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Graeme Roberts and Cicely Mathews papers

Collection MS-2004-087: Graeme Roberts and Cicely Mathews papers


  • Creation: 1926-1956

Scope and Contents

The Graeme Roberts and Cicely Mathews papers contain manuscripts of plays, poems, and short stories produced for British Broadcast Corporation-Northern Ireland programs in Belfast. The scripts were authored primarily by Graeme Roberts. Mathews's materials from the radio program Children's Hour are also included. Also includes a scrapbook compiled by the couple documenting their vacation to Spain in 1956.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical note

Married couple Cicely Mathews and Graeme Roberts took part in the British Broadcasting Corporation's Northern Ireland programs, primarily Children's Hour.

Cicely Mathews hosted and organized Children's Hour from November 1945 to 1964. The program encouraged the participation of children, which led to the production of I Want to be an Actor. Mathews auditioned children at schools before they came to the studio for a microphone test and potentially a broadcast. This play ran for 255 shows and included the participation of over 1,300 children who offered their talents as singers, musicians, and actors. In addition to I Want to be an Actor, Mathews utilized the magazine format of broadcasting that included music, stories, and talk. The programs Ulster Parade, Ulster Magazine, and Irish Stew followed the magazine format. Prior to her work with the BBC, Mathews was a teacher of speech and drama.

Graeme Roberts, Cicely's husband, authored and presented numerous plays and short stories for Children's Hour. Besides being a local actor, he also restarted a program entitled "Important to Us," which was a talk series on Irish affairs.

Children's Hour was cancelled in 1964 due to the increased popularity of television.


Bardon, Jonathan. Beyond the Studio: A History of BBC Northern Ireland. Belfast, Ireland: The Blackstaff Press, 2000.

Cathcart, Rex. The Most Contrary Region: The BBC in Northern Ireland, 1924-1984. Belfast, Ireland: The Blackstaff Press, 1984.

Grevatt, Wallace. BBC Children's Hour: A Celebration of those Magical Years. Sussex, England: Book Guild, 1988.


1 Linear Feet (4 containers)

Language of Materials



Collection documenting the work of twentieth-century writer Graeme Roberts and radio broadcaster Cicely Mathews produced for BBC Northern Ireland in Belfast. Contains typescripts and manuscripts of plays, short stories, and poems, as well as a scrapbook.


Arranged into three series: I. Plays, scripts, and short stories; II. Poetry; and III. Scrapbook.


Purchased from Emerald Isle Books in November 2004.

Graeme Roberts and Cicely Mathews Papers
Moira E. O'Connell, 2004; revised by Sarah K. Nytroe, 2005; and Ray Hartley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States