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The son of Keith Lucas ScD FRS, a physiologist and instrument designer, Keith-Lucas (who changed his surname in honour of his father) was educated at Gresham's School, Holt, and Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he read history and economics.
Bryan Keith-Lucas joined the town clerk's department at Kensington, London, and qualified as a solicitor in 1937. During the Second World War he served with the Buffs and Sherwood Foresters in north Africa, Italy, and Cyprus, and was Mentioned in Despatches, ending the war as a major.
He then returned to local government in Nottingham. In 1948 he became senior lecturer in local government at Oxford University, and in 1950 a fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. He served as an Oxford city councillor for the Liberal Party, sat on several government committees, and advised on aspects of local government for Britain's former colonies.
In 1965 he was appointed professor of government at the new University of Kent at Canterbury, and from 1970 to 1974 he was Master of Darwin College, Kent. He retired in 1977 and taught politics part-time at King's School, Canterbury. In the last years of his life, he lived at Wye, Kent.
- 1983: Commander of the Order of the British Empire
- The English Local Government Franchise (1952)
- The Mayor, Aldermen and Councillors (1961)
- History of Local Government in England by Josef Redlich and Francis Wrigley Hirst (editor of 2nd edition, 1970)
- English Local Government in the 19th and 20th Centuries (1977)
- A History of Local Government in the 20th Century (with P. G. Richards, 1978)
- The Unreformed Local Government System (1980)
- Parish Affairs (1986)
- A Kentish Parson (with Dr G. M. Ditchfield, 1991)
- Keith Lucas by John K. Bradley in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (OUP, 2004)
- Who's Who 1993 (A. & C. Black, London, 1993)