Robert Martin

pseudonym of Reginald Alec Martin

Author of Books for children between 1954 and 1969.

Robert Martin was perhaps the most favoured pseudonym used by Reginald Martin. He used it for both fiction titles and for his non-fiction. One who worked on a book with him only knew him by this name (Source 8). He was also recorded on the local rates list where he lived, for one year at least, as 'Robert' (Source 10). His business card also gives this as one of his pen-names (Source 11), and it was the one he used when working with sportsmen on their books.

It first appears on the Joey series which started out as a couple of books for the Panther Library, published for schools use in 1954 by Thomas Nelson and Sons Limited.
The eponymous Joey is the son of a widowed porter at Covent Garden vegetable market in the heart of London. These were books written for the boys they described - those who grew up without luxury, whose playgrounds were the bombed sites of post-war cities.

The first two books were Joey of Jasmine Street and Joey and the River Pirates, published in 1954.
The latter was made into a cinema film: Raiders of the River by the Children's Film Foundation.
In 1955 they were joined by the third book in the growing series, Joey and the Mail Robbers.
Like some others in the Panther Library these two were released for sale into bookshops.
The following year three more appeared, no longer as part of the Panther Library, but now with the Joey Books logo.
By the time the last book in the series appeared, it had grown to 19 books. They are all slim hardbacks with illustrations and colourful dustwrappers and were noticeably cheaper than the 'normal' hardback book for youngsters.
The plot of another of the Joey books was used for a film by The Children's Film Foundation - the film Soap Box Derby is credited to Robert Martin.

The sucess of the Joey books,adventures of modern youngsters in real-life settings prompted a new series from Nelson in 1958. This is the Dance and Co. Detectives seies.
Starting with The Mystery of the Car Bandits, which featured the Dance brothers and their friend 'Birdie' chasing around the streets of London; real locations and a more expanded adventure. The inclusion of the police, particularly the beautifully depicted Sergeant 'Manny' gribbon in the story, is a delight. He became a regular feature of the series, which ran until 1964 and consists of ten books.

Career books became a feature of the late 1950s as youngsters were encouraged to think of their future.
Reginald Martin wrote four books for Hutchinson between 1958 and 1960 as Robert martin- the Ginger Pennylove series with the main character trying different jobs.
These are : Gangster Pie, The Laughing Carpenter, The Born Mechanic and The Chinese Box.

For Harrap between 1959 and 1963 he produced five books - four named after people whose surnames were months: The October Story, The April Story and The September Story, and The Circus Marches; and one The Golden Wheels - all with a career theme.

Four 'Bandit' books were written under the Robert Martin name in 1963 and 1964, for Ernest Benn. They were aimed at readers who had difficulty with complex language; these are Tony and the Champ, Art and The Sounders, Tony and the Secret Money and Killer Road.

The Trew Twins series of books for younger readers were published by Brockhampton Press. The three books were published annually from 1959, all under the name Robert Martin.

In 1968 the racing driver, World Champion, Graham Hill, published the book The Torella Tigers. It was subtitled 'as told to Robert Martin'. and was an adventure story of youngsters entering motor racing.
Two years previously the cricketer Gary Sobers had published his story Cricket Crusader, and in it thanked Robert Martin for his assistance.

In the Swift Annual in which the short story Pocomoto and the Wild Horse appears, there is no author credit on the story, but Robert Martin is listed under authors at the front of the book.
He is credited as the author of the short story Toddy Proves his Point - in the collection Boys' Choice in 1965.

The Personna Book of Sports was published by Pelham Books in 1969. It was credited to Robert Martin and was the last time that Reginald Martin used that name.


This page is part of the Reginald Alec Martin Website. To enter this site by the front door, click here.
Illustrations copyright the respective Publishers
Text copyright John Allsup and Mike McGarry
created 26th August 2012