The Jacquetta Hawkes Archive came to the University of Bradford in 2003, when we were delighted to add it to Special Collections. Jacquetta Hawkes had an obvious connection with the city via her second husband, J.B. Priestley, who grew up in Bradford and used it as the inspiration for many of his finest novels and plays. This image shows her alongside Priestley’s son, Tom, unveiling a plaque at one of JBP’s childhood homes in Bradford, 34 Mannheim Road.
But the connection between her Archive and Bradford goes beyond the simple fact of her marriage. Priestley’s Archive was already the most important and best-used archive in Special Collections. It soon became clear to us that the two archives slot together to illuminate each other: although the Priestleys maintained their separate careers, they co-wrote books, travelled and entertained together, and shared a secretary. Jacquetta’s profession and interests also tie in with our research and teaching at Bradford. She was an archaeologist by profession and passion, and championed social and political causes, particularly nuclear disarmament in the late 1950s, hence the cross-over with our Archaeology and Peace Studies departments.