 'presiding at the monthly meeting of the B.U.A' [Birmingham [Liberal] Unionist Association] and to arrange a meeting with the Lord Mayor for the same afternoon.
/146 Letter, dated 12 April 1921, in which Chamberlain asks Miss Parkes to send him some correspondence which he had meant to take to London with him. One was a letter from Griffiths about the 'Spelter industry', and the other was from a 'Dame Ethel' about the difference between the Minister of Pensions and the Association of Local War Pensions Committees. He also asks her to find out the times of trains from Birmingham to Great Malvern on the following Friday evening, as he has 'undertaken to speak for Stanley Baldwin' there.
/147 Letter, dated 26 April 1921, about the fuel shortages at home [a consequence of the coal strike in the spring and summer of 1921 which meant a reduced gas supply and the rationing of coke]. Chamberlain tells Miss Parkes that he has enough coal, but that he concerned about 'the coke for hot water, for baths and for the greenhouse'. He asks her to send permits to Elliots (Elliotts Metal Company, of which Chamberlain was a director) 'and ask them to send me all the coke they can on the two of them'. He comments that 'probably their weighing machines may not be very accurate!'
/148 Letter, dated 1 May 1921, in which he discusses the possibility of finding employment for the son of the Wright family - 'if the family is starving we must see if there is anything else we an do' - and he also encloses a cheque for Miss Parkes' monthly salary.
/149 Undated letter in which he asks Miss Parkes to 'communicate with Hewins' [R.G.Hewins of the Midlands Liberal Unionist Association] regarding the B.U.A Annual meeting, at which Chamberlain had asked the Lord Chancellor to speak. The Lord Chancellor would be able to honour this engagement if the date of the meeting were changed from 14 April to 15 April although this would also involve changing the venue from the Town Hall to the Central Hall. If Hewins can make the necessary arrangements, then Chamberlain can fix the engagement.
/150 Undated letter from Annie Chamberlain to Miss Parkes, asking her to have lunch with her the following day. She wishes to ask her advice about answering a letter she has received. 'I will answer after seeing you as she is offering her services!'
Access StatusOpen


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