Petre Mais

Stuart Petre Brodie Mais (1885 - 1975) was a prolific British author, journalist and broadcaster. The son of a Bristolian rector, he was born in Birmingham but raised in Tansley, Derbyshire, where his family moved shortly afterwards. After graduating in English Literature at Christ Church, Oxford, and then teaching at a number of schools including Rossall and Sherborne, Mais later worked for National Press at Fleet Street. He was a prolific author writing over 200 books, his reputation was such that Churchill once joked that the speed of his output made him feel tired .

Mais broadcast for numerous wireless programmes for the BBC between the 1920’s and 1940’s. He was married twice to Doris Snow and then to Jill Doughty. S.P.B (who preferred to be called Petre), was an ardent campaigner for the English countryside and traditions, he was also broad minded and innovative. He began to broadcast a "Letter From America" in 1933, a ground breaking venture at the time, and an idea that has been used by other media figures since. S.P.B. died at in April 1975 at Lindfield, Sussex.

He worked as a journalist for the Oxford Times newspaper, and also for the BBC as a radio broadcaster. He presented Letter from America from 1933, 13 years before it was made famous by Alistair Cooke, he also presented a series on This Unknown Island.

Literary works

He was a schoolmaster and his first books were a series of anoted William Shakespeare plays, published in 1914. He continued to publish works on English literature, and even tried his hand at writing novels.

Travel books

These include:

  • See England First (1927)
  • The Cornish Riviera (1928 for the Great Western Railway)
  • Glorious Devon (1928 for the Great Western Railway)
  • North Wales (1928 for the London Midland and Scottish Railway)
  • Sussex 1929
  • It isn't far from London (1930)
  • Southern rambles for Londoners (1931 for the Southern Railway)
  • The Highlands of Britain (1932)
  • This unknown island (1932)
  • Week-ends in England (1933)
  • Isles of the island (1934)
  • England's pleasance (1935)
  • Lovely Britain edited (1935)
  • Round about England (1935)
  • Southern schools (1935 for the Southern Railway)
  • England's Character (1936)
  • A.C.E: the Atlantic Coast Express (1937 for the Southern Railway)
  • Britain calling (1938)
  • Let's get out here (1938 for the Southern Railway)
  • Walking in Somerset (1938)
  • Highways and Byways in the Welsh Marches (1939)
  • Hills of the South (1939)

Further reading

  • Bernard Smith, ‘Mais, Stuart Petre Brodie (1885–1975)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 (, accessed 18 Jan 2007)
  • Robson, Maisie, "An Unrepentant Englishman: The Life of S. P. B. Mais, Ambassador of the Countryside" King's England Press, 2005. (

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