It has been a privilege and pleasure to sort and list Roger Deakin’s archive. My instruction in the summer of 2009 was to meet with colleagues on a Sunday morning at Walnut Tree Farm in Mellis and find this unmarked property by crossing the railway line and counting a number of tracks after the post box. There in a field we had a meeting outside a container. This was his archive. I had concerns about wildlife. That was my only concern. Now neatly organised, the 23 metres of archive is a pleasure and inspiration to its readers. The papers provides a tangible experience of Deakin’s connection with nature, the notebooks in particular. The Speedo swimwear never fails to raise a smile in our readers; and Deakin’s love of life, the outdoors and of people shine through – and this is simply uplifting.
My personal favourite is an article he wrote for BBC Wildlife Magazine “On the saltmarshes where Lord Nelson played as a boy near Burnham Overy Staithe there’s a houseboat with a notice pinned to the door that says ‘There’s nothing of value inside but the view’. But what a view. I know of nowhere more liberating than the North Norfolk Coast and its loping brown hare-crammed hills of its farm hinterland. With its vast expanses of sandy beach, gunmetal sea, and saltmarshes full of samphire and sea lavender, you could be ten thousand miles from home …”
Archives Assistant | University of East Anglia Library | Norwich Research Park | Norwich | NR4 7TJ