SECTION A BIOGRAPHICAL NCUACS 43.5.93/A.1-A.268
SECTION B RESEARCH AND SURVEYS NCUACS 43.5.93/B.1-B.505
SECTION C DEEP SEA DRILLING PROJECT NCUACS 43.5.93/C.1-C.121
SECTION D PUBLICATIONS AND LECTURES NCUACS 43.5.93/D.1-D.134
SECTION E NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL NCUACS 43.5.93/E.1-E.196
SECTION F SOCIETIES AND ORGANISATIONS NCUACS 43.5.93/F.1-F.427
SECTION G COMMERCIAL CONSULTANCIES AND COMPANIES NCUACS 43.5.93/G.1-G.267
SECTION H VISITS AND CONFERENCES NCUACS 43.5.93/H.1-H.159
SECTION J SCIENTIFIC CORRESPONDENCE NCUACS 43.5.93/J.1-J.79
The material is presented in the order given in the List of Contents. This large collection covers almost all aspects of Kent's professional career.
Section A, Biographical, is substantial. There is Kent's autobiographical account 'Recollections in retirement', and records of Kent's student work at University College Nottingham, his membership of the East African Archaeological Expedition 1934-35, his Second World War service and his career with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company/BP. The honours received by Kent are well-documented, including his election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1966, the MacRobert Award in 1970 and his knighthood in 1973. The section also includes diaries 1950-71, family and social correspondence, including a sequence of letters home during Kent's period in Iran 1948-51, and miscellaneous personal papers and memorabilia.
Section B, Research and surveys, is the largest in the collection. It documents Kent's survey and oil exploration work and his own geological research from the first work with Anglo-Iranian Oil in Lincolnshire in 1936, through his postwar work for BP in the UK and overseas in Iran, East Africa, Papua New Guinea and North America, to the North Sea discoveries of the 1960s and 1970s, and post-retirement research to 1986. There was a close relationship between Kent's work for Anglo-Iranian/BP and his academic geological research; with the company's goodwill Kent was able to use information from company surveys in his own publications. Kent retained a continuing interest in the geology and oil prospects of areas of the world he had visited and this is reflected in the wide geographical coverage of the papers. The bulk of the material, however, is concerned with the geology of England (particularly the Midland counties) and Iran (including the work of the Exploration Advisory Group). The material, most of which was found in Kent's own folders or envelopes, includes correspondence, manuscript notes (some on pages from 'filofax' style notebooks), typescript drafts and notes, stratigraphical columns, oil well logs, maps, sections and photographs. There are also a number of notebooks.
Section C, Deep Sea Drilling Project, documents Kent's involvement in the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) from the negotiations over British participation in 1973 and the establishment of the International Phase of Ocean Drilling (IPOD) in 1975. The lead agency in the UK was the Natural Environment Research Council, of which Kent was Chairman. Kent served on the Executive Committee of JOIDES, the consortium of member-institutions of the project, 1975-81, and on the UK IPOD Co-ordinating Committee. His involvement continued to the completion of the IPOD in November 1983 and the campaign for British participation in its successor programme, the Advanced Ocean Drilling Project (AODP, later just ODP). Kent played an active part in the research, reviewing the results of Leg 25 of the DSDP, which surveyed the western Indian Ocean and contributing to the series Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project.
Section D, Publications and lectures, brings together material for many of Kent's published papers, 1936-87, and lectures from 1952. The largest single body of material documents his geological memoir for the Institute of Geological Sciences, Eastern England from the Tees to the Wash (HMSO, 1980). The lectures were chiefly delivered to university and college geological societies of local geological and natural history societies. The latter include Presidential addresses to the Yorkshire Geological Society and to the Lincolnshire Naturalists' Union. There are also sequences of editorial correspondence and Letters to The Times. At NCUACS 43.5.93/D.134 is material relating to a BBC radio broadcast on explorers in which Kent took part. There is an (incomplete) set of Kent's published papers at NCUACS 43.5.93/D.135.
Section E, Natural Environment Research Council, includes papers relating to Kent's service on the the Geology and Geophysics Committee (later Institute of Geological Sciences Advisory Committee) of the NERC 1968-73, his Chairmanship of the NERC 1973-77 and subsequent Council service 1977-80. These activities are poorly documented since, with the exception of his first year as Chairman of the NERC, Kent did not retain many committee papers or official correspondence. The bulk of the papers document Kent's service on Preparatory Group 'A' of the Council, as a member of which Kent served on the Deep Geology Committee and Visiting Groups to the Institutes of Geological Sciences and of Oceanographical Sciences.
Section F, Societies and organisations, is the second largest in the collection. It documents Kent's association with 41 British, overseas and international bodies. These include the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, for which Kent acted as adviser in territorial disputes in the North Atlantic Ocean (Rockall) and the English Channel, the Geological Society, of which Kent was President 1974-76, the International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature, the Royal Society and the Watt Committee on Energy. For material relating to the British Geological Survey see the entry for the Institute of Geological Sciences and, specifically relating to the campaign to safeguard the future of the Survey 1984-86, the Institution of Geologists. Also of interest is the material on local geological and natural history societies of which Kent was a member, including the East Midlands and Yorkshire Geological Societies and the Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Trusts for Nature Conservation.
Section G, Commercial consultancies and companies, comprises material relating to Kent's work for commercial organisations, principally BP, LASMO and the Minworth Group. The material relating to BP includes documentation of his later managerial career within BP, but much of it dates from his post-retirement consultancy from 1973. Kent's involvement with LASMO 1977-84 is the best documented component of this section. As a member of the Board and a consultant Kent was very closely involved with the operation of this company at a crucial stage in LASMO's development into a leading independent British oil company. The LASMO material also records the history of Charlton Thermosystems Ltd, a small company attempting to market a pioneering heating system, in which LASMO had a close interest. Kent's shorter period of service with the Minworth Group, as Board member and Chairman of Minworth Ltd and Chairman of Strontian Minerals, is also well-documented.
Section H, Visits and conferences, presents a chronological sequence, 1951-85, of some of Kent's engagements both in the UK and abroad. The visit for which most documentation survives is the 1968 International Geological Congress held in Prague, Kent led the UK delegation. The proceedings were cut short by the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet occupation of Prague and the material includes accounts of the events by Kent and his wife, and memorabilia. The section does not present all of Kent's extensive travel and attendance at meetings and conferences. His overseas research and survey work for BP is documented in section B and his visit to East Africa with the East African Archaeological Expedition is documented at NCUACS 43.5.93/A.53-A.102.
Section J, Scientific correspondence, is the smallest in the collection. There are no extended sequences of correspondence. Much of Kent's correspondence is to be found in other sections, retained with other material with which it was found. There is, for example, a great deal of scientific correspondence in section B.