Ref NoJG
TitleJoyce Grenfell Archive
DescriptionThe Joyce Grenfell Archive contains correspondence, drawings, monologues, scripts for radio and television, as well as books and photographs that reflect her talents, interests and contacts in the entertainment industry.
Date1816 - 1992
Related MaterialHF: Herbert Farjeon Archive; BTC113: Diana Lyddon Collection; BTC194: Constance Fite Letters
AdminHistoryJoyce Grenfell (1910-1979, born Joyce Phipps) was a British comedienne who was the Queen of the comic monologue, and was an acclaimed comedy performer on stage, radio, television and film. She attended the Claremont Fan Court School in Esher, Surrey and started her training at RADA in 1927, but left after six months, claiming "I think I lost interest in acting in plays because I found it too restrictive".

Around this time she met Reginald Pascoe Grenfell (1903 - 1993), and they married in 1929. Having trained as a chartered accountant, Reggie Grenfell worked most of his life as an executive for mining companies. In 1936 they settled in a cottage on the Cliveden estate, in the shadow of Joyce's aunt Nancy Astor. In 1939, Joyce was working as radio critic for the Observer, where she met the drama critic Herbert Farjeon. Her first stage performance was in his revue Light and Shade in 1939 at the Little Theatre, London. She performed in a number of other revues in the West End before joining ENSA and going on tours to entertain troops stationed in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

After the War she continued to star in revues working with celebrities such as Noel Coward and Max Adrian. Her first solo act was called Joyce Grenfell Requests the Pleasure (1954) at the Fortune and St Martin's Theatre, which she eventually took to the USA. She continued to perform her monologues and songs until the late 1960's.

Joyce wrote monologues, songs, and poems, working alongside Richard Addinsell for the musical accompaniment to her songs. She also collaborated with Stephen Potter for the How radio series. Her most famous film role was as Sergeant Gates in the St Trinian's films in the 1950's, and she also starred in The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950) and Laughter in Paradise (1951).

Shortly after her death in 1981, Joyce Grenfell’s husband donated her archive to her alma mater, the Claremont Fan Court School. They later built "The Joyce Grenfell Centre", a music school, theatre, computer suite and design and technology classrooms on the school's new site.
ArrangementThe archive is catalogued and has been divided into its main functions which have created records.
Extent24 boxes
AccessConditionsDPA may apply to some records
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