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14 October 2020

This is the photograph we use on our website here. Enough said really.

13 October 2020

The other hero of the hour was Lord Snowdon. There are lots of photographs of him and Adam at Bath in Time here. The worst thing about all the demolition is that sensible people knew that one day – in 10, 15, 25 years – the tide would turn and the vandalism would be bitterly regretted. And lo! that is what happened.

12 October 2020

What is the Post for we sometimes ask ourselves? (And maybe you ask yourself.) Well, it's a celebration of the kind of thing a Persephone reader might be assumed to love. It helps to revive the forgotten, the neglected. But it's also a reminder, a word in your ear, a cautionary tale. Never is this more true than where Bath is concerned and Adam Fergusson's The Sack of Bath, first published in 1973 and reprinted by us in 2010. Just to flip through its pages is enough to make one weep.Schubert may have died forgotten but at least his music survived; Evelyn Dunbar was not well known in her lifetime but we still have her paintings and drawings; but many of Bath's buildings went for ever. They were wantonly demolished, murdered. Some of us can never really get over this. Yes, Bath is still beautiful, it still retains its magic. But it nearly lost it. And so much went. This week on the Post: pictures of the horror that Bath City Council condoned, indeed encouraged in the 1960s. And if it hadn't been for Adam Fergusson's book goodness knows how much more would have been lost. We at Persephone Books honour and revere Adam for what he did and really, when Bath statues are moved or demolished, then one of Adam should be put in its place. (He is very modest and would hate that.) Today's horror picture: 'The Technical College, centre left, was designed by a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission' (caption on page 23). There was nothing more to be said. (In fact this is a modern picture, the photographs are black and white in the book itself. In colour it's even more horrific.)

9 October 2020

And this is what Forster would have looked at every day from 1947 until his death fifty years ago this year. It remains magically beautiful and is well worth a day trip (when we do that kind of thing again).

8 October 2020

EMF's father also built a mantelpiece/fire surround which is preserved at Kings – this is how it looked in Forster's time. The chairs either side of it might well have been genuine William Morris, or school of.

7 October 2020

Forster came back to live at King's after his mother died, in 1947. He brought with him a glass fronted bookcase designed by his father, half of it can be seen to the right of the photograph. This bookcase is now full of Persephone books and would be used at 59 Lamb's Conduit Street if there was room for it. One day it will return to Forster's rooms at Kings, which it should never have left (it was sold after his death which is how we acquired it).

6 October 2020

Forster was an Apostle. 'The undergraduate Forster was proposed by Hugh Meredith, and duly elected, to the secret University debating society known as The Apostles. The influence of their erudite discussions including issues of ethics, beauty and truth can be seen particularly in his later, non-fiction writing. Though he graduated soon after election he continued his association with the Society, attending meetings and occasionally giving papers ... The list of attendees at the annual Apostles dinner in June 1910 lists other influential King's graduates who maintained their association with the Apostles (e.g. art critic Roger Fry and economist Maynard Keynes), and undergraduate poet Rupert Brooke who was for a time Secretary of the Society. Forster wrote to Brooke in November 1911 that he was going to 'put all that I can remember of your paper on art into a novel'. Precisely which novel that might have been is not clear' (King's website here). (The novel was in fact Maurice.)

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