RepositoryUniversity of Roehampton: Archives and Special Collections
LevelFonds
Reference NumberRC
Creator NameRichmal Crompton; Richmal Ashbee (niece of Richmal Crompton); and Richmal Ashbee's heirs
TitleRichmal Crompton Collection
Datec1810s-21st Century
Extent21 boxes, 66 volumes, 247 files, 90 items, 10 video cassettes, 1 DVD, 13 audio cassettes, 34 artefacts and 20 digital images; plus c46 linear metres of publications
DescriptionRecords of Richmal Crompton, relating to her literary work and public life, and relating to her personal life and her work as a classics teacher. This collection contains records that were collected and created by Richmal Crompton during her lifetime; records about Richmal Crompton and the management of Richmal Crompton's literary estate, which were collected and created by Richmal Ashbee (niece of Richmal Crompton); and records about Richmal Crompton and the management of Richmal Crompton's literary estate, which were collected and created by Richmal Ashbee's heirs. The records relating to Richmal Crompton's literary work, public life, and the management of her literary estate include: - Draft and published copies of Richmal Crompton's literary work, including William stories (RC/1/1) - Books and publications written by Richmal Crompton; and books and publications about Richmal Crompton and her works (RC/1/2) - Correspondence and documents relating to the publication, re-use and promotion of Richmal Crompton's works (RC/1/3) - Draft and published copies of works by others that are based on Richmal Crompton's William stories (RC/1/4) - Merchandise promoting Richmal Crompton and her works (RC/1/5) - Documents relating to the creation of biographies about Richmal Crompton (RC/1/6) - Documents relating to the interaction of Richmal Crompton and her heirs with fans and consumers of Richmal Crompton's works (RC/1/7) - Documents relating to celebrations held in 1990 for the centenary of Richmal Crompton's birth (RC/1/8) - Published articles about Richmal Crompton and her work (RC/1/9) - Video and audio recordings relating to Richmal Crompton and her work (RC/1/10 and RC/1/14) - Notes written by Richmal Crompton about the craft of writing (RC/1/11) - Further documents relating to Richmal Crompton's literary work and public life The records relating to Richmal Crompton's personal life and her work as a classics teacher include: - Correspondence and documents relating to Richmal Crompton's friends and family (RC/2/1) - Documents relating to Richmal Crompton's time as a pupil and student, and to her work as a teacher (RC/2/2) - Financial documents belonging to Richmal Crompton (RC/2/3) - Documents created and collected by Richmal Crompton relating to religion and spirituality (RC/2/4) - Travel diaries written by Richmal Crompton (RC/2/5) - Notes and memoranda written by Richmal Crompton (RC/2/6) - Books and publications collected by Richmal Crompton (RC/2/7) - Artefacts belonging to Richmal Crompton (RC/2/8) - Correspondence and documents relating to Richmal Crompton's death (RC/2/9) - Further documents relating to Richmal Crompton's personal life The collection also includes photographs of Richmal Crompton and members of her family (some are personal photographs, and some were created for publicity purposes) (RC/3) Richmal Crompton often used small slips of paper to jot down notes, memoranda, and ideas for stories and plays. Some of these slips of paper were found loose and so have been grouped together in the catalogue (primarily in RC/1/1/1/1, RC/1/1/2/1 and RC/2/6). However, many of the slips of paper were found in files throughout the collection, and have been kept in the files in which they were found. A small number of documents in the collection weren't created or collected by Richmal Crompton, Richmal Ashbee, or Richmal Ashbee's heirs, but were instead created and collected by fans of Richmal Crompton's works. These documents can be found in RC/5
LanguageEnglish
Administrative HistoryRichmal Crompton was an author, best known for her "Just William" children's fiction books, although she also wrote fiction for adults. Richmal Crompton's personal life: Richmal Crompton (full name: Richmal Crompton Lamburn) was born in Bury, Lancashire, on 15 November 1890. Her parents were Edward John Sewell Lamburn and Clara Lamburn (née Crompton). Richmal Crompton had three siblings: Gwen (born 1889), Jack (born 1893) and Phyllis (born 1894 and died aged 14 months). The family lived in Manchester Road, Bury, until 1896 when they moved to 4 Malvern Villas, Chesham Road, Bury. Richmal Crompton's father, Edward, was a clergyman; he worked as a schoolmaster in Bury Grammar School and took jobs as a temporary curate during the school holidays. In 1901 Richmal Crompton became a boarding school pupil at St Elphin's School, Warrington, Lancashire; and she was at the school in 1904 when it moved premises to Darley Dale, Derbyshire. In 1911 Richmal Crompton left St Elphin's School to study Classics at Royal Holloway College, Englefield Green, Surrey. She graduated from Royal Holloway College in 1914. In 1914, after graduating, Richmal Crompton went to work as a teacher of Classics at her old school, St Elphin's School, Darley Dale, Derbyshire, and lived at the school while teaching. In 1917 she left St Elphin's School to go work as a Classics teacher at Bromley High School, Kent. Richmal Crompton didn't live at Bromley High School while teaching there, but instead lived in Cherry Orchard Road in Bromley Common, where she was joined by her mother, Clara, who was now a widow (Richmal Crompton's father, Edward, had died in 1915). Richmal Crompton started her writing career while she was working as a teacher, with her first story published in 1918. In 1923 Richmal Crompton contracted poliomyelitis and lost the use of her right leg; in c1923 she left Bromley High School due to her ill health and from then on worked solely as an author. In c1926 Richmal Crompton and Clara left Cherry Orchard Road and went to live in The Glebe, a house that Richmal Crompton had had built for herself in Oakley Road, Bromley Common. Clara died in 1939, but Richmal Crompton remained living at The Glebe until the 1950s, when she moved to a house called Beechworth in Chislehurst, Kent. Richmal Crompton remained living at Beechworth until her death; she died of a heart attack on 11 January 1969 at Farnborough Hospital, Kent. Richmal Crompton's literary career: In 1917 Richmal Crompton wrote her first William story, "The Outlaws", although this was published later. Her first story to be published was about a boy named Thomas, and was published in "The Girls’ Own Paper" in 1918. "Rice Mould Pudding" was the first William story to be published, and was published in "Home" magazine in 1919. Several William stories were published in "Home Magazine" from 1919 to 1922, and in "Happy Mag." from 1922 to 1940; William stories have also appeared in other publications. In addition, 39 William books have been published, with the last published in 1970 after Richmal Crompton's death. The William stories have been adapted for film, television, radio and the stage. Other children's books written by Richmal Crompton include "Enter - Patricia" (published 1927), and three "Jimmy" books (published 1949-1965). Richmal Crompton also published 50 books for adults, with the first, "The Innermost Room", published in 1923, and the last, "The Inheritor", published in 1960. Richmal Ashbee: On Richmal Crompton's death, her literary estate was inherited by her niece, Richmal Ashbee. Richmal Ashbee (maiden name: Richmal Disher) was born in 1929. Her parents were Thomas Rhodes Disher and Richmal Crompton's sister Gwen (Gwen's full maiden name was: Mary Gwendolen Lamburn). Gwen and Thomas Disher married in 1914 and had three children: Thomas (born 1915 and known as Tommy), Margaret (born c1917), and Richmal. In 1935 Gwen and Thomas were divorced; afterwards, Gwen and her children lived in Bromley, near Richmal Crompton and Clara. Richmal Ashbee studied at Westfield College at London University and became President of the London University Archaeological Society. She married fellow archaeologist Paul Ashbee in 1952. Together they had two children: Edward and Kate. On Richmal Crompton's death in 1969, her literary estate was inherited by Richmal Ashbee. At the time of her death, Richmal Crompton had been working on the story "William's Foggy Morning"; this story was completed by Richmal Ashbee using Richmal Crompton's notes, and it was published in 1970 in the final William book, "William the Lawless". Richmal Ashbee continued to manage Richmal Crompton's literary estate for the rest of her life, becoming the first president of the Just William Society when it was founded in 1995. Richmal Ashbee died in c2005, at which point Richmal Crompton's literary estate passed to Richmal Ashbee's heirs.
Custodial HistoryThe initial documents and artefacts in the collection were created and collected by Richmal Crompton herself. On her death, these documents and artefacts were inherited by Richmal Ashbee (niece of Richmal Crompton). Richmal Ashbee created and collected her own documents and artefacts relating to her management of Richmal Crompton's literary estate. It appears that Richmal Ashbee's documents were stored directly alongside Richmal Crompton's documents, with some files appearing to contain documents collected by both Richmal Crompton and Richmal Ashbee. On Richmal Ashbee's death, the collection passed to her husband, Paul Ashbee, with Paul Ashbee adding and interfiling a few documents and artefacts relating to his management of Richmal Crompton's literary estate. The majority of the collection was transferred to Archives and Special Collections during the ownership of Paul Ashbee. On Paul Ashbee's death in c2009, the remainder of the collection passed to his and Richmal Ashbee's children, Edward and Kate, with Edward and Kate adding and interfiling a few documents relating to their management of Richmal Crompton's literary estate. Edward and Kate then transferred the remainder of the collection to Archives and Special Collections. The records in RC/5 were collected by fans of Richmal Crompton's works and were deposited in Archives and Special Collections directly by the fans themselves. These records were added to the collection by Archives and Special Collections for ease of use; the records were not collected by Richmal Crompton, Richmal Ashbee or any of Richmal Ashbee's heirs. Some items within the collection were added by Archives and Special Collections after it had received the collection. This has been noted in the catalogue for the relevant sections.
Access ConditionsThe books and publications in RC/1/2, and most of the books in RC/2/7, are available for access on the open shelves. For access to the rest of the material in the collection, please contact the archivist to make an appointment.
Finding AidsThe books and publications in in RC/1/2, and most of the books in RC/2/7, have been individually catalogued in the University of Roehampton's library catalogue (choose collection "Richmal Crompton Collection" in advanced search if you want to limit your search to this collection only): http://capitadiscovery.co.uk/roehampton
Related MaterialRelated material held by Archives and Special Collections includes: - The Children's Literature Collection, containing published books and resources relating to children's literature. See reference code: CLC - The Froebel Archive for Early Childhood Studies, containing the records of Froebel College and focusing on the training of kindergarten teachers, research into early childhood and the Froebelian method of teaching. See reference code: FACS - The records of the National Froebel Foundation, a body to oversee courses for kindergarten teachers and to promote the Froebelian method of teaching young children. See reference code: NFF
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