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letters (correspondence)
  • letters (correspondence)
    Munrow, David, born 1942 - died 1976
  • Enlarge image

letters (correspondence)

  • Place of origin:

    England (written)

  • Date:

    1950s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Munrow, David, born 1942 - died 1976 (written by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink on paper with paper stamp adhered

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Gillian Munrow in memory of her husband David Munrow

  • Museum number:

    B.38-2016

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

One of a series of seven letters, handwritten by David Munrow to his beloved teddy bears and toys while he was on holiday in Cornwall as a young boy in the 1950s. In these affectionate and newsy letters to bears ‘Humph, Ginge and Eddy,’ David paints an exciting picture of his holiday activities for the soft toys left behind in his Birmingham bedroom: ‘We have caught eight fish…we eat them for breakfast’; ‘I really ought to have written before but we have been so busy painting the boat’; ‘The other day I tried to reach a stick in the water and Plosh! In I went with all my clothes on’; ‘I hope you arn’t [sic] too lonely at home but we've only got another week down here’.

David Munrow’s intelligence, imagination and wit shine through. He adds a post script to many of the letters from a toy named ‘Poo’, which he writes in a different hand and with deliberately bad spelling: ‘I am rather lonely here sumtimes but its nise when the sun chine’; ‘I hop yoo are orl wel cos we are. Lots of Luv Poo’

Accompanying the letters are other objects from David’s childhood: a handwritten exercise book of plays and the three teddy bears who are not only the main addressees of the letters but also star as some of the principal ‘actors’ in David’s plays. This collection of objects provides a wonderful insight into the early interests and imagination of a child who went on to become a well-known musician and broadcaster.

Physical description

Handwritten letter addressed to 'The Bear Family', written in ink on cream paper. The letter begins 'My Dearest Humph'. A red and black 1951 Christmas greetings stamp is adhered to the top right hand corner of the folded letter. Another stamp of the same design was originally adhered to the folded letter edges to keep them closed; the letter has been opened cutting this stamp in half.

Place of Origin

England (written)

Date

1950s (made)

Artist/maker

Munrow, David, born 1942 - died 1976 (written by)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink on paper with paper stamp adhered

Marks and inscriptions

The Bear Family / Upper Estate / BEDroom / Munrovia / Yelverton / Birmingham
Handwritten in blue ink on the front of the folded letter

1951 / NAPT / GREETINGS
Printed on the paper stamps

Dimensions

Width: 12.6 cm, Length: 16.5 cm

Object history note

David Munrow wrote these letters to ‘The Bear Family’ and ‘The Toy Family’ whilst on holiday with his family in Cornwall, probably when he was aged between nine and twelve. He made the letters as authentic as possible by sticking Christmas Greetings stamps on the corners, sometimes adding ‘Via Posta’ and a hand drawn postmark from the Cornish village of ‘Flushing’, which is presumably where he and his family were staying.

The greetings stamps David used for his letters are printed with the date 1951, a double barred cross emblem and the acronym NAPT, which stands for the National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis. These charity stamps were designed to be added alongside the regular postage stamp, to cards and letters posted in the Christmas season; they were a fundraising initiative to raise money to help children with tuberculosis. By the end of the 1950s tuberculosis was thought to be firmly under control and the NAPT eventually became the modern day Stroke Association.

David Munrow was born in Birmingham on 12th August 1942, the only child of academic parents. He attended King Edward's School in Edgbaston, where he excelled both academically and musically. After attending Cambridge University, then studying for a Masters at the University of Birmingham, David became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company's wind band, providing incidental music at their performances between 1966 and 1968. David founded the Early Music Consort of London during this time, an ensemble with which he would be associated for the rest of his life. He also taught at the University of Leicester and the Royal College of Music. Beginning in 1971 David Munrow presented the BBC Radio 3 series Pied Piper, Tales and Music for Younger Listeners. Through the show David introduced children to a wide variety of musical genres, and during his five years broadcasting the series he attracted large audiences of child and adult listeners. In addition to his broadcasting and academic careers, David performed on more than fifty recordings of early music.

Descriptive line

Letter written by David Munrow to his toys, England 1950s [3 of 7]

Materials

Paper; Blue ink; Adhesive

Techniques

Handwritten; Glued

Categories

Children & Childhood; Made by children; Writing; Soft toys; Dolls & Toys; Books

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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