RepositorySpecial Collections Archives (GB 0029)
Ref NoEUL MS 441
Extent6 boxes
TitlePapers of Sir Tom Blackburn relating to his work with Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook
DescriptionThis collection comprises papers from the archive of Sir Tom Blackburn, Chairman and Joint Managing Director of Beaverbrook Newspapers. The papers mainly relate to Blackburn's work and friendship with Max Aitken, the running of Beaverbrook Newspapers, and a number of high profile stories broken by the Daily Express during the 1950s and 1960s.

Highlights of the collections include:

- two boxes of letters, copy letters, reports and memos sent between Max Aitken and Tom Blackburn, which concern the running of the newspaper business, legal disputes, and developments on various news stories, including the 1958 Munich Air Disaster and the 1963 Profumo Affair;

- papers relating to Max Aitken's 85th birthday dinner, including correspondence and copies of his speech;

- general correspondence between Max Aitken and Tom Blackburn;

- typescript copies and correspondence relating to the biographies: 'The Glorious Fault: The Life of Lord Curzon' by Leonard Mosely, 'The Fall of Singapore' by Frank Owen, and 'The Decline and Fall of Lloyd George: And Great Was the Fall Thereof';

- papers relating to the death and memorial service of Max Aitken, including correspondence received by Tom Blackburn, a copy of the order of service, and press clippings;

- correspondence received by Tom Blackburn from a number of high profile individuals;

- press clippings and ephemera collected by Tom Blackburn, which relate to himself, Max Aitken, and Beaverbrook Newspapers.
Admin HistoryThomas 'Tom' Blackburn (1899-1974) joined the Army during the First World War before he was 16. Following the war, he studied economics and commerce at Nottingham University College. He started his media career as a Circulation Representative on Merseyside. His career included positions as Circulation Manager of the Scottish Daily Express in Glasgow, General Manager of the Sunday Express in Glasgow, General Manager of the Evening Standard in London, and General Manager and Deputy Manager of the Express Group. In 1958, he became Chairman of Beaverbrook Newspapers Ltd (subsequently renamed Express Newspapers Ltd). He retired on 01 May 1968. Tom Blackburn was awarded a Knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 1968. [Sources: 'Achievement: The Weekly News Magazine of Business and Industry' (06 Dec 1988), p. 7; 'Journal of the Association of Circulation Executives' (1968), p. 24]

William Maxwell 'Max' Aitken (1879-1964), 1st Baron Beaverbrook, was a businessman, politician, writer and newspaper owner. He was born in Canada, and moved to London in 1910, having made himself a millionaire in the Canadian finance industry. He was close friends with Bonar Law and went on to win the Conservatives (then the Unionist Party) seat for Ashton-under-Lyne in the House of Commons. Aitken was knighted in 1911, and he was awarded a peerage in 1917 to become Lord Beaverbrook. After the First World War, Beaverbrook turned away from politics to focus on newspaper publishing. He bought the Daily Express and the Evening Standard, as well as creating the Sunday Express. He is widely regarded as the first Baron of Fleet Street. He was appointed the Minister of Aircraft Production by Winston Churchill during World War II, and again resigned from politics in 1945. Thereafter, he spent most of his time as a political historian, writing memoirs and biographies of influential politicians, including David Lloyd-George. He married Gladys Drury in 1906, and they had three children together; one daughter, Janet Gladys, and two sons, John William Maxwell and Peter Rudyard. His first wife died in 1927, and after many years as a widower he remarried in 1963 to Marcia Christoforides.
Access StatusOpen
Related MaterialThe archive of Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, is held at the Parliamentary Archives (reference number: BBK)
ArrangementIn the original order as deposited with Special Collections. The papers appear to have been roughly sorted into series.
Finding_AidsBox list available on request
Creator_NameBlackburn; Sir; Thomas (1899-1974); Knight; newspaper chairman
Mgt_GroupHistorical papers
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