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Record 29734

Reading Experience:


Meeting held at Oakdene, Northcourt Av, 20.3.34.

Sylvanus A. Reynolds in the Chair.

1. Minutes of last read and approved, in the teeth of one dissident.


5. We then proceeded to the anonymous essays and members felt on excellent terms with themselves at the prospect of hearing some attractive reading and of eluding or inflicting a good hoax or two.

The first essay opened discreetly without title on the theme of “Newcomers to Reading”, going on to a description of the neighbourhood, its beauties its quaint place names and historical associations. […]

6. Next came a paper on “Uniforms”. The writer was considered by one or two to show the observation of the masculine mind and the style of the feminine. […]

7. Then came a letter to "My dear Twelve" written with the unmistakeable touch of the practised writer. […]

8. We listened, too, with equal interest to a paper called “Canaries”, telling us something of the progress and perambulations of our latest migrant members. Moreover two or three of our number were able to follow their doings with particular appreciation, having mad much the same trip themselves. […]

9. All of us were a good deal non plussed by “Hors d’Oeuvres”, an essay not inappropriately named, for it contained a perplexing mixture of fare, and certainly stimulated our appetite. […]

10. Hardly less difficult was “Glastonbury”. Many of us had visited it, and so were able to follow closely the author’s points. But few of us knew enough of its history and legend to be sure whether or no our one professional historian had set his wits before us. So we gave up reasoning and just guessed. […]

11. Finally we heard “Spoonbill”. It was a noteworthy paper, combining the love of the naturalist for the birds he watches with the craft of the writer in the language he uses. […]

12. Here is the complete list. —

“Newcomers to Reading” by H. R. Smith, read by F. E. Pollard
“Uniforms” by Janet Rawlings, read by Elizabeth Alexander
“My dear Twelve” by H. M. Wallis, read by S. A. Reynolds
“Canaries” by C. E. Stansfield, read by Dorothy Brain
“Hors d’Oeuvres” by Dorothy Brain, read by R. H. Robson
“Glastonbury” by Mrs Goadby, read by H. R. Smith
“The Spoonbill” by W. Russell Brain, read by Mrs. Robson

Century: 1900-1945
Date: 20 Mar 1934
Country: England
Time: evening
Place: city: Reading
county: Berkshire
specific address: Oakdene, Northcourt Avenue
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:Mary E. Robson
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Female
Date of Birth 1884
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: Walter Russell Brain
Title: Spoonbill
Genre: Essays / Criticism, Natural history
Form of Text: Manuscript: Unknown
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: n/a


Source Information:

Record ID: 29734  
  Source - Manuscript
  Author: Victor Alexander
  Title: XII Book Club Minute Book, Vol. 3 (1931-1938)
  Location: private collection
  Call no: n/a
  Page/folio: 95–99

Citation: Victor Alexander, XII Book Club Minute Book, Vol. 3 (1931-1938) private collection, p. 95–99,, accessed: 19 June 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)