Arvon Foundation, photographs

Scope and Content

Fund Raising dinner at the Savoy Hotel in February 1990 and informal photographs recording special events at the Arvon Foundation, including prize giving, judging, dinners, the opening of disabled person's unit at Lumb Bank, launch of Arvon's National Literature Initiative.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Arvon Foundation was founded in Devon in 1968 by two poets, John Fairfax and John Moat, prompted by their own struggles as writers and the discovery that there was nowhere in formal education that would offer the genuinely creative guidance they sought. In his memoir, 'The Founding of Arvon', John Moat writes:

'I came to see that the only person who can teach the technique of writing reliably is an experienced writer. That is because the teaching is proved by experience that is wholehearted and profoundly relevant.'

Early on the pair made contact with Ted Hughes whose jaded view of formal English education matched theirs. Hughes, who was persuaded to read to the first group of school children attending a course at the Beaford Arts Centre in North Devon, became a passionate supporter and involved himself in the project from the start. He was active on various committees in the 1970s and 1980s, becoming the Foundation's President. Carol Hughes, who married Hughes in 1970, was Chairman of Arvon 1986-1991 and the two were closely engaged with the growth of the organization and prime movers for many years on Arvon's creative fundraising body, then called the 'National Literature Initiative Committee'.

In 1972, Arvon began to run residential courses from an ancient Devon longhouse, Totleigh Barton, near Sheepwash. In 1975 Ted Hughes offered the Foundation the use of Lumb Bank, an eighteenth-century mill owner's house in Yorkshire that had once been Hughes' home and which was eventually acquired by Arvon in 1989. A third centre, Moniack Mhor opened in 2000 in Scotland and then a fourth, John Osborne's former house, the Hurst, in Shropshire, in 2003.


In original order, grouped by event.

Conditions Governing Access

Usual EUL arrangements apply.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Carol Hughes

Other Finding Aids

Not listed

Archivist's Note

Catalogued by Christine Faunch, Archivst, 8 Aug 2008 with description supplied by Jane Feaver and modified by Christine Faunch.

Conditions Governing Use

Restrictions may apply, please consult the Archivist

Related Material

See EUL MS 58, MS 132, MS 192, MS 212, MS 230, MS 231, MS 263, MS 272, MS 329 papers relating to the Arvon Foundation and associated literary figures.


It is not known whether these photographs have formed the basis of publication.