MĂ©groz, R.L. (writer)

Reference: MS 1979Date: c.1905-1966Extent: c.54 boxes

Rodolphe Louis Mégroz, was born in St. George Hanover Square, London, on 2 August 1891, the eldest child of Swiss-born Rodolphe Frederic Mégroz, a valet, and his wife Alice Jane (née Bull), who had married in 1890. Before Mégroz was 10 his father had died but his education was continued in various institutions including the Gordon Boys Home.

At the age of 17, MĂ©groz joined Farrow’s Bank as a clerk, learned shorthand and accounts and became a cashier in 1911. He joined up immediately at the outbreak of the Great War and served with the West Yorkshire Regiment at Gallipoli in 1915, taking part in the landings at Suvla Bay. In 1916 he was stationed in Egypt as a shorthand writer in the Chief Censor’s office. He spent two years in Egypt and Palestine before returning to England at the end of the war to become an Education Instructor and an officer before being discharged at the end of 1919.

His first book of verse, Personal Poems, had already been published and, under the scheme for ex-servicemen which paid his fees and a grant, he enrolled in a Journalism Diploma course at London University, studying for the next two years whilst freelancing for various papers. The pattern of his professional life was established. He took freelance journalism jobs when these were available, often writing articles on different subjects, such as education and country matters, under pseudonyms. During the 1920s and 1930s he wrote numerous books of literary criticism and biography and edited many anthologies of verse and letters, as well as writing numerous poems, book reviews, essays and articles for journals. He was also a playwright, his plays including Rossetti (with Herbert de Hamel), Mr Absalom (with Alan Sullivan), Mosquito Day and other plays for the BBC, and St Genevieve (with Leighton Lucas).

During the Second World War MĂ©groz worked for the BBC European News Service. He then edited publications for the Overseas Food Corporation from 1949-51. After his retirement he listed his recreations as billiards and explaining the peace. His last residence was Cheverells, Pickford House, Markyate, Hertfordshire and he died on 30 September 1968, aged 77.

The collection consists of personal papers, photographs and letters;  autobiographical notes; poems; plays; short stories; articles; radio scripts; notes for books on various subjects; transcripts of interviews and a considerable amount of correspondence with literary figures and others including Arthur St John Adcock, Gordon Bottomley, Marten Cumberland, Cecil H. Lay, Walter de la Mare, Chris Massie, Thomas Moult, Seumas O’Sullivan, Herbert E. Palmer, Ronald Ross and Osbert Sitwell.

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