Christopher Wright (academic)

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Christopher Wright
Christopher Wright (academic).jpg
Christopher Wright, photographed in 2013
Scientific career
InstitutionsBritish Library

Christopher John Wright OBE FRHistS FSA is a former Head of Manuscripts at the British Library and Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society and the Society of Antiquaries of London. During his time at the library he oversaw several acquisitions, and in retirement became involved with the Friends of the British Library and the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art.

British Library[edit]

Christopher Wright joined the Department of Manuscripts in 1974.[1] In 2002, as Curator of Modern Historical Papers, he found a letter regarding Captain Thomas Howard Goad's death at the Battle of Balaclava in the Charge of the Light Brigade, written by Captain Goad's brother Cornet George Goad. It matched a letter bequeathed to the library in the previous year, written by Captain Soame Jenyns to Capt Goad's other brother, Charles.[2]

In 2003 he became Head of Manuscripts, until his retirement in October 2005.[1] During this time, along with colleague Michelle Paull, he was responsible for researching the library's acquisition of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle collection and preparing it for exhibition,[3] and received the Anthony Powell papers from Michael Meredith of the Eton College Collections.[4]

In the 2006 New Year Honours, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Speaking of his time as Head of Manuscripts following the award, he said, "I was caring for the national collection of manuscripts and acquiring them. We have had several exciting acquisitions during my time in charge, including the archive of Punch magazines. I think it acknowledges scholarship as worthwhile and it actually shows that work demanding patience and care is still important. One of the most satisfying parts of my job was that I was able to bring the collections to the general public through exhibitions."[5]

Following his retirement, he became Deputy Chairman of the Friends of the British Library on 6 February 2007, taking over from Dr Don Pritchard.[6]

Fellowships and memberships[edit]

He has been a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society since 1982,[1] and of Society of Antiquaries of London since May 2002.[7]

In 2005, he was appointed as a member of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art.[1] As part of the committee's function, they were responsible for deferring the sale of a translation of the Italian opera Erismena, the earliest surviving opera score in the English language, dating from the 1670s.[8]


  • Wright, Christopher (2005). George III. London: British Library. ISBN 978-0-7123-4893-5. OCLC 469872190


  1. ^ a b c d "Who are the members of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art?". Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Retrieved 29 March 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Bennett, Will (12 November 2002). "Light Brigade letters describe horror of the charge". The Telegraph.
  3. ^ Jury, Louise (2 December 2004). "Conan Doyle's manuscripts reveal a meticulous chronicler". The Independent.
  4. ^ Bennett, Will (27 August 2004). "Jowell overrules last wish on Powell archive". The Telegraph.
  5. ^ Milford, Andrew (3 January 2006). "Recognition for four in honours list". Get
  6. ^ "18th Annual Report 2006/2007" (PDF). Friends of the British Library. Retrieved 29 March 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "List of Fellows - W". Society of Antiquaries of London. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Sale of earliest English opera score delayed". The Telegraph. 7 August 2008.