Papers of Roy Horniman

Scope and Content

The collection consists of manuscripts and typescripts of poems; articles; plays, both originals and adaptations, including Bellamy the Magnificent, Idols, The Coster Duke, and The missing hero; novels including A Non-conformist parson, Israel Rank, Jenny, and Winifred; the romance of beauty; and short stories including Billy's Fortune and other stories.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert (Roy) Horniman was born in Southsea in 1872, son of the distinguished sailor and Paymaster-in-Chief of the Royal Navy William Horniman (1823?-1905) and an aristocratic Greek mother. Roy Horniman was educated abroad and at Southsea Grammar School and at the age of 19 went on the stage. He acted in many London theatres but his main talents lay in management and authorship. For a time he was tenant and manager of the Criterion Theatre and he wrote many original plays and adaptations of his own and others' novels. In later life he wrote and adapted for the screen and after his death his novel Israel Rank became the basis for the film Kind Hearts and Coronets.

As well as his professional work Roy Horniman devoted much time and energy to various causes, especially anti-vivisection for which he often spoke eloquently in public. A contemporary characterised him as " a well-to-do bachelor who knew what did and what did not suit him, marriage being in the latter category, the social round in the former". He died in London in 1930 at the age of 62.

Access Information

Open to all researchers. No reader's ticket is required but an appointment is necessary. Check for contact details and opening hours.

Acquisition Information

Papers deposited by Robin Horniman [great-nephew] 1995


This description was prepared by Gil Skidmore

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