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  • The Collected Poems of Sidney Keyes – With Unpublished typescript Poem “Ode to Hitler”

    The Collected Poems of Sidney Keyes – With Unpublished typescript Poem “Ode to Hitler”

    Published posthumously by Routledge, London a fourth impression, 1951. Small octavo, xxiv, 123 pages, original binding, very good condition. The typescript poem “Ode to Hitler’ is dated June 1941 (whilst he was till at Oxford – see below). There is a manuscript note on the endpapers “including unpublished poem”; also a note from Anthony Smith, Headmaster of Dartford Grammar School, which Keyes attended “Dear Professor Porter, I am returning three items we borrowed from you …”. This is October, 1987 and there had been a special Keyes Conference held at the school that year … it is possible that the unique poem was one of the borrowed items, and that this book was Porter’s Professor Porter is likely the Theologian who was at Oriel college, Oxford for 13 years from 1949.

    The typescript poem contains an overtyped correction “Lonely” in the third last line – shown in the image. The manuscript date “June 1941” is surely in Sidney Keyes’ hand, by comparison with the facsimile of a hand written poem included in “Collected Poems”

    This is a special story. Sidney Keyes (1922-1943) was raised by his maternal grandparent, his mother died shortly after his birth. He began writing poetry at a very young age, influenced by Wordsworth, Rilke and Jung. He won a scholarship to Queen’s College, Oxford. At University he wrote two books “The Cruel Solstice” and “The Iron Laurel” for which he was later awarded the Hawthornden Prize. He was very active at Oxford editing the Cherwell Magazine and forming a dramatic society. Leaving Oxford in 1942 he joined the army and sadly died in active service in Tunisia in April 1943.

    All up there are 110 poems of which half relate to the War. All of his poems written during active service were lost.

    “Ode to Hitler” is a seven verse poem the first six comprising seven lines, the last six. It is a serious matter, whilst being clear in meaning. We do not want to publish all here … but here are the final lines.

    “You tapeworm of the mind, you will forgive
    My wanderings, stung by a sudden fury;
    Not even speaking for my country, only
    A mouthing sharp-tongued poet for the lonely
    And awkward speaking. But you will never thrive
    While we, the sour and cunning, stay alive.”

    A special writer and poet who gave his life too young and, a potentially important unpublished work.



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  • A Unique Document: Flying Saucers Over Papua   A Report on Papuan Unidentified Flying Objects.  Rev’d Norman E.G. Cruttwell of the Anglican Mission, Manapi, Papua New Guinea. March 1960

    A Unique Document: Flying Saucers Over Papua A Report on Papuan Unidentified Flying Objects. Rev’d Norman E.G. Cruttwell of the Anglican Mission, Manapi, Papua New Guinea. March 1960

    Typewritten document with sketches of flying saucers, tables of information etc. Foolscap,45 pages stapled in corner. This is a contemporary copied document. We cannot locate the original or any other copies and consequently this may well be a unique item, a classic UFO record.

    In June 1959 Rev William Gill witnessed the most extraordinary contact with a UFO at Boainai Mission on the north-east coast of Papua. Previously he had reports of UFO sightings by Stephen Moi a mission teacher – he was sceptical. On the 26th June in the early evening standing in front of his house he saw a brilliant light which descended towards him. He was joined by witnesses. The object came to within three hundred feet and remained stationary . It was circular with a wide base and narrow upper structure and two sets of protruding legs. Periodically a shaft of blue light emanated from the centre. A human-like figure appeared, joined by three others. Father Gill described them in his notes as “men”. They watched the UFO for several minutes before if disappeared in the clouds. An hour later another smaller craft was seen over the sea and then another over Wadobuna Village. Twenty minutes later the larger craft reappeared and stayed for half an hour, the smaller craft coming and going. The next day discussion were held and observations continued that evening. The larger craft returned and the human like figure appeared. Gill waved and figure waved back. They beckoned it to land and it hovered close to the ground before disappearing at speed.

    Gill sent his notes to Cruttwell who sent a report to the London, Flying Saucer Review. As a result Crutwell was appointed local investigator for the International. U.F.O. Observer Corps.

    Crutwell commenced research into Papuan sightings the first modern day sighting being in 1958 … an event covered up by the Australian Military. This typed report is a summary of his extensive findings. The chapter headings give you some idea of the depth … Sightings before 1958; 1958 The Overture; 1959 “Tilley Lamps in the Sky”; Kaleidoscopic Light; The Visitation at Boainai; Corroboration from Giwa and Baniara; Strange Craft over Menapi; More Spherical Objects and Others; The Last Sightings of the Year; Have We any Clues? The Appendices are remarkable … Their Concentration in Area; Their Distribution in Time; The Close Knit Nature of the Sightings … And tables and graphs … Summary of Papuan Sightings; Graph of Monthly Frequency; Daily Frequency; Times of Sightings; Table of Localities; Table of UFO Types; Names of Principal Witnesses.

    Unique comprehensive work on the Papuan UFO Sightings of 1958

    Rev Gill communicates with Aliens …



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  • Manuscript Letter (A Complaint) from Sir Erasmus Ommanney (First to Find Evidence of Franklin) to Hepworth Dixon (Notable Literary Identity) – 14th May 1870

    Manuscript Letter (A Complaint) from Sir Erasmus Ommanney (First to Find Evidence of Franklin) to Hepworth Dixon (Notable Literary Identity) – 14th May 1870

    Erasmus Ommanney (1814-1904) was an extraordinary individual from one of those sorts of families. He was born in 1824 seventh son of Sir Francis Molyneux Ommanney. In 1836 he went to Baffin’s Bay with Sir James Ross … he was second in command on the Franklin searching expedition and was the first to find traces of Franklin’s ships in 1850. He travelled over 500 miles on sledge to find the Franklin traces at Beechey Island. During this adventure he gathered much geographical information.

    In 1854, on commencement of the Crimean War, he commanded a Squadron in the White Sea and engaged a Russian flotilla off the mouth of the Dwin that year … later the Committee at the Royal Geographical Society … Royal Society, Royal Astronomical society (Observed the transit of Venus at Luxor in 1874)… Knighted etc for Arctic services.

    The recipient possibly equally well known in literary circles, historian and traveller Hepworth Dixon (1821-1879). A controversial writer at that. He was active in organising London’s Great Exhibition of 1851.

    Two pages in a strong clear hand from 6 Talbot Square … a nice London address. Marked clearly Private. Erasmus is obviously not happy … he had previously written to Hepworth Dixon and clearly provided some personal information about his naval conduct (about which we believe he had been criticised … he was pretty heavy handed in the White Sea) and Dixon had published these “private letter” in the press.

    “I was at the point of replying to your last note when I was surprised to find you had published my letters to you in the Newspapers, I believe it is always customary on such occasions first to obtain the sanction of the writer”

    Erasmus goes on … “My object in criticising your representations of my conduct at Solaretet was simply to induce you to add … comments, in your next edition of “Free Russia” … to show that your countrymen were justified in punishing … and that we did not bombard a defenceless … ; and I was going to enquire that you would not publish my [this] letter but evenly take the substance of my information for your guidance”

    Erasmus continues … not happy … “ As you have published my letters in the daily papers I must abide by the unpleasant announcements of the press, – there are various considerations to be dwelt on before an Officer writes on matters of a national and public nature in the newspapers; and in the present instance my letters should not have appeared.”

    Erasmus turns up the heat … “As you have forwarded a copy of your work to the Emperor of Prussia, I have greater cause to feel dissatisfied with you colouring of my conduct in the Solowitch affair, which on the while I fear injurious to my reputation. I hope that the subject will not appear again in the papers”

    Cranky letter from Victorian Naval hero and Adventurer who has had his reputation challenged in the Press


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  • Original manuscript Accounts Book 1791/92 – Most Likely – Webster’s Ropery Sunderland, County Durham, England

    Original manuscript Accounts Book 1791/92 – Most Likely – Webster’s Ropery Sunderland, County Durham, England

    Original folio accounts book for the two-year ending 31st December 1792 most likely of or the predecessor to one of England’s leading maritime rope makers, Webster of Deptford, Sunderland County Durham. Original quarter reverse calf with marbled paper covered boards. 62 pages of fine handwriting … appears all the same hand.

    Titled at the head of page the first page “An Inventory of Goods etc at the Ropery belonging Messrs William Marshall and John Webster together with an account of the Debts due to & from them this first Day of January One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety One”

    The first record of rope making on Wearside (the river Weir runs through Sunderland) was in 1636. The rope was likely made from Baltic hemp. Before 1800 ropes were hand-made on ropewalks a practice that continued for another 100 years. Ropewalks had to be wide enough for four men to spin abreast of each other and long enough to make a standard 120 fathom marine rope. Up to 20 people may be employed on just one rope.

    Webster’s plant at Deptford was the first on Wearside driven by steam. It is believed to be the world’s first factory producing machine-made rope. Robert Fothergill a Sunderland schoolmaster had patented a machine to spin hemp the year after our accounts book (1793). It could be that this careful record was produced as part of an exercise to obtain finance for the mechanisation … although the low wages recorded suggest that that mechanisation may well have been underway. We do know that Fothergill died shortly afterwards and Grimshaw a local clockmaker took up the rights in partnership with our Webster and two others. Although its not clear whether the Webster involved was Rowland a distinguished magistrate or John as noted here.

    One of the partners in the business was the distinguished Rowland Burdon who later gave up his Parliamentary position on principle although many though that it was because Webster’s Ropery had gained very lucrative contracts with the Royal Navy and he was avoiding any backlash financially … for sure Webster’s were there at Trafalgar!

    The records mention many of the vessels of the day that would have been working out of the North-east along with their captains … e.g. Captain McQuarrie of the Fanny; Johnstone of the Nancy William; Robinson of the Broughton Tower; Cleminson of the Argyll; Kennel of the Endeavour (a new one); Dixon of the Sarah; Holm of the Hollow Oak; Neal of the Betsy.

    Neat recording of debts and payments with particulars of sales noted with full description for every transaction with monthly totals compared often against some measure of the physical amount sold (early KPI’s). Stock holdings, wages per wage period all set out very carefully. For an industrial historian there seems sufficient information to paint a pretty full picture of the extent of activities. We have gleamed that the Ropery Buildings are in the books at GBP 220, stockholdings were GBP205 and annual sales GBP484 with total wages of only GBP72. Looks nicely profitable.

    Interestingly, the Ropery building still exists and has been restored … it is a magnificent building and has been re-established as Webster’s Ropery … but as a beautiful wedding venue … check it out we have shown an image here.

    Accounting Records from 1792 …. unique Maritime interest …


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  • Amusing Manuscript Letter – William Anderson – Author of The Green Man

    Amusing Manuscript Letter – William Anderson – Author of The Green Man

    A nice and amusing term of phrase in a clear hand ….

    “My address will explain why you have had to wait so long for the return of the copy of my book The Green Man. I have signed the book for your friends but not with the full inscription they requested. This is not to be curmudgeonly but I do not understand what is meant by the expression “in ancient sunlight”. Also there is no sign of sunlight here, ancient or modern: there are high waves on the lake and the mountains are sheeted in cloud … I will keep the English stamps for use when I return to England.”

    Curmudgeon doubtful but careful with his words


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  • Signed Letter – Hetty Burlingame Beatty – Author  and illustrator of children’s books

    Signed Letter – Hetty Burlingame Beatty – Author and illustrator of children’s books

    A nice letter dated 1963 boldly signed in blue by Hetty Burlingame Beatty following a request by a fan for a signed photograph.

    Hetty Beatty (1907-1971) was a sculptor who turned to writing and illustrating her won children’s books. She had a love of the outdoors and horses. In her sculpting days she was quite successful with shows in Chicago and New York … her horse sculptures won her second prize at a prestigious competition.

    Her enthusiasm for the outdoors shines through in this simple letter as she describes her love for Colorado and Vermont and in England which was inspiration for her greatest success “Moorland Pony”

    Author’s love for animals worn on the sleeve.


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