Many readers will have seen the archive of John’s poetry online, at www.johnbradburnepoems.com.
But what if you wanted to see the original manuscripts – the actual handwritten or typed texts? It might be simply to experience the wonder of being close to papers that John himself held. Or – and this is going to be increasingly the case once his Cause succeeds – scholars will want to see the originals as part of any research project into his spirituality or literary achievement. Until now this would have been extremely difficult, involving a trip to Holyhead (in the days when I held all the material, as part of the process of transferring it to digital form) or, when that was completed, to Risbury (where Celia Brigstocke based the JBMS). Things are about to get a whole lot easier.
In the summer of 2019 I gave a talk about John’s poetry to a conference held at the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University, and one of the outcomes was a proposal to locate all John’s papers there. The CCS is the UK’s rst permanent centre devoted to research and teaching in Catholic theology in a public academy, and since its foundation in 2007 it’s developed a worldwide reputation. It’s the ideal place to house John’s poetry, and I’m delighted to report that they’ve agreed to take it. The archive will be carefully stored in a strong room and brought up to visitors as required. Everything will be freshly catalogued, so it should be an easy matter to find a manuscript of a poem or letter.
There are some details still to sort out, and some final preparatory work still to do, but all being well the collection should be safely in place in Durham by early 2023. We’ll provide more detail about how to obtain access to it then.David Crystal