Fonds GB 0210 MSIDRDAV - Idris Davies manuscripts

Identity area

Reference code



Idris Davies manuscripts


  • [late 1920s]-1983 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

23 volumes.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Idris Davies (1905-1953), poet and schoolteacher, was born in a Welsh-speaking household and community in Rhymney, Monmouthshire, but spent much of his life living and working in London. It was, however, the industrial landscape of the South Wales valleys which was to have the greatest influence on his work, in which Davies frequently denounces the grimness and desolation of the surroundings while also reflecting the idealism and protest of its people during a time of great economic, social and religious change. His first volume of poetry, Gwalia Deserta (London, 1938), written at Rhymney, took as its theme the South Wales valleys during the Depression years of the 1930s. The Angry Summer, written at Meesden in Hertfordshire and published in 1943, is considered to be Davies's finest poem. Tonypandy and Other Poems (London, 1945) was completed while Davies was teaching in Treherbert in the Rhondda valley. In 1947 Davies returned as schoolmaster to his native Rhynmney, where he continued to write, broadcast and lecture. Selected Poems (London, 1953), the last volume to be produced during Davies's lifetime, was published less than a month before the poet's death in April 1953. Some of Davies's later material appeared posthumously in The Collected Poems of Idris Davies (Llandysul, 1972).

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

NLW MSS 10810-12D: Mrs E. A. Davies, Idris Davies's mother; Rhymney; Donation; September 1953.
NLW MSS 22397-23415: The Rev. Islwyn Jenkins & Mr Eben Morris, Davies's cousin and brother-in-law respectively; Carmarthen and Rhymney; Donation (with NLW ex 947); 1987
NLW MS 23539E: Dr Jean Jenkins, widow of the Rev. Islwyn Jenkins; Carmarthen; Donation (with NLW, Rev. Islwyn Jenkins Research Papers and NLW ex 947); September 1996; A1996/121.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers, [late 1920s]-1983, of, or relating to, Idris Davies and including drafts of his poetic anthologies Gwalia Deserta (London, 1938), The Angry Summer (London, 1943), and Tonypandy and Other Poems (London, 1945); proofs of Selected Poems (London, 1953); unpublished poems and drafts and fragments of poems, novels, short stories, etc.; lecture notes; diaries for 1938, 1940, 1946, 1948, and 1951; a typescript of his radio talk 'The valleys revisited' (broadcast 1943); and correspondence of or relating to Davies, 1933-1983.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 10810-10812D, 22397-22415, 23539E.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their readers' tickets.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply. Information regarding ownership of Idris Davies copyright can be found at (viewed March 2016).

Language of material

  • English
  • Welsh

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, Welsh.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

The descriptions are also available, together with a detailed list of contents, in Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Vol. 3 (Aberystwyth, 1961), Vol. 8 (Aberystwyth, 1999) and Vol. 9 (Aberystwyth, 2003).

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

See also NLW MSS 20770-20771E, 24075D, NLW ex 947, and NLW, Rev. Islwyn Jenkins Research Papers.

Related descriptions

Publication note

These papers are frequently referred to and quoted from in Islwyn Jenkins, Idris Davies of Rhymney (Llandysul, 1986).

Notes area


Title based on contents.


NLW MSS 22397B, 22402-3B, 22406-8 contain poetry unpublished at the time of acquiring the papers; some have since been included in The Complete Poems of Idris Davies, ed. by Dafydd Johnston (Cardiff, 1994).


Some miscellaneous papers accumulated by the Rev. Islwyn Jenkins (see NLW MS 23539E) post-date the death of Idris Davies.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


GEAC system control number


Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

May 2009.


  • English



The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume VIII (Aberystwyth, 1999); Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume IX (Aberystwyth, 2003); Oxford Dictionary of National Biography on-line site, viewed 12 May 2009; The Dictionary of Welsh Biography (London, 2001).

Archivist's note

Description compiled by Bethan Ifan for the retrospective conversion project of NLW MSS.

Accession area