Martin Bell was born in Southampton in 1918, the son of a railway worker. He was educated at Taunton’s School from 1928 to 1935 and then at the University College (now Southampton University), graduating with an English degree in 1938. In his early life he had Communistic sympathies, but appears to have abandoned them in later life. After World War Two, during which he served in the Royal Engineers (despite pacifist leanings), he became a teacher in London and later (1967) was appointed to the post of Gregory Fellow of Poetry at Leeds University. His Collected Works was published in 1967. He died aged 60 in 1978 after battling against alcoholism and ill health for many years. He was unimpressed with Southampton’s post-war reconstruction and nostalgically recalled the pre-Blitz town. Nevertheless, a number of Southampton’s streets, buildings and monuments make an appearance in his poems.
Southampton People, by John Edgar Mann, p16-17. (HS/t)
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