Document ReferenceCF
TitlePapers of Connie M. Ford (1912-1998), poet; 1900-1998
Extent47 boxes
AbstractThe collection contains personal papers of Connie M. Ford (1912-1998) comprising literary papers, correspondence, photographs, diaries and journals and printed and personal ephemera.
Access ConditionsAccessible to all readers.
Admin HistoryConnie M. Ford was born in 1912 in south-east London, the youngest of three daughters. Her father made scientific apparatus for schools and, during the First World War, artillery sights. Connie Ford was educated at the Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls, 1923-1929, and then at the Royal Veterinary College, London, 1929-1933. She qualified as a vet in 1933, and initially she ran her own practice in London. During the Second World War she joined the Scottish Land Army, before moving to the Midlands in 1943. From 1943 to 1972 Connie Ford was employed in the civil service as part of the UK Government's Veterinary Investigation Service, working for many years at Sutton Bonington. She became a specialist in the infertility of cattle. For this work, Connie Ford was awarded an MBE in 1970.

In retirement, Connie Ford researched the life and work of Aleen Cust, the first British woman vet. Her biography, 'Aleen Cust, veterinary surgeon: Britain's first woman vet', was published by Biopress of Bristol in 1990, for which she was awarded the J.T. Edwards Memorial Award by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1992. Connie Ford left a generous bequest to The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Trust, which offers Connie Ford Retraining Grants for the development and delivery of retraining courses for UK veterinary surgeons.

Connie Ford had written poems since her childhood, but began submitting her poetry to competitions and writers' groups in the 1950s. She was an active member of the Nottingham Poetry Society from 1951, and acted as its chairman in the 1980s. Her work appeared in various poetry magazines and publications including 'Poetry Nottingham', the 'Breakthru' series, 'Voices', and the annual poetry workshop magazines of the Society of Civil Service Authors. Her long narrative poem 'The Great Eastern', based on her grandfather's journal, won the John Masefield Prize organized by 'Manifold' in 1968. Connie Ford also published four books of her own poetry: 'Veterinary Ballads and other poems' (1973), 'Wings and Water' (1973), 'Boat Crazy' (1975), and 'The Crimson Wing' (1977). She was a lifelong supporter of communism and women's rights, and enjoyed boating. She died in 1998.

An autobiography of Connie Ford through her own poetry: 'Walking my tightrope : the life of Connie Ford', compiled by Cathy Grindrod, was published by Poetry Nottingham in 2001. There is a copy in the East Midlands Collection, Manuscripts and Special Collections, Pamphlet Not 472.W8 FOR Z. The book is interspersed with memories of Connie, chiefly from her friends Peggy Rumbol, Dr F.G. Clegg, and Fred Westacott, who recalled first meeting her in 1947 at a Communist Party event.
Custodial HistoryThe collection was acquired by The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections in 1998, with various accruals up to 2017.
DescriptionThe collection comprises:

Literary papers, including manuscript and typescript copies of her poetry, published works by Connie Ford, papers relating to the Society of Civil Service Authors and the Nottingham Poetry Society, and notes of talks given by Connie Ford to literary groups (CF 1);

Research papers, drafts and correspondence relating to Connie Ford's book 'Aleen Cust, veterinary surgeon: Britain's first woman vet' (CF 2);

General correspondence of Connie Ford (CF 3);

Personal papers, comprising: diaries; papers relating to Connie Ford's schooldays and further education; papers relating to Connie Ford's work as a veterinary surgeon; travel diaries and papers relating to trips and holidays; papers relating to Connie Ford's interest in political affairs, particularly communism and socialism; papers relating to her interests in music, the theatre, local history, and boating; personal papers; certificates, awards and medals; and articles and obituaries (CF 4);

Photographs (CF 5);

Papers of Connie Ford's sisters, Edith and Laura Ford (CF 6).
MgtGroupLiterary and cultural records
Personal papers
MgtSubGroup20thC literary manuscripts
Private papers
ArrangementItems are arranged into series according to subject matter and form, and then listed chronologically or alphabetically as appropriate.
TermWomen veterinarians - England
Veterinarians' writings
Women poets - English
Prose poems - English
FindingAidsCopyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. Online: Catalogue available through the Manuscripts Online Catalogue.
ReprodnNoteReprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.
Related MaterialRecords relating to Connie Ford's veterinary career are held by the Royal Veterinary College: The Ford Collection includes personal papers and field observations and notes relating to her work in Sutton Bonnington.
University of Nottingham, Manuscripts and Special Collections: Letter to Connie Ford, in the papers of Ernest Dickinson (fl 1900-1973), Nottingham poet (Ref: MS 249)
Related RecordMS249
Publication NoteC. Grindrod, 'Walking my Tightrope: The Life of Connie Ford' (Nottingham: Poetry Nottingham Publications, 2001)

Connie M. Ford, 'Veterinary Ballads and other poems' (Nottingham: Connie M. Ford, 1973)

Connie M. Ford, 'Wings and Water' (Haywards Heath: Breakthru Publications, 1973)

Connie M. Ford, 'Boat Crazy' (Haywards Heath: Breakthru, 1975)

Connie M. Ford, 'The Crimson Wing' (Nottingham: Trentside Publications, 1977)

Connie M. Ford, 'Aleen Cust, veterinary surgeon: Britain's first woman vet' (Bristol: Biopress, 1990)

Department of Literature and Languages, Trent Polytechnic. [Nottingham], 'Quartz: New Writing' 1, Spring 1988 (Nottinghamshire County Council, 1988) contains an interview with Connie Ford.

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Click the links below to view related place indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA173Ford; Connie M. (1912-1998); veterinary surgeon and poet1912-1998
NA77047Nottingham Poetry Society
NA77048Society of Civil Service Authors
NA77049Cust; Aleen (1868-1937); veterinary surgeon1868-1937
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