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Record 29643

Reading Experience:


Meeting held at Fairlight, Denmark Rd.: 21.iii.33

Francis E. Pollard in the Chair.

1. Minutes of last read & approved.

5. Eight anonymous essays were then read. In some of these the subject treated or the style of the author made recognition comparatively easy, but others were provocative of much ingenious speculation. A paper on English Justice proved to be the most discussed during the interval. Rival tipsters gave in confidence the names of Mrs. Stansfield & Robert Pollard as the author, one of them purporting to recognize - or coming perilously close to so doing - Mrs. Stansfield’s opinion of her fellow magistrates, while the other detected just that ingenious combination of Fascism and Bolshevism that Robert Pollard would enjoy putting up for the Club’s mystification. Further conflicting theories attributed the authorship to Henry Marriage Wallis or Howard Smith, & this last proved correct[....]

Another essay which stirred debate told of a medium, a photograph, a Twentieth Century Officer & a suit of medieval armour. It was told with that precision of detail that marks either the experienced writer of fiction or the worshipper of truth. And as if to darken counsel there was an open allusion to Bordighera. Suspicious though we were, & in spite of every appearance of our being right, we adhered to the view that the author must be H. M. Wallis.

Time & space do not allow adequate record of all the papers, but it must be mentioned that three of the eight came from the Rawlings family: a thoughtful essay by Alfred Rawlings needed a second reading if it were to be seriously discussed, some interesting reminiscences by Helen Rawlings made very good hearing, & Moroccan memories by Janet helped to make a most varied programme.

Other essays were "Safety First" by Charles E. Stansfield, and "The English - are they modest? " by Edgar Castle, both of which added some humorous touches to the evening.

A list of essayists, & their readers, follows.

Mrs Castle read a paper by Alfred Rawlings
Janet Rawlings read a paper by Helen Rawlings
Charles Stansfield read a paper by Henry M. Wallis
Reginald Robson read a paper by Howard Smith
George Burrow read a paper by Reginald Robson
Alfred Rawlings read a paper by Edgar Castle
Howard Smith read a paper by Janet Rawlings
Mrs Pollard read a paper by Charles E. Stansfield.

Century: 1900-1945
Date: 21 Mar 1933
Country: England
Time: evening
Place: city: Reading
county: Berkshire
specific address: Fairlight, 9 Denmark Road
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary reactive unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Reginald H. Robson
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 1877
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: n/a
Religion: Quaker or associated with the Friends
Country of origin: n/a
Country of experience: England
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Members of the XII Book Club
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: Howard Smith
Title: [A paper on English justice]
Genre: Essays / Criticism, Law
Form of Text: Manuscript: Unknown
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: n/a


Source Information:

Record ID: 29643  
  Source - Manuscript
  Author: Victor Alexander
  Title: XII Book Club Minute Book, Vol. 3 (1931-1938)
  Location: private collection
  Call no: n/a
  Page/folio: pp. 61-64

Citation: Victor Alexander, XII Book Club Minute Book, Vol. 3 (1931-1938) private collection, p. pp. 61-64,, accessed: 21 July 2024

Additional comments:

Material by kind permission of the XII Book Club. For further information and permission to quote this source, contact the Reading Experience Database (



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)