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National Library of Wales
Hellings, Peter, papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 PETHEL

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Peter Hellings Papers

Short Title: Hellings, Peter, papers

Creation date(s): 1939-[2001]

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.229 cubic metres (8 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Peter Hellings


Administrative/Biographical history: Peter Bernard Hellings, or Pete Hellings as he was popularly known, an Anglo-Welsh poet, was born in Swansea on 1 August 1921 to Frank and Dorothy Hellings and educated at the local Grammar School where he was taught by Dylan Thomas's father. He joined the RAF in 1941 and went to Africa and the Middle East between 1942 and 1946, having previously worked for the Harbour Office of the Great Western Railway. In 1941, he was awarded the BEM for gallantry and services as a firefighter during the German raids on Swansea in the blitz of February 1941. He married Madeline (Manon) Benoist in 1947.
Peter Hellings graduated with First Class Honours in 1950 from the University of Wales, Swansea, where he entered as a mature student and edited Dawn, the official publication of the Students' Union Council, University College, Swansea. He taught English in Birmingham from 1952 until his retirement in 1980 and moved to Coed-y-bryn, near Llandysul in 1985.
Four volumes of his poetry were published - Firework Music (London, 1950), A Swansea Sketchbook (Pontefract, 1983), A Form of Words (Pontefract, 1995) and Selected Poems Pete Hellings (Swansea, [2001]). Many of his poems appeared in literary magazines such as Wales, Dock Leaves, Life and Letters to-day, Welsh Review and The Anglo-Welsh Review. His first poem with the title 'Poem' was published in Life and Letters to-day, March 1940, when he was eighteen years old. In 1989, his sonnet 'Tree Fall' was awarded a prize in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition. He was made a full member of the Welsh Academy for his contribution to the literature of Wales shortly before he died on 24 September 1994, and his ashes were scattered below the clifftop on Pennard, the Gower peninsula, where the memorial stone of Vernon Watkins stands.


Scope and content/abstract: Literary papers, 1939-[2001], of the poet Peter Hellings, including drafts and fair copies of poems and translations from the French; together with letters to the poet and his wife Manon Hellings, 1939-2001. Among the most notable correspondents are Robert Herring, Keidrych Rhys, Stephen Spender and Vernon Watkins.


Language/scripts of material: English unless otherwise specified

System of arrangement: The 2000 and 2001 donations were arranged at NLW into four series: personal letters, publications, translations from French, and miscellaneous papers. The 2004 donations were added to these existing series (see series level descriptions).

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids: Finding aid available in hard copy at NLW.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All of the papers donated to NLW have been retained apart from a small number of duplicate copies.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: The papers of Peter Hellings passed to his widow, Manon Hellings, after his death in 1994.

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by Mrs Manon Hellings, Llandysul, widow of Peter Hellings, in June 2000 and October 2001, by Mr Brian Lewis, Pontefract, January 2004, and by Dr Eurwen Price, Swansea, February 2004.


Related material: Literary magazines and anthologies are also held at NLW and also photographs. Recordings of Peter Hellings reading his poetry and tributes to him after his death are in the National Screen and Sound Archive at NLW.


Note: Some of the papers date from a period after the death of Peter Hellings in 1994 since Manon Hellings included letters sent to her; together with the volume Selected poems Pete Hellings published in [2001]. The title of every unit of description has been supplied from the contents. Original titles of files, where known, have been retained and are indicated by single quotation marks.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Ann Francis Evans.
The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: The Oxford Companion to the literature of Wales (Oxford, 1986); A Form of Words: an autobiography in verse (Pontefract, 1995); Selected poems Pete Hellings (Gwasg Llewitha, Swansea, [2001]); and documents contained within the Peter Hellings archive.

Rules or conventions: This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2; and LCSH.

Date(s) of descriptions: November 2001 and May 2005

English literature | Welsh authors
Hellings, Pete | (Peter Bernard), | 1921-1994 | Archives

Personal names
Hellings , Pete

Corporate names


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