Papers of Ian Serraillier

Scope and Content

The collection consists largely of manuscripts, typescripts and galley proofs, including Fight for Freedom, Havelock the Dane, The Clashing Rocks, The Cave of Death, They Raced for Treasure, Flight to Adventure and The Silver Sword. There is also correspondence with publishers; other business and literary correspondence; notebooks with poems, ideas and story outlines; rejection letters; publishers' agreements; press cuttings; research material; lecture notes and typescripts; obituaries, and other miscellaneous papers.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ian Serraillier was born in London on September 24th 1912 and educated at Brighton College and St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He became an English teacher, first at Wycliffe College, Gloucestershire and later at Dudley Grammar School and Midhurst Grammar School. He was a committed Quaker and was therefore permitted to continue his teaching career throughout the war. It was during this period that his first published work appeared, in the form of poetry for both adults and children. In 1946 his first children's novel, They raced for treasure was published, which was followed by several more adventure stories of treasure and spies. His best-known work, The Silver Sword was published in 1956 and has become a classic, bringing to life the story of four refugee children and their search for their parents in the chaos of Europe immediately after the war.

As well as children's novels and poetry Serraillier produced his own retellings of classic tales, in prose and verse, including Beowulf, Chaucer and Greek myth. Together with his wife Anne he founded in 1948 the New Windmill Series, published by Heinemann Educational Books, which set out to provide cheap editions of good stories, welcomed in schools. He continued as co-editor of the series until the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Ian Serraillier died on November 28th 1994.

Access Information

Access conditions: Open to all researchers. No reader's ticket is required but an appointment is necessary. Check for contact details and opening hour

Acquisition Information

The papers were deposited on permanent loan by Ian Serraillier's family in 1994


Description prepared by Bridget Andrews and Gil Skidmore

Other Finding Aids

Item level list available.

Related Material

Related material can be found in the Archive of Heinemann Educational Books in Reading University Library, RUL MS 3221

Personal Names