The R. H. Mottram Letters

Scope and Content

Signed autograph letters from Mottram to Gilbert H. Fabes relating to Fabes' bibliography of the works of Mottram.

Administrative / Biographical History

Administrative/Biographical History

Ralph Hale Mottram, 1883-1971, writer, educated in Norwich and France. In 1899 Mottram entered Gurney's bank house where he stayed with the exception of the war, until 1927, indulging in his passion for writing in his spare time. Mottram was encouraged in his writing by Mrs John Galsworthy and her husband, and in 1907 and 1909, two volumes of verse were produced under the pen name of J. Marjoram. During the First World War, Mottram served with a territorial battalion of the Norfolk Regiment in Flanders. He was withdrawn from the trenches because of his fluency in French and worked with the inhabitants of the Franco-Belgian border, collecting and investigating the claims of damage done to crops and property by the British troops and presenting them to the Complaints Commission. Mottram's first book, The Spanish Farm , published in 1924 was based on these experiences. The book eventually became a bestseller and was filmed under the title of Roses of Picardy , 1927, and televised in 1968. The sale of the film rights enabled Mottram to retire from the bank and devote his life to writing.

Mottram was in great demand as a lecturer, a staunch supporter of the Octagon chapel in Norwich,and the Unitarian foundation at Oxford, a founder member of the Norwich Society and its secretary for 20 years. He took an active interest in the lives and community of Norwich and Norfolk. In 1932 he became a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and in 1953 he was elected Lord Mayor of Norwich. He had been an active promoter of the new University of East Anglia, which in 1966 conferred on him an honorary D.Litt. Mottram was married with two children.

Publications include: Sixty-Four, Ninety-Four , 1925; The Crime at Vanderlynden's , 1926; Our Mr Dormer , 1927; John Crome of Norwich , 1931.

Reference: Lord Blake and C.S. Nicholls, Editors, The Dictionary of National Biography, 1971-1980 ( Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, 1986 ).


The letters are arranged chronologically.

Access Information

Access Conditions

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased in 1968.

Other Finding Aids

See full catalogue for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.