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The Lord Briggs
Asa Briggs.jpg
Asa Briggs
Born (1921-05-07)7 May 1921
Died 15 March 2016(2016-03-15) (aged 94)
Lewes, East Sussex, England
Occupation Historian
Spouse(s) Susan Anne Banwell (1955–2016, his death)
Military career
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Corps of Signals Intelligence Corps
Years of service 1942–1945
Rank Warrant Officer
Battles/wars Second World War

Asa Briggs, Baron Briggs (7 May 1921 – 15 March 2016) was an English historian. He was a leading specialist on the Victorian era, and the foremost historian of broadcasting in Britain. Briggs achieved international recognition during his long and prolific career for examining various aspects of modern British history. He became a life peer in 1976.

Early life

Asa Briggs was born in Keighley, West Riding of Yorkshire in 1921 to William Briggs, an engineer, and his wife Jane. He was educated at Keighley Boys' Grammar School and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, graduating with a BA (first class) in History, in 1941, and a BSc in Economics (first class) from the University of London External Programme, also in 1941.

Military service

During the Second World War, from 1942 to 1945, Briggs served in the Intelligence Corps and worked at the British wartime codebreaking station, Bletchley Park. He was a member of "the Watch" in Hut 6, the section deciphering Enigma machine messages from the German Army and Luftwaffe. That posting had arisen because Briggs had played chess at college with Cambridge mathematician Howard Smith (who was to become the Director General of MI5 in 1979), and Smith had written to the head of Hut 6, Gordon Welchman, who was also a Cambridge mathematician, recommending Briggs to him.

Academic career

After the war, he was elected a fellow of Worcester College, Oxford (1945–55), and was subsequently appointed university reader in recent social and economic history (1950–55). Whilst a young fellow, Briggs proofread Winston Churchill's A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. He was later faculty fellow of Nuffield College (1953–55) and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, United States (1953–54).

From 1955 until 1961, he was professor of modern history in Leeds University and between 1961 and 1976 he was professor of history in Sussex University, whilst also serving as dean of the School of Social Studies (1961–65), pro vice-chancellor (1961–67) and vice-chancellor (1967–76). On 4 June 2008, the University of Sussex Arts A1 and A2 lecture theatres, designed by Basil Spence, were renamed in his honour. In 1976, he returned to Oxford to become provost of Worcester College, retiring from the post in 1991.

He was chancellor of the Open University (1978–94) and in May 1979 was awarded an honorary degree as Doctor of the University. He was an honorary fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, from 1968, Worcester College, Oxford, from 1969 and St Catharine's College, Cambridge, from 1977. He held a visiting appointment at the Gannett Center for Media Studies at Columbia University in the late 1980s and again at the renamed Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia in 1995–96. Announced in the 1976 Birthday Honours, he was created a life peer as Baron Briggs, of Lewes in the County of East Sussex on 19 July 1976.

Between 1961 and 1995, Briggs wrote a five-volume series on the history of broadcasting in the UK from 1922 to 1974 – essentially the history of the BBC, who commissioned the work. Briggs' other works ranged from an account of the period that Karl Marx spent in London to the corporate history of British retailer Marks and Spencer. In 1987, Lord Briggs was invited to be President of the Brontë Society, a literary society established in 1893 in Haworth, near Keighley, Yorkshire. He presided over the Society's centenary celebrations in 1993 and continued as President until he retired from the position in 1996. He was also President of the William Morris Society from 1978 to 1991 and President of the UK's Victorian Society from 1986 until his death.

Briggs headed the Committee on Nursing government investigation in the early 1970s. The Committee's subsequent report became known as the Briggs Report.

Personal life

Briggs married Susan Anne Banwell of Keevil, Wiltshire in 1955; the couple had two sons and two daughters. He died at home in Lewes at the age of 94 on 15 March 2016.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Asa Briggs para niños

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