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Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Annual Meeting 1954

The Writing the Century programme on BBC Radio 4 yesterday evening was fascinating on several levels. The series explores the twentieth century through dramatisations of diaries and letters belonging to what are described as 'real people' - as opposed to politicians, presumably, who are unreal. The real person on this occasion was Linton Andrews, whose diary from 1954 was brought to life beautifully by Vanessa Rosenthal. He was the editor of the Yorkshire Post and lived in Alwoodley in Leeds.

We heard about his blood pressure, something called 'purchase tax', a wedding reception at the Polish Club on the Chapeltown Road in Leeds and how he changed his black Ford Prefect for a grey Hillman Minx. We also heard about the Annual Meeting of the Brontë Society, of which he was chairman - the Society in those days was strongly connected with journalists. This took place in May (it was later changed to June, of course) and the main speaker was Rebecca West, with whom he had cocktails before returning her to the Queens Hotel.

"She was a lively companion, perhaps too lively," he commented. "The famous flowing of wit sounded too much like a dripping of malice." West had previously dined with Dr Phyllis Bentley, novelist, author of The Brontës and their World and prominent citizen of Halifax. "Isn't she pure?" said West to Andrews. "Of course, she's all for Hopkinson in his row with The Daily Sketch."  She then went on to describe Hopkinson as  "a CP member and a slimy trickster........as soon as I open my mouth on the subject of the Communist Party, I am accused of being a McCarthy supporter, according to J B Priestley."

Andrews was careful with his replies. You can listen to the whole fifteen minutes, wherever you are in the world, by clicking here.

Can anyone shed any light on this Hopkinson? Or the conflict with The Daily Sketch?

Rebecca West below:


1 comment:

  1. For the Hotchinson vs Daily Sketch incident:
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,860746,00.html

    M.

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