I would like to invite you into Richmal Crompton’s archive to hear the voices of her fans.
I have made a seven minute film about her fans, past and present. It is based in her archive at the University of Roehampton and was made in partnership with members of the Just William Society and Richmal Crompton’s family.
To see the film please click: https://vimeo.com/153080878
The archive includes fan letters from across the world, as well as other letters, manuscripts and documents that were part of both her personal life as a daughter, sister, aunt and friend, and her professional life as a writer. One can also visit her library taken from her last home by her family, which stands alongside her desk, chair and typewriter, as well as photographs and other mementos.
This film aims to bring the archive to life. In the film the ‘Just William’ stories written by Richmal Crompton, displayed on the archive’s shelves and shown in this film, original letters by her fans who wrote to her during her lifetime, and the views of her contemporary fans and family discussed in this film, come together to achieve a connection between the past and the present. It offers a chance to think about memories of childhood and the extent to which the childhood reading of her fans has gone on to influence their adult lives. But, part of Richmal Crompton’s conversation with her fans is missing in this film. We cannot, sadly, hear a reading of what she said to them.