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Papers of Robert Nichol Winnall


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Comprises game books and notebooks regarding expeditions to Scotland.


  • Creation: 1925-1985


0.6 Linear metres (6 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 15502/1, fols.1-2].

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Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. 15502/1-6

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 15502


Papers of Robert Nichol Winnall (1909-2000), teacher, hunter and ornithologist

Biographical / Historical

Robert (Bob) Winnall was educated at Lancing College and Exeter College, Oxford, where he obtained a degree in English. He had no interest in entering his family's world of commerce and, on coming down, worked as a temporary Prep School master and tutor to various families. His first permanent post was as an English master at Port Regis Preparatory School, which was then at Broadstairs. Following the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the RAF where he achieved the rank of Flight Lieutenant. When he was demobilised, Bob returned to his post at Port Regis which had been evacuated to Bryanstone, Blandford Forum, in the early days of the war. The school subsequently moved to Motcombe Park, Shaftesbury, where it remains to this day.

From an early age Bob had a passion for natural history, with an especial interest in wildfowling, although in middle life he gave this up on ethical grounds. He had a lifelong friendship with George K. Yeates, with whom he co-authored a number of books on ornithology, and one on his own account.

His interest in language went far beyond his teaching duties and he was a prolific and proficient poet from an early age; he maintained correspondence with a number of friends made at school and university, often entirely in verse.

Bob remained at Port Regis for forty years, ending up as a real "Mr. Chips" character, continuing to teach shooting and fill in for absent colleagues long past retirement age.

Outside his school duties, he maintained twin passions of shooting and fishing and enjoyed grace and favour access for these interests over a wide area as he had taught many of the local landowners or their fathers, in whom he had engendered a similar delight in these pastimes.

He owned a cottage in nearby Gillingham which he bought to provide a home for his divorced sister and her daughter, although he was just as happy in his room at school, as he never married. Much of the time he was enveloped in tobacco smoke and always had one of a succession of faithful springer spaniels at his heels. He was a familiar sight in the locality on his ancient bicycle - he never learned to drive a car - which he rarely seemed to need to pedal.

[Taken from a note by Mrs. Beard, Winnall's niece, found in MS. 15502/1]


Material arranged as received from the Alexander Library of Ornithology.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Alexander Library of Ornithology, 2018.

Catalogue of the papers of Robert Nichol Winnall
Finding aid prepared by EAD version by Francesca Alves
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom