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Montgomery family papers


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Montgomery family correspondence; memoirs, playscripts and other literary papers; scientific expedition photographs; articles by Ethel Maud Rowell, mathematician.


  • Creation: 1859-2013


2.55 Linear metres (17 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to copy material must be obtained from the rights holder.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Montgomery 5, p.27].

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. c. 8352-8365, MS. Eng. d. 4235, MSS. Photogr. c. 568-569.

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 9534


Correspondence and papers of Robert Montgomery (headmaster), his son Neil Montgomery (psychiatrist), Neil's wife Margaret (school teacher), and their children Lesley Le Claire (librarian of Worcester College, Oxford), and Hugh Montgomery (physicist).

Biographical / Historical

A family of intellectuals, Robert Montgomery (1859-1938), Neil Montgomery (1895-1979), his wife Margaret (1896-1984) and their children Lesley Le Claire (1927-2012) and Hugh Montgomery (1931-2008) were notable for their scientific and literary achievements.

Robert Montgomery, born in Argyll, Scotland, the son of a weaver, became the headmaster of Hillhouse Central School, Huddersfield. His son Neil, who in 1925 married Margaret Gibson Scott, a school teacher from Glasgow, was a distinguished psychiatrist who served as the superintendent of Storthes Hall Hospital, a Huddersfield psychiatric institute. He had a strong interest in metaphysics, literature and theological matters with a particular interest in the philosophical poetry of Denis Saurat (1890-1958), an Anglo-French scholar, writer and broadcaster. He also wrote for the New English Weekly.

Neil and Margaret's children went on to excel in divergent fields. Hugh Montgomery (who married Jeanne Martin) was a physicist specialising in the study of the solid state at low temperatures and later on electromagnetism. He worked at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, Oxford, then at the Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois, and then at the University of Edinburgh. A member of the Scottish Arctic Club, he went on a series of expeditions to Greenland and Iceland in the 1970s and 1980s, and like his father thought deeply about philosophy and religion, writing later in life about his views on the relationship between science and Christianity.

Lesley Montgomery (who married Alan Le Claire, a physicist, later in life) studied English at Glasgow University and became a much respected librarian in Oxford, finishing her career as Librarian of Worcester College (1977-1992). She was an expert, in particular, on seventeenth-century Britain, corresponding with academics and authors including Eric Sams, a musicologist and Shakespeare scholar. In addition, she wrote a playscript for Worcester College students dramatizing the Putney Debates of 1647, which was eventually produced for radio, and went on to write other B.B.C. Third Programme documentaries.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the executors of the estate of Lesley Le Claire, 2014.

Montgomery family papers, 1859-2013
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom