Skip to main content

New Ulster Movement records

Collection MS-2010-006: New Ulster Movement records


  • Creation: 1940 - 2008
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1969 - 1973

Scope and Contents

The New Ulster Movement records show the organization's efforts to promote peace in Northern Ireland through moderate political policies between 1969-1978. These records were largely created or collected by founding chairman Brian W. Walker and, to a lesser extent, treasurer Cecil Hull.

Correspondence illustrates the discussions of NUM leadership and the organization's efforts to bring their message to members of the British, Irish, and Northern Irish governments. Lengthier memorandum addressed to specific government leaders elucidate the details of proposed policy. Walker's long-running correspondence with G.B. Newe, who served as the Northern Irish Minister of State between 1971-1972, documents willingness to work across the religious spectrum. The response of the public and religious leaders to NUM is evident in external correspondence through their criticism of NUM's public statements, membership inquiries, and invitations to speak. Most correspondence dates to the period when both Walker and Hull were living in Northern Ireland, 1969-1973. A small amount of correspondence received by Walker at Oxfam from 1974 shows his gradual disengagement from the work of the NUM.

The remainder of the collection is largely Walker’s executive records and writings. The executive records include NUM annual reports, committee drafts, minutes, position papers, and pamphlets. The writings series contains a memoir, articles, lectures, and speeches, as well as a few of Walker's earlier lectures on personnel management and industrial relations. Walker maintained files on aligned groups--such as the Community Conference, Peace Point, and the United Nations Association--and served on many of them. These files document the major Northern Ireland political parties and religious groups working for peace. The Alliance Party is well documented, particularly in Hull's records, as he remained affiliated with it longer than Walker. Otherwise Hull's records mirror Walker's exective and organization files but in lesser volume.

Finally, the NUM records feature a good number of contemporaneous newspaper articles, position papers, reports, and speeches regarding politics in Northern Ireland, which served as a reference for the formulation of NUM policy. Most are typescripts that circulated outside of published distribution.


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research. One audio cassette has been digitally copied; all original media was retained, but may not be played due to format. Digital use copies can only be accessed in the Burns Library Reading Room.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Historical note: New Ulster Movement

Political advocacy organization the New Ulster Movement (NUM) was created in 1969 to support the standing Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terrence O’Neill and moderate political measures as a means to peace in Northern Ireland. It solicited members from all political parties and religious backgrounds.

NUM’s structure included a governing council with delegates drawn from the general membership and NUM branches, and a smaller executive committee to conduct regular business. The executive committee delegated sub-committees annually, on topics including community relations; finance; law and order; and politics.

In April 1970 a group of NUM sub-committee members and officers formed a new political party, the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. The executive committee determined that NUM would not be affiliated with the new party, and redefined the Movement's focus from electoral outcomes to policy formulation.

NUM restructured in 1973. Founding chair and vice-chair became honorary president and vice president respectively, and a new chairman was appointed. In October of 1974 the Movement incorporated as NUM (New Ulster Movement) Limited, with a primary objective to promote “political and social reconciliation and religious tolerance among the people in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.”

By 1978 internal disagreements and the adoption of many of NUM’s policies by politicians and policy groups caused dwindling momentum. The New Ulster Movement produced one final pamphlet before disbanding.


New Ulster Movement records, MS.2010.006, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Biographical note: Brian W. Walker

Brian W. Walker was born on October 31, 1930. He was educated in England at the Heversham School, Leicester College of Technology, and Manchester University. By the early 1960s he was the personnel manager at Bridgeport Brass Limited, and between 1962-1964 he served as chairman of the Northern Ireland Institute of Personnel Management. Walker was also a member of the Churches’ Industrial Council and secretary of its Consultative Action Group. Throughout the 1960s he lectured extensively on industrial relations and personnel management.

Walker founded the New Ulster Movement (NUM) with several like-minded colleagues in 1969. He served as chairman and steered the Movement through the changes brought on by the creation and subsequent separation of the Alliance Party by some of the NUM leadership. Walker was involved in other activist groups that promoted peace in Northern Ireland, including the United Nations Association of the UK, Peace Point, the Corrymeela Centre, and the Movement for Peace. Originally a Methodist, Walker converted to Quakerism in 1972 and continued to work with religious groups across the spectrum on peace efforts.

In late 1973 Walker moved to London to serve as general director of Oxfam. Although he resigned as New Ulster Movement chairman, he served on the executive committee as president until NUM dissolved in 1978. Following his tenure at Oxfam, Walker continued to focus on social and environmental causes as the director of the Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues 1983-1985, president of the International Institute for Environment and Development, and executive director of Earthwatch Europe.


International Commission on Peace and Food. Uncommon Opportunities: An Agenda for Peace and Equitable Development. Longon; New Jersey: Zed Books, 1994.

New Ulster Movement records, MS.2010.006, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Walker, Brian W. Authentic Development in Africa. Headline Series, No. 274. New York, N.Y.: Foreign Policy Association, 1986.

Biographical note: Cecil Hull

Cecil Hull was born in Belfast in 1918, the youngest of ten children. As a young man Hull moved to London and worked for Spaldings, a sporting outfitter. He married Rosemary in 1952, and they had three children, Anthony, Keren, and Sheenagh. Hull moved to Devon and started a pottery business. He later moved his family and the business to Northern Ireland, after 18 years in England.

Hull was unhappy with the turbulent politics in Northern Ireland and became involved with the New Ulster Movement (NUM) in 1969. He took on the role of co-treasurer on the executive committee from one of the founding officers. Hull was involved in the founding of the Alliance party, sitting on its originating committee, but found he did not enjoy party politics. He remained on the executive committee of NUM through its most active years.

In 1974, Hull and his wife returned to England to be nearer to their two elder children, who were attending university there. Cecil and Rosemary took over the village shop and post office in Bells Yew Green, and they ran both business until they retired in 1982. Cecil Hull died in late 1995.


Funeral address enclosed with Rosemary Hull correspondence, Box 3, Folder 11, New Ulster Movement Records, MS.2010.006, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.


7.25 Linear Feet (15 containers )

3 Gigabytes (2 files with approximately 1.5 hours of audio)

Language of Materials



Records documenting the political advocacy organization New Ulster Movement and its efforts to promote peace in Northern Ireland through moderate policies between 1969-1978. The bulk of the documents were created or collected by founding chairman Brian W. Walker and supplemented by those of early treasurer Cecil Hull. Materials include correspondence; constitutions and memoranda of agreement; financial records; meeting minutes; newspaper clippings; notes; photographs; position papers; press releases; and printed materials from related groups.


Organized in two series: I. Records of the Chairman; and II. Records of the Treasurer.

Series I is further divided into seven subseries. A. Artifacts; B. Correspondence; C. Executive files; D. Photographs; E. Related organizations; F. Walker's writings; and G. Reference.

Custodial History

The records of the treasurer were given to Brian W. Walker by treasurer Cecil Hull.


Purchased from Brian W. Walker, March 2010.

Related Materials

Bobbie Hanvey photographic archives, MS.2001.039, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Raymond G. Helmick, SJ papers, BC.2016.047, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Michael Schwartz photographs, MS.2018.005, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Gusty Spence papers, MS.2013.008, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Separated Materials

Published works associated with this collection have been transferred within the Burns Library and can be found in the Boston College Library catalog.

Processing Information

This collection was made available in 2014 under the title Brian W. Walker papers. In 2018 reconsideration of the collection resulted in the new title and arrangement.

During the original processing correspondence inclusions were separated from the correspondence. Because not all inclusions could be reaffiliated, some items originally affiliated with correspondence may be included in the reference subseries.

New Ulster Movement Records
1940-2008 (bulk 1969-1973)
Lynn Moulton
December 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States