Record

LevelFile
Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)MS31/2/2/1
TitleCorrespondence from Henry Reed to family members
Extent53 items
Date1930-1973
DescriptionThis correspondence comprises 53 letters from Henry Reed. The letters are largely addressed to his sister Gladys Winfield [also known as 'Babbis']. Some letters are addressed to Reed's parents and others to his niece [Jane Reed]. In many of these letters Henry signs off as 'Hal'. The letters were written between 1930 and 1973 although many of them are undated. The letters discuss the literary works of Reed and others, BBC performances and his views on the Second World War. Some letters were written when Reed was the poet in residence at Washington University during the late 1960s. Comprises:

/1: From 25 Holliday Road, Erdington, Birmingham. To Gladys. Refers to life at the University, primarily relating to his performance in a seminar presentation with Dorothy Reynolds and Elwen Marks amongst others. 'Seynt Valytyne's Daye' [between 1931 and 1936].
/2: From Kings Arms Hotel, Dorchester, Dorset. To Mother and Father. Working on Hardy. Unable to see Mrs Hardy at Max Gate as her father was dying. Tuesday [between 1931 and 1936].
/3: From 25 Holliday Road, Erdington, Birmingham. To Joe (and Gladys). Conveying congratulations on their recent marriage. 4 January 1930.
/4: From 25 Holliday Road, Erdington, Birmingham. To Gladys. Reed still unwell, reading 'A Cuckoo in the Nest' and Show's Dramatic Opinions and Essays; asking when she is to return home. [1930].
/5: From Hotel de la Neva, 9 Rue Monsigny, pres de l'Opera, Paris. To Mr and Mrs Winfield, Raymond Ogden, Eric Short, 108 Orchard Road, Erdington. Describes operas visited which included Butterfly, Thais, Carmen, Cavalleria Rusticana and Tosca; trips to the Comedie Francaise ('Les Precieuses Ridicules', and Racine's 'Britannicus'). Friday [1 September 1933].
/6: From 31 Holliday Road, Erdington, Birmingham. To Mrs Winfield, c/o 'St Helena', Peacock Lane, Withdean, Brighton. Fear of war being declared that weekend; Henry borrowing money from Gladys in order to stock up on food at home. Thursday [24 August 1939].
/7: To Jane [Reed]. Mentions an interview with five army officers in London; also discusses the latest Disney film, 'The Reluctant Dragon'. [1941].
/8: To Mother. Sends her some washing and some pencils for Jane. Undated [1940s].
/9: To Babbis. Worried about the effect of the air raids on the family in Birmingham; has begun departmental training; comments on the futility of 'blitztraining' and on the war in general; asks for cheques, copies of 'The New Statesman'. 'July 10th I think' [1941].
/10: From 10557689 Pte Reed, H., Ward 6, City General Hospital, Leicester. To Gladys. Directions for Gladys to visit him in hospital; instructions on how his mother school pack the food parcel; asks for [D. H.] Lawrence's 'Women in Love' and a 'small battered green translation of Sophocles'. Undated [1941 or 1942].
/11: From 10557689 Pte Reed, H., Ward 6, City General Hospital, Leicester. To Babbis. Asks her to stick strictly to visiting periods, otherwise she may be refused admittance; and also asks her to bring Jane, taking her out of school for a day. Sunday [1941 or 1942].
/12: From 10557689 Pte Reed, H., Ward 6, City General Hospital, Leicester. To Gladys. Asks her to post his thick brown jacket with the green stripes to Derry Shaw. Tuesday [1941 or 1942].
/13: From 10557689 Pte Reed, H., Ward 6, City General Hospital, Leicester. To Babbis. Hopes to be in Birmingham in two weeks' time; and relating a request from Ray for Henry to reduce his overdraft; with hints of a rift between Henry and Joe. Sunday [1941 or 1942].
/14: From 10557689 Pte Reed, H., Ward 6, City General Hospital, Leicester. To Babbis. Further refers to Ray and the bank; has suffered a relapse and will not be out of hospital as early as previously thought; asks Gladys to visit him. Friday [1941 or 1942].
/15: From 10557689 Pte Reed, H., Ward 6, City General Hospital, Leicester. To Jane. Looking forward to seeing her on Saturday. 12 September [1941 or 1942].
/16: From 10557689 Pte Reed, H., Ward 6, City General Hospital, Leicester. To Babbis, Mother, Father and Jane. Eleven weeks today since Reed first entered hospital; had a cold on top of the pneumonia and, as confined to bed, organised the treasure hunt; thanks Babbis for the five shillings received with a cheque for reimbursement of travelling expenses from KES [King Edward's School]. He had also received a guinea from the BBC for a review. Wednesday [October 1941 or 1942].
/17: From 10557689 Pte Reed, H., Ward 6, City General Hospital, Leicester. To Gladys. Has now developed muscular rheumatism. More on the packing and contents of food parcels. Had received the typing paper (for scribbling his poetry down onto). Had been reading Patrick Hamilton's 'Hangover Square' which had only been out a few months [first published in 1941], and Elizabeth Bowen's 'The Death of the Heart'. Undated [1941 or 1942].
/18: From Rolleston Hall Convalescent Home, Billesdon, near Leicester. To Mother, Father, Babbis and Jane. Arrived the previous Friday for a stay of three weeks; no need for food parcels but begs cigarettes and chocolate. Sunday [1942].
/19: From Rolleston Hall Convalescent Home, Billesdon, near Leicester. To Babbis. A begging letter after his stay has been prolonged and he is facing a weekly deficit. Tuesday [1942].
/20: From Bowens Court, Kildorrery, County Cork, Eire. To Jane. Promises to try and smuggle some knitting wool out of Dublin for her. Wednesday [May 1946].
/21: From 37 Greygates, Vaile Atha Cliath, Eire. To Jane. Refers to knitting wool; discusses favourable reviews of his book ['A Map of Verona']. Sunday [end of May or beginning of June 1946].
/22: From Carlyon Bay Hotel, Par, Cornwall. To Mother and Father. Discusses move to South Cornwall; plans to visit Cyprus in the following month; and saying that he has sent the address of the 'new place' to Jane [possibly Lovells Farm in Dorset]. Sunday [January 1947].
/23: From c/o Barclays Bank, Nicosia, Cyprus. To Babbis. On arrangements for sending her and father money, and on getting money for Italy the following month; on how much he likes Cyprus; working on Leopardi; and reading Dostoievsky. April 25 [1948].
/24: From Hotel Italia, Capri, Italy. To Gladys. Relating Miss Simpkin's Good Friday exploits with the Boys Brigade; enjoying 'Mansfield Park' on his journey from Rome to Naples, sitting between a German and an Italian; and asking her to get him a copy of 'The Listener' for 20 April [1948]. Thursday [4 May 1948].
/25: From Gable Court, Yetminster, Dorset. To Jane. Gives her train directions for her forthcoming visit to Gable Court. Sunday [between February and April 1949].
/26: From the Savile Club, London. To Babbis. Talking about the programme the BBC had asked him to do in Naples. 21 May 1950.
/27: From c/o American Express, Naples, Italy. To Mother and Father. News of friends he has stayed with; went with Wynford Vaughan Thomas in the BBC recording car to record some cafe music. Monday [June 1950].
/28: From Hotel Monaco, Venice, Italy. To Mother and Father. Comments on his recent trip to Verona, his visit to see 'Henry IV', and on plans to travel in Italy. 11 July 1951.
/29: From 9 Upper Montague Street, London W1. To Dad. Just returned from Italy and plans to visit his father in Birmingham. Thursday [1950s].
/30: From 9 Upper Montague Street, London W1. To Miss J Winfield, Public Library, Washwood Heath Road, Ward End, Birmingham. Mentions that pressure of work for the BBC obliges him to postpone Jane's proposed visit; offers her an alternative date (22 January - his birthday), and a trip to see 'La Sonnambula'. 30 January 1958.
/31: Incomplete letter [last two pages only]. [To Jane]. Asks how her recent interview in London progressed. [early 1959].
/32: Postcard from Rapallo, Italy. To Jane, 10 Beaufort House, Beaufort Street, London SW3. 17 August [1959].
/33: From 16A Casa del Cigno, Via Paolo Tubino, Rapallo, Italy. To Jane. Tells her that he cannot offer her accommodation at the flat. 24 August [1959].
/34: From 9 Upper Montague Street, London W1. To Babbis. A letter following on the death of their father, discussing the disposal of the estate and asking about his father's watch, ring and dressing gown. 18 September 1959.
/35: From London W1. To Babbis, 108 Orchard Road, Erdington, Birmingham. Acknowledges receipt of money (annotation in unknown hand 'enclosure was "47.10.0"'). Sunday 4 October 1959.
/36: From 9 Upper Montague Street, London W1. To Babbis. Repeating his previous request for the dressing gown. 9 October 1959.
/37: From Athens. To Gladys. Enjoying Athens, and moving to Berlin within a week. 16 June 1960.
/38: From 9 Upper Montague Street, London W1. To Gladys. Expecting proofs of his new Balzac translation; expresses concern about Jane's health; reports problems with reference to a solicitor's letter; offers advice on Gladys' proposal to write TV plays after her retirement, drawing on his own experiences with 'Moby Dick' and 'A Map of Verona'. 7 November 1963.
/39-40: From 9 Upper Montague Street, London W1. To Babbis. On his preparations for the first course for Seattle, departing on Tuesday 21st. 8 September [1965]. Two typewritten copies - one top and one carbon copy.
/41: From 9 Upper Montague Street, London W1. To Babbis. Acknowledges the Hardy book; exhausted after nine months working in Seattle without a break, and returning at Christmas but not to full-time work. 2 August 1966.
/42: To Babbis. Returning to Seattle, and thanks her for [another] Hardy book. Monday [late 1966].
/43: From Wilsonian Hotel, University Way NE, Seattle. To Mrs G Winfield, Boldmere County Primary School, Boldmere, Sutton Coldfield. Describes his time in Seattle (five weeks of teaching left and looking forward to a touring holiday). 7 February 1967.
/44: From 9 Upper Montague Street, London W1. To Babbis. Discusses family matters. 9 August 1967.
/45: To Babbis. Discusses family matters. 15 August 1967.
/46: From 9 Upper Montague Street, London W1. To Babbis. A thank you for the present of towels, requesting news of Darcy, and discussing the possibility of his visiting. 15 January 1968.
/47: From 9 Upper Monatgue Street, London W1. To Babbis. Discusses her roof repairs, asking her not to buy him a birthday present, and enclosing a piece from 'The Listener'. 22 February 1968.
/48: To Babbis. Asks her where she wants him to address his letters and refers to a glowing piece on Uncle Richard in the paper. 5 March 1968.
/49: Incomplete letter (last two pages only). To Babbis. In the process of drafting the Strauss script in consultation with Ken Russell and Christopher Gable. Mentions the end of the Hilda Tablet plays with the death of Mary O'Farrell the previous year; that 'A Very Good Man Indeed' went out on Christmas Eve and that the Hilda Tablet programme was to go out again on 7 March. [February 1969].
/50: To Babbis. Sends her an Easter gift of some stray dollars from his 1967 trip to Seattle; promises to send "'Mansfield Park' with Lovers' Vows". He has just read 'Persuasion' and 'Lady Susan' which he comments he would like to dramatise. He is not a 'Janeite' but 'respects her above all English writers of fiction, including Hardy and James'. Also relates his problems regarding his scripting of Richard Strauss and his dealings with Ken Russell, as a cautionary tale for Gladys if she were to continue with the idea of writing television plays. 1 April 1969.
/51: From 9 Upper Montague Street, London W1. To Babbis. Thanks for a parcel containing bird food and book; mentions Walter Allen's younger son, Robert, who is currently his 'cleaner', and Bill (John) Phillips; also comments on Joe Burroughs' death. Has resolved difficulties with Ken Russell but the Strauss script was still incomplete. Promises to send her the Jane Austen for her birthday. 7 May 1969.
/52: To Babbis. On his recording and the transmission of 'Summer' for BBC radio; on his favourite Hilda Tablet 'The Primal Scene, as it were' and the 'Third Programme's' re-releasing of the series of seven plays, with regrets that Mary O'Farrell's death had prevented his writing any more of them; and on keeping company with Bill (John) Phillips. 7 October 1969.
/53: From 9 Upper Montague Street, London W1. To Babbis. His birthday had been mentioned in the Court Circular section of 'The Times', but the column was too close to the Obituaries. More promises of sending the Jane Austen books. 10 April 1973.
Access StatusOpen