Letters of Martin Bell

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Letters of Martin Bell, 1939-45, mainly to Joan Broomfield (later Russell), who was one of his circle of friends at University College Southampton. The letters contain scathing comments on army life, but also reflect Bell's literary progress as he discusses books he has read and includes poems that he has written.

Administrative / Biographical History

Bell volunteered for the Royal Engineers in 1939, in order, so he claims, to avoid being called into the infantry. In fact his war service was spent in camp as a hospital orderly both in Britain and the Mediterranean and later as an instructor.

Conditions Governing Access

The Special Collections Division is available for anyone to use, regardless of whether you are attached to an academic institution. Access to the Archives and Manuscripts and Rare Books reading room, however, is by prior appointment to access the manuscript material. See our website for more details.

Bibliography

The poems included in these letters are discussed in Martin Bell: complete poems ed. Peter Porter (Newcastle, 1988).