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‘All human life is there’: the John Hilton Bureau of the News of the World and access to free legal advice, c.1938-1973

Bradley, Kate (2014) ‘All human life is there’: the John Hilton Bureau of the News of the World and access to free legal advice, c.1938-1973. English Historical Review, 129 (539). pp. 888-911. ISSN 1477-4534 (online); 0013-8266 (print). (doi:10.1093/ehr/ceu210) (KAR id:37801)

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This article considers the role of the John Hilton Bureau newspaper advice service, which ran under the auspices of the News of the World between 1942 and the late 1960s. The Bureau merits attention from historians on account of the light it can shed on how ordinary Britons accessed the law and legal advice before and after the Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949. It also provides insight into how relationships between the state and individual differed between a highly-regulated wartime state and the supposedly affluent, consumerist welfare state that followed it. The article also argues that the John Hilton Bureau evolved from a service defined by the reputation of the eponymous Hilton, a Cambridge professor and radio personality, to one that saw itself as a crusading organisation standing up for the ‘little man’ against a bureaucratic welfare state and unscrupulous traders. The Bureau is finally a reminder that the post-war welfare state was not simply divided between the public and voluntary sectors, but also included an array of private sector interests. The Bureau’s position outside of the public and voluntary sectors enabled it to be a critical and challenging voice, untainted by a sense of charity, but its location within a profit-making organisation also made it vulnerable in the longer term.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/ehr/ceu210
Uncontrolled keywords: Legal advice; charity; pro bono; newspapers; financial advice; personal advice; welfare state; radio; crusading journalism
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HS Societies: secret, benevolent, etc.
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
K Law > KD England and Wales
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Kate Bradley
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2014 09:45 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 12:50 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Bradley, Kate:
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