Margaret Penn Papers

Scope and Content

The collection includes a few literary pieces, including the marked-up proof of Manchester Fourteen Miles, but otherwise consists of personal effects, such as pocket diaries, her passport, etc, and runs of correspondence with key figures in her life, including a very long run with Oliver Stonor.

Administrative / Biographical History

Margaret Hilda Penn, ne Kenworthy, was born in Glazebrook, Lancashire, in May 1896, and lived most of her adult life in Devon, predominantly at Bixley Haven, Woodbury, Devon. She wrote three autobiographical novels, Manchester Fourteen Miles (Cambridge University Press, 1947), The Foolish Virgin (Cape, 1951) and Young Mrs Burton (Cape, 1954), based on her alter ego Hilda Winstanley, who grew up in the fictional village of 'Moss Ferry', in reality Hollins Green, a village fourteen miles from Manchester. All three books were reprinted three times by Cambridge University Press in the period 1979-1982. In the introduction to the first reprint of Manchester Fourteen Miles, Professor John Burnett commented that when this book was first published 'it was one of a very small number of autobiographies depicting working-class life from first-hand experience, not yet part of the 'genre' which such writings have since become'.

Access Information

Usual EUL arrangements apply

Acquisition Information

The collection was bequeathed to the University by the writer.

Other Finding Aids


Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL arrangements apply

Custodial History

The collection was bequeathed to the University by Margaret Penn and delivered in three stages; the first part - the bulk of the collection - after her death in 1982, and the second two parts in September and October 1987. The papers were sorted into runs of correspondence by Margaret Penn herself, which order has been maintained.


The collection is unpublished apart from the text of Manchester Fourteen Miles.