Item 19 - Writings and letters

Identity area

Reference code



Writings and letters


  • 1932-1972 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 folder

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Clive Sansom (1910-1981), poet and speech educator, was born at Finchley, North London, in 1910. He worked as a clerk and salesman in London and studied speech and drama under Marjorie Gullan at the Polytechnic, Regent Street, and the Speech Institute (1930-35) and phonetics under Professor Daniel Jones at University College, London (1935-6). He lectured in speech training at Borough Road Training College, Isleworth, and the Speech Fellowship (1937-9) and edited the Speech Fellowship Bulletin (1934-49). He was instructor in the Drama School of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and examiner in speech and spoken poetry. In 1937 he married a fellow student and speech teacher, Ruth Large from Tasmania. Although neither was at the time a Quaker, they were married in the Friends Meeting House at Winchmore Hill. They were both interested in the Society of Friends and had attended a few Meetings. Clive's teacher and friend, Marjorie Gullan, was a Quaker. Soon they both joined the Friends. Clive Sansom contributed poems and articles to Friends' journals and studied religious topics. During the war Clive, as a conscientious objector to war, did land work, partly based on "Spicelands" a Quaker Centre for special "war work". In 1949 Clive and Ruth Sansom travelled to Hobart to visit Ruth's family and decided to settle in Tasmania. Clive was appointed, with Ruth, Supervisor of Speech Education for the Tasmanian Education Department and was responsible for the Speech Centre 1950 - 1965 and was also examiner in speech and drama for the A.M.E.B. He and Ruth broadcast and wrote scripts for the ABC. programs for primary schools. Clive also wrote or edited a number of short plays for schools. Clive Sansom's main works included In the midst of death, (1940), The unfailing Spring (1942), Passion Play (a novel based on the Oberammergau passion play, 1950), The Witnesses (Festival of Britain prize winning poem 1951), The World turned upside down (a morality play, 1948), The Cathedral (1958), performed in Salisbury for that Cathedral's 700th anniversary 1961), Dorset Village (1962), Swithun of Winchester (produced in Winchester Cathedral for the 100th anniversary of the translation of St. Swithun 1971), Francis of Assisi (performed in Winchester Cathedral 1978, published 1981). He also wrote or edited a number of works for schools, including Adventures in words with Rodney Bennett (1936), Speech rhymes, Acting rhymes, Counting rhymes, Story rhymes, (1942-80) Speech and commucation in the primary school (1965) etc. and edited a number of anthologies, such as The poet speaks (with Marjorie Gullan 1940), The English Heart (1946). He published a number of poems and short stories in periodicals and newspapers from the 1930s onwards. Clive was also interested in conservation and was patron of the Wilderness Society. The papers consist of drafts and typescripts of his works (and some published copies) together with research notes, news cuttings, extracts from historical studies etc. on the background of his topics; correspondence with his literary agent, publishers and broadcasters, and cuttings of review notices.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited on indefinite loan by Mrs Ruth Sansom February 1987 (& later additions 1989, 1991) to be held for safekeeping in the University Archives with the Friends' Meeting Records. May be withdrawn by Mrs Sansom on reasonable notice.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Manila Folder headed 'Clive - writings and letters answered in scribbled handwriting'.
• Typed script of 'Nightmare Abbey' prepared by Sansom and based on Peacock's novel for an ABC broadcast 'Journeys into Bookland'.
• 'This Damned Hypocrisy', a handwritten nine-page essay written in response to the public furore about the proposed marriage of Mrs Simpson and King Edward.
• 'Last pages for "Fenley Green"', written in 1932 as part of a short story or novel.
• "'Macbeth" Retold by Dr. Fox'. Clive Sansomhaexcell's 'spoof' on Shakespeare's play.
• Typed copies of Sansom's poems: 'Saved (A Bride and Groom to the Rescue)', 'Our Party', 'Brenda Hean: Memorial Service, Scots Church, September 26th 1972', 'This little one ... '. Handwritten poems: 'Oxford, 1938', 'The Ballad of Midnight', 'Inscription for an Old Tomb', 'A Winter Entertainment' (written in a Christmas Card).
• Two personal documents (typewritten), one outlining Sansom's career as a lecturer and writer and listing referees, the other providing a case history of Sansom 's health problems prepared for Dr Greenward in 1972.
• Letters to and from Sansom: to Jim [?] providing a summary of Sansom 'straining, teaching and writing career,
• David Higham about the inclusion of his poem 'Ladybird' in an anthology,
• The Countryman about the inclusion of one of Sansom's poems in a publication,
• Patricia Wrightson seeking permission to include Sansom's 'The Intruder' in a collection of short stories and poetry for children and Sansom' s reply.
• A collection of material headed 'For Diary 1939' that includes notification that Sansom had passed examinations conducted by St John Ambulance Brigade, Southgate Division,
• handwritten copies of Sansom's poems 'August Holiday', 'The Old Road, Condicote' (three copies) and 'After the Raid',
• typed copies of 'Words Under Grass' and 'In the Midst of Death is Life ... '
• Six articles associated with rhythm in speech: two handwritten notes and a handwritten summary of material drawn from a work by F.E. Halliday, a photocopied page from a text by Robert Speight and two typewritten pages, one an extract from Samuel Selden' s The Stage in Action and the other a series of brief quotations.
• A brochure on the Spicelands Training Centre (Society of Friends).
• A photograph of a lady and a pig with the caption 'The attack repulsed'.
• A typed list of the Patrons of the Speech Fellowship.
• A collection of material relating to Clive Sansom's autobiography that includes handwritten drafts, photocopies of sections from books, reminder notes and Sansom's autobiographical article 'My Job, Poet, etc' that appeared in The friend (August 32, 1973).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Boxes inventoried by Ralph Spaulding March 2006

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

May be consulted by researchers under supervision

Conditions governing reproduction

This material is made available for personal research and study purposes under the University of Tasmania Standard Copyright Licence. For any further use permission should be obtained from the copyright owners. For assistance please contact

When reusing this material, please cite the reference number and provide the following acknowledgement:
“Courtesy of the UTAS Library Special & Rare Collections”

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Generated finding aid

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

HE Feb2019




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places