Where to find information or documents related to Arthur Ransome, his life and works

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The Museum of Lakeland Life

The Museum has a special Ransome Room permanent exhibit which houses the author’s desk, some of his books, many of his mementoes and various papers.

Among these papers are the typed draft of Swallows and Amazons, the first ever story that Ransome wrote, aged eight, entitled The Desert Island, unpublished chapters of the Autobiography, and the typescript of the unfinished story, Coots in the North, which has been published in a collection of Ransome’s writing of the same name

The museum can be fount at Abbot Hall, Kirkland, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 5AL, England or you can visit their own website.

The Museum of the Broads

The Museum has a small display with information about Arthur Ransome and the locations behind those used in the books set in the Norfolk Broads and surrounding area.

The Museum also has an interesting selection of boats used in the area, both in dry and wet docks and is worth a visit.  You can find the museum at The Staithe, Stalham, Norfolk NR12 9DA, England or visit their website here.

The Ruskin Museum

Displays explain the physical and human history and geography of Swallows and Amazons country – or the area around Coniston in the Lake District. Mavis/Amazon is currently on display here, following the closure of Windermere Steamboat Museum. Their address is Coppermines Lane, Coniston, Cumbria LA22 0LF, England or you can visit their website here.

Windermere Steamboats and Museum

They have a whole section on Arthur Ransome in their ‘Spirit of Adventure’ interactive display, in addition they have Esperance  (who is conservation static) and in the museum and boathouse they have Ransome’s Coch-y-Bonddu and the Swallow and Amazon boats from the recent 2016 film.

Archives – The Brotherton Collection

The Ransome archives are housed in Special Collections, Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS2 9JT England

Almost all the important documents remaining in Evgenia Ransome’s possession at the time of her death were deposited with Special Collections at Brotherton Library. The papers consist of letters; diaries; unpublished drafts and notebooks of all kinds, including sketches for stories and a large number of autobiographical memoranda; drawings, sketchbooks and photographs; printed newspaper articles, and the typewritten drafts for much of Arthur Ransome’s journalism, including his reports on the Russian Revolution.

Jonathan Cape Ltd Archives

Special Collections Service, The University of Reading, Redlands Road, Reading RG1 5EX U.K.

  • Tel:: +44 (0) 118 378 8660
  • Fax: +44 (0) 118 378 5632
  • Email:

The archives of Ransome’s publisher contain business correspondence, statements of his book sales, and samples of the reviews of his works.Anyone wishing to use this facility needs prior written permission for access from “Random House”.

The Fullerton Collection

Cal State Uni The Pollak Library, 800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92834-4150 U.S.A.

With the exception of his most treasured books, the Pollak Library purchased some 5,000 volumes which were in Ransome’s personal library at the time of his death.

Guardian (formerly Manchester Guardian) Archives

Special Collections, John Rylands University Library Manchester, England

Ransome worked as a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian and the archives contain the articles he filed for them (in back issues of the newspaper), as well as personal letters and editorial correspondence between him and Charles Prestwich Scott (1846-1932), the paper’s editor at the time.