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Papers of Keith Armstrong, typewriter poet

 Single Item
MS. 21180
Held in our offsite storage facility

  • Request


  1. Round button badge, 'Handicapism...', n.d.
  2. dreams by Keith Armstrong, Circle Books pamphlet of typescript poems, 1968.
  3. Jacob's Ladder to a Balloon and other poems by Jacques van Luik, edited by Keith Armstrong, Circle Books, Oxford, 1969.
  4. Copies of The Informer, no.1-9 (1966-[1971]).
  5. Poster for Keith Armstrong poetry reading and exhibition, Torriano Meeting House, 7 Jul 1985.
  6. Copy of The Islington Gutter Press, No.84, Dec 1981/Jan 1982, featuring article by Keith Armstrong 'Disability doesn't mean inability', p.3.
  7. Photographs, including: two black and white photographs of disabled access protest, n.d.; and colour photographs [of ?art installation, 1990s].
  8. An Amazing Grace/ Space Boogie by Keith Armstrong, 33+1/3 rpm vinyl record, Old Knew Wave Records, 1978 [=closed].

Plus, typewriter artwork (or typestracts) by Keith Armstrong (original unless otherwise stated):

  1. Untitled, Oxford, 1969.
  2. .dot. POEM 12. image 14 minip0emp0ster 2, 1971 (printed, limited edition copy of 200).
  3. Untitled, Oxford, 18 Mar 1971.
  4. totalfreedom, Oxford, 21 Jun 1971.
  5. the living XXXXXX guide, Oxford, 14 Sep 1971.
  6. Optic Word Box (spells: TOOT at plus), Oxford, 19 May 1972.
  7. poemo, Oxford, 24 Aug 1971.


  • Creation: 1968-1990s


1 box

Language of Materials

  • English

Conditions Governing Access

Some material is closed.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 21180].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.


MS. 21180

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 21180


Papers of Keith Armstrong, typewriter poet, 1968-1990s.

Biographical / Historical

Keith Armstrong (1950-2017), typewriter poet and disability campaigner, was born in South Africa in 1950. Keith contracted polio when he was six months old, thereby becoming a wheelchair user from a young age. After his diagnosis, his mother returned with the family to the UK (his father, who was from South Africa, had died shortly before Keith's birth in a car accident). Keith first attended Ormerod School in Oxford before moving to Hephaistos School in Berkshire. In 1967, he became a student at the National Star Centre for Disabled Youth in Cheltenham. Aged 16, he founded and co-edited his own poetry magazine, The Informer, which ran until c.1971 producing nine issues in total.

Keith moved to London in 1972, aged 22, and experienced a period of homelessness before he acquired a council flat in Ealing. In 1979, he helped found the Liberation Network of People with Disabilities. In the 1980s and 1990s, he became a committed adviser, consultant, and campaigner for promoting accessible public transport for people with disabilities. He was arrested for blocking New Oxford Street during one protest but the case was thrown out of court as the courtroom lacked ramp access for defendants using wheelchairs. His work with the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network (DAN) in the 1990s and 2000s led to improvements in train and tube access, as well as the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995.

Influenced by the Benedictine priest, theologian, and concrete poet Dom Sylvester Houedard (1924-1992), examples of Armstrong's typewriter art can be found in Barrie Tullet, Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology (2014) and Marvin and Ruth Sackner, The Art of Typewriting (2015). Keith died of cancer in May 2017.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased by the Bodleian Library with the support of the Kenneth Rose Fund from William Allen Word & Image, 2018.

Related Materials

The Bishopsgate Institute holds the Papers of Keith Armstrong, disability campaigner; and a selection of artwork is held by the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive, Buckinghamshire New University.


  • Barrie Tullett and Tom Gill, RUHUMAN (The Caseroom Press, 2022).
Catalogue of papers of Keith Armstrong, typewriter poet
Rachael Marsay
Language of description
Script of description
Catalogued with the generous support of the Roy Davids bequest

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom