Archive of Leonard Elmhirst documenting work with the independent research organisation Political and Economic Planning.
The collection is arranged into subseries including alphabetical correspondence; personal and organisational correspondence with Max Nicholson; correspondence with PEP directors R J Goodman and Richard Bailey; correspondence with Kenneth Lindsay (1925-1976); personal and PEP correspondence with Israel Sieff (1932-1972); notes for histories of PEP by Kenneth Lindsay, and an oral history transcript about PEP completed by Elmhirst in 1961. There are two boxes of PEP Directorate and Executive Committee papers including reports, agendas, minutes, and records of PEP social functions. The final 10 boxes contain a range of PEP bound printed reports including a set of the broadsheet publication PLANNING, dating from 1933 to 1967.
General member correspondence includes letters from Gerald Barry; Basil Blackett; Henry Bunbury; John Dower; Maxwell Fry; Arthur Goldschmidt; Fred Gwatkin; Noel Hall; William Holford; Julian Huxley; David Mitrany; Lawrence Neal; Geoffrey Whiskard; and Michael Zvegintzov. Records include agendas, and meeting notes kept by Leonard Elmhirst. Correspondence in 1972 is with Eric Roll and John Pinder among others and mentions a PEP Executive meeting held at Dartington Hall in 1972. Other major correspondents include Israel Sieff, Richard Bailey, R J Goodman, and Kenneth Lindsay. Lindsay as first secretary of PEP, sends letters relating to its founding history in 1931. Letters of Max Nicholson are also significant. Letters of David Owen in 1940 describe PEP activities and life in London during the sustained bombing of the Blitz.
Political and Economic Planning was founded in 1931. It grew out of the work of Max Nicholson, who wrote 'A National Plan for Britain' as a supplement to The Week-End Review in February, 1931. PEP members included businessmen, economists, and academic experts attracted by the promise of economic planning as both a means out of economic depression and as a means of avoiding it. During and after World War II, PEP extended its interests into the arts, television, and film in Britain. It also carried out investigations of social problems including racism, publishing the Street Report in 1967.
In 1978 PEP merged with the Centre for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), and became the Policy Studies Institute (PSI).
PEP functioned both as a club, and as a think tank. Research was organised by groups including Agriculture, Land use, Economics, Government, Industry, and Technique of Planning (TEC PLAN). Members were asked to research, and contribute according to their expertise, to the production of PEP reports which were edited for publication by the organisation's paid secretaries, Kenneth Lindsay, Max Nicholson, David Owen, and Michael Young. Following World War II, PEP employed executive directors including Ray Goodman, Richard Bailey, and John Pinder.
Although not present at the initial two meetings in the spring of 1931, Leonard Elmhirst soon became involved with PEP both as an advisor, and as the principal source of funding during the group's first three years. He served on the early Directorate, and was a continuous member of the PEP Executive until about 1971. He also served as Chairman of Political and Economic Planning from 1939 to 1953, following Israel Sieff in that role, and preceding Max Nicholson. Dartington Hall served as a rural retreat for PEP meetings and conferences from April 1931.