William Hugh Plommer: Correspondence and Papers

Scope and Content

A. Biographical

[1] Diaries, 1945-82.

[2] Passports; address book; and a notebook of 'Day-to-day duties and problems'.

[3] 'Family history'; Journey to Yorkshire... (1936); D.Phil thesis, 'Plutarch's life of Pericles' (1949); Leeds College of Art; application to edit the Survey of London, 1953; Cambridge lectureship, 1954; Ferrey & Mennim, design for a garden room at Plommers's house, 1975; and obituary notice, Wolfson College, 1983.

B. Work

[4] Files on various subjects and activities, including Yorks Archaeological Society, 1949-55; Yorks organizations, 1950-71; architectural controversies, 1954-57 and 1960-70; Corpus Christi College, Oxford; Corpus Christi College, Cambridge; Wolfson College, 1960 Group; Wace Medal, 1961-73; Wolfson College; Cambridge organizations and institutions; classics, architecture, History of Art Faculties, and Libraries; Cambridge National Trust Centre; C.U. Georgian Society; Winchester and Winchester College; Royal Institute of British Architects; London organisations and institutions; Architectural Association; British Institute of Archaeology, Ankara; societies for the promotion of Hellenic and Roman studies; conferences; Jerusalem Symposium, 1982; lectures, various places; publishers, bookshops and periodicals; and activities in Leeds, 1949-54.

[5] Notebooks. Numbered series, 1-40, including (3,4,7,11,13, 24) Lectures on Corinth; Delphi, Roman Brescia, and Bobbio; Greek art and architecture; Parts 1 & 2, Greek and Roman architecture; introduction to English architecture; and the architecture of Pompeii (1973); (9,10,17-19) Greek buildings and Greek architecture texts; critiques of authors and notes on Greek temples; ancient decoration (1964); nineteenth century classical art, architecture, and the use of sculpture on Greek buildings; and sketches and Greek details (1955); (12) Travels in Egypt, Nubia, Greece, and Turkey (1964); (16,28,30) Notes on Roman Provence; Temple of Messa on Lesbos; and Pompeii; (20) Architecture and its enemies; (21,22,25,27, 32-34,36) Vitruvian problems, and lectures on Vitruvius and his architecture (1972); Vitruvius, life and career; and commentary on Vitruvius, textual history, and translation; (26) Lecture, 'Inferiority of the classical manner', and a review of Pierre Gros, Aurea Templa (1977); (40) Index to notebooks (1965) with biographical details to 'My life'.

Unnumbered notebooks, 41-68, (41-43) York Minster, fabric rolls (1950), and Chapter House, history of crossing; (44) Essay, 'Colonization and tyranny' (1st volume lost); (46) Archon-list notes; (47) 'Later Greek knowledge of pre-Herodotean history' (1951); (48-51) Pazarlik notes and lectures on Vitruvius; (52) 'St. John's Church, Ephesus'; (53) 'Ancient coins'; 'Some thoughts on classical and medieval architecture'; 'The Athenian agora'; 'What we know of ancient sculptors'; and 'Greek architecture 600-300 B.C.'; (54-58) Tours of France, Italy, Spain, and the Holy Land (1952-75), and 'Memories of Professor Oakley'; (59) 'New buildings in Oxford (1963)'; (60) Drewsteignton church (1969); (61) '16th International Congress (1969)'; (62) 'The Cenacle at Jerusalem. Distillation of the evidence'; (63) Notes and critique of Roger Scruton, The aesthetics of architecture (1979); (64) Lectures on 'Roman architecture' (1981); (65) Part II Classical architecture lectures; (66) Notes (c.1946) on classical texts; and (67-68) Classical architecture, possibly late 1940.

[6] 14 sketchbooks, mostly of architecture and details of buildings in England, Scotland, Paestum (Pesto), Cumae (Cuma), Pazarlik, Bournabat, Ibrim, Imrek, Aswan, Antioch, Urbino, Spalato (Split), Thasos, Amman, Baalbek (Ba'labakk), Rome, Viterbo, Spain, Caesarea, etc., 1940-75.

[7] Writings, lectures and speeches, 1946-82, including (1) 'A diatribe...on...satellite towns' [1946]; (3) Lecture, 'York Minster: ...problems in the history of the building' (with letters from Joan Evans, Sir Alfred Clapham, J.B. Morrell, C.J.P. Cave, and John Harvey); (4) Preface to the revised edition of Simpson's History of Architectural Development, vol.1 (1954), and letters from Cyprian Blagden (Longmans); (5) Address, 'The Greek search for God' (1954); (6) 'The civility of Roman architecture' (1955); (7) 'Scholfield on architectural proportion', a response to P.H. Scholfield, The theory of proportion in architecture (1959); (9) Bournabat, 'An outpost of Europe in Turkey', Country Life, 24 August 1961; (10) 'St. John's Church, Ephesus' (1962); (11) 'New buildings in Oxford', Oxford Magazine, 21 February 1963; (12) 'Ancient Greek scientists at home. Some classical sites associated with their life and work' (1964); (14) Nicholas Hughes (ed.), Cambridge New Architecture, 1965, with Plommer's notes for critical review; (15) Uzunca Burc. Report on a brief survey (1966); (18) 'The Elder Pliny as a Farrago' (1968); (19) 'Vitruvian Studies' (1969); (20) 'The circle of the winds in Vitruvius Book I, chapter VI' (1970); (21) 'Some recent buildings in Oxford: a view from Cambridge' (1969); 'The early history of the piano nobile' for the History of Architecture Congress, Athens (1969); (23) Architecture and its enemies, unpublished book (1970), supplement 'Some thoughts on Roger Scruton. The aesthetics of architecture' (1983); (25) Mediterranean autumn. Some masterpieces of the last period of culture around the...Mediterranean, chapter 1 only (1971); (26) 'Can we improve our architecture?' (1972); (28) Correspondence on Plommer's poetry Autumn leaves, some lamentations upon our present corrupted society (1975); (26) 'Sunium: another time round', Annual of the British School of Archaeology at Athens (1976); (41) The Ugciad. A history by Hugh Plommer in heroic verse of the corruptions in our higher learning...with a prophecy of its probable end (1979); (42) 'The cenacle on Mount Sion' British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem symposium (1981); (43) The line of duty (1982) (collected speeches on Cambridge architecture); (47) 'The old platform in the Argive Heraeum' (1983); (48) 'Scythopolis, Caesarea and Vitruvius: sounding-vessels in ancient theatres', in Levant XV (1983); (51) 'The Athenian Archon-list for 682-462 B.C.' (1963); (52) 'Buildings of the last quinquennium in Oxford' for Oxoniensia; (62) Note on 'Spiral flutes', The Antiquaries' Journal (1969); and (63) Speech at XVII Congresso Internazionale di Storia dell'Architettura, Friuli-Venezia Giulia (1971).

[8] (1-57) Poems and verses, 1973-82.

[9] (1-25) Review articles, mostly of books on classical architecture, 1950-82.

C. Correspondence

[10] Letters to newspapers, drafts, newscuttings, and background articles, not classified or in chronological order.

[11] Correspondence, including James Adams, undated; T. Amandry (1961); Catherine Arent (1949-65); Bernard Ashmole (1951-72); Arthur Astbury (1977-81); Hope Bagenal (1949-51); Alan Barron (1969-82); Carmen Blacker (1965-76); Paul-Gabriel Bouc (1973-81); Francis Bown (1972-82); John Brandon-Jones (1952); W. Llewellyn Brown (1949-51); Robert Browning (1964-74); Geoffrey Best (1961-80); Charles J.P. Cave (1950); liane Chorand (c.1952-68); Peter Collins (1951-67); Brian Cook (1958-83); John Cook (1953-82); Robert Cook (1948-82); James Coulton (1963-82); Glyn Daniel (1964-78); Gordon Davies (1980-82); John Davies (1973); John Davison (1950-57); Marcia de Savary (1980-82); Tom Dunbabin (1949-54); Patricia Easterling (1968-78); Malcolm Easton (1952-81); Arthur Eden (1949-73); John Emerton (1960-74); Katherine Esdaile (1950); Silvestre Espada (1948-66); Roger Evans (undated); Sir Moses Finley (1955-73); Allan Fisher (1962-75); Anthony Forster (1949-79); Kenneth Frazer (1961-81); Eugene and Joan Gadol (1961-79); Norah Gibson (1972-79); John Graham (1965-77); John Griffith (1949-82); Keith Guthrie (1970-72); Eric Hague (1972-74); Walter Hamilton (1970-75); Claude Harland (1948-76); Frederick Harrison (1950-51); Trevor Hodge (1952-65); Sinclair Hood (1953-74); Robert Hopper (1949-75); Tom Howarth (1952-53); Bertram Hume (1956-72); John Humphrey (1970-77); John Hutchinson (1955-56); Herbert Huxley (1949-74); Henderson Hyslop (1949-55); Francis Johnson (1958-65); Edward Kenney (1972-78); John King (1973-82); Catherine Lawler (1961-82); Jacob Leveen (1972-76); C.S. Lewis (1955); Raymond Lister (1973-82); William MacDonald (1967); Andrew Mackintosh (1974-78); Adnan Malak (1967-82); Ursula Maunsell (1956-81); Russell Meiggs (undated); Robin Middleton (1966-72); Luki Mieville (1949-81); Patrick Miller (1967-79); Leslie Moore (1949); Clifford Musgrave (1953-55); Cyril Oakley (1954-75); Anson Osmond (1949-79); Derrick Oxley (c.1976-77); Sir Nikolaus Pevsner (1950-53); Martin Price; Christopher Reynolds (1940-82); Joyce Reynolds (c.1954-81); Alan Rowe (1952-57); Robert Runcie (1959-64); Roger Rawcliffe (1968-79); Peter Salway (c.1960-77); Malcolm Schofield (1978-81); Dan Cohn-Sherbok (c.1974-78); Marshall Sisson (1958-77); John Saumarez Smith (c.1964-76); Eric Southern (1950-73); Denys Spittle (1972-81); Christopher Stace (1972-83); Lloyd Stephens-Newsham (1973-81); Cecil Stewart (1952-53); Frank Stubbings (1951-78); Graham Sutherland (1942); Duncan Thomson (1948-78); Rosamond Threadkill (1958-63); Jocelyn Toynbee (1951-81); Bluma Trell (1958-83); Janet Treves (1962-69); David Udy (1973); Walter Ullmann (1961); Michael Vickers (1965-78); Arthur Wainwright (1947-82); Auberon Waugh (1981); Marian Welker (1949-65); Ian Whyte (1947-83); Lilian Wilkin (1960-67); Baron Wilson of High Wray (1976-78); Jock Wilson (1949-81); and Alec Wyton (1946-74).

[12] Plommer's handwritten correspondence and draft replies.

[13] Miscellanea, including poems by Marcia de Savary, The Mythical meal; Phyllis McGinley, Moody reflections and Song of high cuisine; H. Chorand, Le Chameau; and Patrick Barrington, Platypus.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Hugh Plommer (1922-83) attended Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and the City of Leeds School of Architecture. He was Lecturer in Greek and Roman Architecture, Cambridge, 1954-82; Curator of the Museum of Classical Antiquity; and Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, 1965-83. Plommer revised Simpson's History of Architectural Development, vol. 1, 1956, and published, with J.M. Cook, The sanctuary of Hemithea at Kastabos, 1966. He also published poetry. A compilation of his letters and speeches on modern architecture and planning, especially in Cambridge, was printed as The line of duty, 1982.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Transferred from Wolfson College, Cambridge, 1996.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Summary Catalogue.