Leonard Cottrell
  • Leonard Cottrell

  • Date of birth: May 21, 1913
  • Died: October 06, 1974
  • Born: in Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, England, The United Kingdom.

  • Description: Leonard Eric Cottrell was a prolific and popular British author and journalist. Many of his books were popularizations of the archaeology of ancient Egypt.

    Leonard Cottrell was born in 1913 in Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, to William and Beatrice Cottrell (née Tootell). His father inspired his interest in history from a very young age. At King Edward's Grammar School, Birmingham, Leonard was notably only interested in English and history, in which he read widely.

    In the 1930s, Cottrell toured the English countryside on his motorcycle, visiting prehistoric stone circles, burial mounds of the Bronze Age, medieval and Renaissance monuments. On those journeys, he was often accompanied by Doris Swain, whom he later married. After gaining experience writing articles on historical subjects for motoring magazines, he wrote his first documentary for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in 1937.

    Cottrell was rejected by the RAF during World War II for medical reasons, but he joined the BBC in 1942 and was stationed in the Mediterranean with the RAF in 1944, as a war correspondent. His wartime experiences formed the basis of his book All Men are Neighbours (1947). He worked at the BBC until 1960, when he resigned and moved to a house overlooking the estuary of the River Kent in Westmoreland, Cumbria, where he stayed for the rest of his life, writing.

    Among other achievements, Cottrell was the editor of the Concise Encyclopaedia of Archaeology (1965).

    He was married and divorced twice, first to Doris Swain (divorced 1962) and Diana Bonakis (married 1965; divorced 1968). He had no children by either marriage.

    Leonard Cottrell died on 6 October 1974.

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