|Ralph Hale Mottram (1883-1971)
R.H. Mottram was a novelist, poet, local historian and Lord
Mayor of Norwich. He is best remembered for his Spanish
Farm Trilogy (1927) which was based on his experiences
in WW1 in France and Flanders. The three books in the
trilogy were The Spanish Farm, Sixty-Four,
Ninety-Four and The Crime at Vanderlynden's. It was later made into a
film called the Roses of Picardy.
Mottram in uniform: back left
Mottram grew up in the Gurney's Bank building which
stands at the top of Prince of Wales Road and as a young
man worked as a bank clerk in the building. The
building subsequently became Barclay's Bank and is now
the Open Centre. One of his novels, Our Mr Dormer,
was set in the bank.
Originally Gurney's Bank, Norwich
Mottram was a non-conformist and worshipped at the Octagon Chapel
in Colegate. He was also closely involved with the Norwich
Society and wrote books on local history - including one
on Norwich entitled: If Stones Could Speak.
During the Second World War, Mottram became friendly
with the American poet Hyman Plutzik who was stationed
at the Shipdham Airbase.
In his role as Education Officer for the USAAF, Plutzik
invited Mottram to lecture at the airfield and then,
later in the evening, drove him and his wife back to
Norwich. Plutzik's poem
the Airfield at Shipdham is dedicated to Mottram.
Mottram also wrote a biography of his friend and fellow
novelist John Galsworthy. In 1966 Mottram received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the
University of East Anglia.
There is a memorial to him on St. James' Hill on
- which overlooks the City. He once
said that Mousehold Heath was 'the property of those who
have the privilege of Norwich birth'. Unfortunately, the
memorial was badly damaged by metal thieves in 2011.
He is buried in the Mottram family plot at the
Rosary Cemetery - off Rosary
Road. The Rosary was the first non-denominational cemetery in