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David Holbrook papers (Edgell Rickword collection), [1920-1999]

Reference Code: GBR/0269/DCPP/HOL

Scope and Contents

This collection mainly consists of the Edgell Rickword collection, deposited by Holbrook in the College Archive.


  • Creation: [1920-1999]


Conditions Governing Access

The Edgell Rickword collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

David Kenneth Holbrook (1923-2011) was Director of Studies in English, elected a Fellow of Downing College in 1981 and an Emeritus Fellow on his retirement in 1988. He came up to Downing as an Exhibitioner from the City of Norwich School in 1941, studying English under F. R. Leavis, but left after a year to serve with the East Yorkshire Yeomanry, initially as an Intelligence, Mines and Explosives officer. For the remainder of the Second World War, he served with the Armoured Corps, eventually commanding a Duplex Drive 'swimming tank' which landed on Sword Beach on D-Day. (His novel, 'Flesh Wounds' (1966) is a semi-autobiographical account of his D-Day experiences). He returned to Downing in 1945 to complete his degree. After graduating from Cambridge in 1947, Holbrook worked initially as Assistant Editor of Edgell Rickword's magazine, 'Our Time'. After other positions, he became a Tutor at Bassingbourn Village College in 1954. From the 1960s, he focussed on a successful career as a freelance writer, holding a Research Fellowship at King's College from 1964 to 1968 and supervising English students at Downing in the early 1970s. Holbrook died on 11 August 2011, aged 88. A Celebration of the Life of David Holbrook was held in the College in May 2012.


c. 1 archive box(es) : Paper

Language of Materials


Related Materials

Obituary, Association Newsletter and College Record, 2012.

Related Materials

MS Add.9987/1/15 - Holbrook papers, deposited by the family with the University Library. (Catalogue available via ArchiveSearch)


Holbrook, David Kenneth (1923-2011) novelist, poet and academic

Repository Details

Part of the Downing College Repository

Downing College Archive
Downing College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 1DQ United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 762905