Blackburn, Thomas, 1916-1977

Variant names

Hide Profile

Born 10 February 1916 at Hensingham, Cumberland, the son of an Anglican clergyman, Blackburn later chronicled his traumatic youth in his fictionalised autobiography A clip of steel . After an abortive period at Cambridge, he studied English at Durham University (B.A. 1937-40, M.A. in absentia 1950). He was Gregory Poetry Fellow at the University of Leeds 1956-1958 and became a lecturer in English at the College of St Mark and St John (attached to London University) in 1960. When the College relocated to Plymouth in 1973, he eventually decided to stay in London and moved to another London University institution, Whitelands College, where he found little satisfaction, retiring in early 1976. He died on the 13 August, 1977, at Brynhyfred, the cottage in Snowdonia which features in several of his late poems.

From the guide to the Thomas Blackburn Papers, 1960s-1993, (Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections)

Thomas Eliel Fenwick Blackburn (1916-1977), the English writer, was born in Cumbria. A graduate of Durham University in 1940 and a pacifist, after the war he taught at Marylebone Grammar School, then at two London colleges until his retirement at 60. He made his reputation as a poet during the 1950s, and was a Gregory Fellow at Leeds University in 1956 and 1957. He published 12 collections of poetry, 1 volume of verse translations (with others), 5 anthologies, 3 volumes of criticism, a novel, Feast for the Wolf, 1971, and an autobiography, A Clip of Steel, 1969. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

From the guide to the Literary manuscripts of Thomas Blackburn, with some correspondence and other material, ca. 1893-1988, (Leeds University Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Literary manuscripts of Thomas Blackburn, with some correspondence and other material, ca. 1893-1988 GB 206 Leeds University Library
referencedIn John Pudney Papers TXRC95-A1., 1850-1977, (bulk 1926-1976) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Thomas Blackburn Papers, 1960s-1993 Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections
referencedIn Nicholson, Hubert, 1908-. Letters to Hubert Nicholson, 1900-1984. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Jupiter Recordings Ltd. Jupiter Recordings Ltd. records, 1955-1970 (majority 1958-1963) University of Maryland (College Park, Md.). Libraries
creatorOf Pudney, John, 1909-1977. Papers, 1850-1977 (bulk 1926-1976). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Blackburn Margaret McGuire person
associatedWith Gatien Dominique person
correspondedWith Jupiter Recordings Ltd. corporateBody
associatedWith Nicholson, Hubert, 1908- person
associatedWith Pudney, John, 1909-1977 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
English drama
English drama 17th century
English fiction
English literature
English poetry
Letters 20th century


Birth 1916-02-10

Death 1977-08-13





Ark ID: w6n59zz0

SNAC ID: 25726481