Skip to main content

Papers of Rev. Bruce Kenrick

 Fonds — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Coll-1363

Scope and Contents

A tranche of material acquired in 2012 is composed of diaries and journals, notebooks, notes, talks and broadcast scripts, letters, newspaper clippings, more specifically:

  1. Box containing school reports, a copy of school newspaper, and letters: Merchant Taylors’ School (Crosby) Terminal Reports, Summer Term 1930 to Winter Term 1936; a copy of Merchant Taylors School newspaper, ‘Weekly Echo’, No.1. (ed. B.H.Kenrick), Tuesday 7 February [?1933]; a copy of Merchant Taylors’ Old Boys’ Association (Old Crosbeians), May 1968, with on p.7 a news item on the Rev. B. Kenrick; a folder of letters, undated, and 1953-1956; and 2 x folders letters and other correspondence, undated, and 1950s-1960.
  2. Box containing diaries or journals covering the years 1927, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1937-38, 1939, 1940, 1/1942 to 4/1942, 4/1942 to 9/1942, 9/1942 to 10/1942, 10/1942 to 1/1943, 1/1943 to 8/1943, 9/1943 to 6/1944, 1944, 1949, 1951, 1951-52, 1953, 1954, 1955-56, and 1956-58. There are also 3 x small boxes of notes, letters and ephemera.
  3. Box containing diaries or journals, and notebooks, being: diaries or journals covering the years 1958/59, and diaries covering all years 1963 through 1977, and 1983; notes on Calvin, the Theology of John Knox, Knowledge of God etc; folder containing miscellaneous notes; notes designated I-IV on Cuba; notes designated V-VI; notebook on Cuba 1976; notebook on Chile, Brazil, Argentina; notebook on Guyana; and notebook on Cuba, Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Barbados; and a folder of material on the USSR, being 2 x small notebooks or diaries, cards of Yakov Lomko, Theodore Sealy, Valentin Berezhkov, an invitation to a cocktail party, from Counsellor of the Embassy of the USSR, a note of appointments on Wed. 2 April, no year, with Mr. Y.A.Lomko and Mr. L.M.Sheidin, and a note to Mr. Lomko, 4 April 1969.
  4. Box containing folders with material on Cuba (4 folders), and Guyana (2 folders), including letters (e.g. to/from publishers), newspaper clippings, manuscript notes, and copies of printed material.
  5. Box containing folders holding: the story of the ‘Retreat from Burma’, as told by a senior army officer, refugees and others; a manuscript ‘Come out the wilderness’ (East Harlem); material on ‘The new humanity’, being reviews of and correspondence about the work, from 1958-1959; publishers correspondence and contracts,1957-1970; material on the Iona Community; material on the East Harlem Protestant Parish; and material on East Harlem.
  6. Box containing folders with: sermons from c.1955-1985; sermons, including from Notting Hill, undated, and circa 1958; sermons and services, Bayswater, 1977-1979; talks, scripts, and articles; and BBC and radio talks, 1965-1967.
  7. Box containing folders with sermons, newspaper clippings, and printed matter including ‘Bayswater Messenger’.
  8. Box containing folders with sermons, services, orders of service, and childrens services.
  9. Box containing folders with sermons/prayers on Iona, 1988-1989.

A small accession in 2013 is composed of a bundle of material for sermons for children.

A small accession in 2017 (two folders) is composed of correspondence, newspaper clippings, extracts of magazine, handwritten notes and leaflets concerning the charity SHELTER. Also includes the first version of the book that would become "Touched By Fire", guidelines for SHELTER association members, campaign plan and public relations plan of SHELTER, and Bruce Kenrick obituary.


  • Creation: 1927-1989


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Biographical / Historical

Bruce Henderson Kenrick, clergyman and housing campaigner, was born 18 January 1920 in Aintree, Liverpool, the son of an accountant. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School in Crosby. During the Second World War he served with the Army Medical Corps in West Africa - in the Gold Coast, now Ghana - and then with the Eighth Army and the Parachute Brigade in Italy. After the war he began studies in Medicine at Edinburgh University but during his studies he became involved with the Christian Union which led to his switching courses to Theology. He was awarded the degree of B.D. on 9 July 1954. Also in 1954, Kenrick married Isabel Witte, a Bostonian.

After his ordination as a Presbyterian minister in 1961 - the Church of Scotland - he continued his studies at Princeton Theological Seminary and joined the ecumenical ministry of the East Harlem Protestant Parish (EHPP) which was involved in promoting a Christian response to rising racial tensions. Between 1956 and 1959, Kenrick served as a missionary in Bengal - in Calcutta - where he and his wife supported local movements for land reform. However, when he contracted typhoid in India they returned to the UK. The family then moved to Iona in the west of Scotland where he had become a member of the Iona Community - an ecumenical community created by the Rev. George MacLeod in 1938.

Between 1962 and 1980 the Kenricks were in Notting Hill, London, where he worked with an ecumenical group ministry modelled on the EHPP. In 1963, while in Notting Hill, he established the Notting Hill Housing Trust after becoming appalled at the housing conditions in the area.

Kenrick's work in Notting Hill inspired him to found the housing charity Shelter which was launched in 1966 as a national campaigning body for housing. The charity was given a huge boost by the public outcry after the BBC screening of the Ken Loach film Cathy come home. Kenrick was then able to persuade the Labour government of Harold Wilson to introduce legislation to provide funding for housing associations to enable them to buy and renovate run-down properties, and also for a rent rebate scheme for poorer tenants.

In 1980, Kenrick was appointed as a minister in the United Reformed Church in Bayswater. Later still, he moved to another ministry in Hackney before retiring to Iona where he often served as a locum minister. Prior to that, in 1983, he became divorced from his wife.

Kenrick's publication record includes The new humanity (1956), Come out the wilderness (1962) which was his account of his experience with the EHPP, and which carried a foreword written by the Rev. Trevor Huddleston, and A man from the interior (1980) which was written after a visit to Cuba and in which he argued that Communism and Christianity could co-exist.

The Rev. Bruce Henderson Kenrick died 15 January 2007 in Oban, aged 86.


9 boxes

2 folders

Physical Location

CLX-A-1003 to CLX-A-1011; CLX-A-1182.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession nos: E2012.08; E2013.08; and SC-Acc-2017-0144.

Processing Information

Compiled by Graeme D. Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections.

Catalogued by Graeme D. Eddie5 February 2013.

Description updated by Aline Brodin November 2017.

Papers of Rev. Bruce Kenrick (1920-2007)
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379