Robert Westall Collection

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1840 RW
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      31 archive boxes + OS folders

Scope and Content

The papers of Robert Westall, covering his career as a writer. The collection contains notes, drafts, and pre- and post-publication material for much of Westall's published work, including draft material for 'The Machine Gunners', 'The Watch House', and 'The Cats of Seroster', all written whilst Westall was working as a teacher. Draft material for his later published books including 'A Christmas Ghost', 'Gulf', 'Falling into Glory', 'A Place for Me', 'Size Twelve', is also included. The collection also documents work published after Westall's death in 1993, including 'A Time of Fire', 'The Nightmare', 'Harvest' and 'David and the Kittens' (RW/01). Many of his short stories, published both in collections of Westall's own work and as parts of anthologies, are represented in draft and preparatory form (RW/03), as are several collections of Westall's work (RW/02). These include draft material for 'Antique Dust', 'The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral', 'Love Match' and 'Voices in the Wind'. Draft and preparatory material for 'Cats' Whispers and Tales' and 'Children of the Blitz', anthologies compiled by Westall, are represented (RW/04).

The collection includes several series of correspondence with literary agents, publishers and translators concerning editorial processes, illustrations and pre-publication production, and publicity material. Although focused on these subjects, correspondence also covers broader areas: specifically correspondence with school groups, correspondence concerning writing courses, correspondence with other writers and illustrators, and fan mail (RW/14).

Articles and speeches written by Westall on subjects relating to his published work and, more generally, children's literature, are also included (RW/05). Other series document Westall's early writings and later, unpublished work (RW/07, 08, 09).

Artwork pieces in several media created by Westall throughout his adult life, and occasionally used to illustrate pieces written by him, form a series within the collection (RW/10).

Examples of publicity material, including prizes and certificates awarded to Westall and press cuttings of articles and reviews concerning Westall's published work, are also included (RW/12). The collection also contains biographical ephemera, including an electric typewriter used by Westall, portraits of Westall by pupils of his and various documentary certificates and testimonials.

Administrative / Biographical History

Created by Robert Westall during the course of his career as a writer. Papers left at Westall's death were sorted by Lindy McKinnel and Laura Cecil prior to loan to Seven Stories. The collection also contains correspondence and related material pertaining to his literary estate, including books published after his death, royalties and rights correspondence. This catalogue was proof read by Lindy McKinnel, Laura Cecil and Val Bierman.

Access Information

Accessible to all researchers, by appointment only.

Custodial History

The collection was promised on long term loan to Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books, in 2003. Papers were deposited in several batches between 2003 and 2008.