From Mr David Boyd
Sir, - I refer to your recent content relating to the Cumbrian
poet Norman Nicholson (Features, 28 March; Letters, 4
It is all to the good that there has been some revived
biographical and critical interest during this the centenary year
of Nicholson's birth, but I have to express some regret, too, that
much of this commentary overlooks the remarkable level of
nationwide literary networking to which he avidly contributed.
Indeed, had computers and the internet and email existed in
Nicholson's day, not only would much of his written communication
have been rendered legible, but email traffic in and out of 14 St
George's Terrace would have been immense.
A big chunk of this constant buzz of communication would have
been with George Every (initially at Kelham, and he and his
habitation no stranger to the pages of the Church Times),
whose shadowy but profound influence on the entire literary life of
those times is a story yet adequately to be told.
For example, Nicholson himself, despite his frail health and
geographical isolation, was one of the driving forces during the
early 1950s behind the work of St Anne's House in Soho, along with
Every, T. S. Eliot, Dorothy L. Sayers, and many many more of the
networked literati of the age.
Sadly for later researchers, both Nicholson and Every during the
1980s executed a mutual destruction pact to obliterate their vast
mutual correspondence archive. Even at a conservative estimate of
merely two letters exchanged between them per week, over about 40
years this would have amounted, had it still existed, to about 2000
letters held by each of them. The loss of all this material, I am
sure, has contributed significantly to the fact that the part
played by both Nicholson and Every in this regard has remained in
Richmond House, Brigg Road
Cumbria CA20 1NS