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Record 29736

Reading Experience:


Meeting held at 9 Denmark Road, 20 IV. 1934

F. E. Pollard in the chair

1. Minutes of last read & approved with one correction, in the absence of the secretary.


4. Howard R. Smith told us of Morris’s life. The meeting gasped with unanimity and amazement to learn that he (Morris i.e.) had read all the Waverley novels by the age of seven; we gathered that the background of his life had been a blend of Epping Forest & shares in a coppermine, and that his appearance accounted for his lifelong nickname of Topsy. Of his friendships, his labours to restore beauty to Victorian homes, to prevent vandals from restoring cathedrals & other ancient monuments, his Kelmscott Press, his poems & prose romances, his turning to Socialism as the only way to a society in which men would find happiness in sound and beautiful work – of all these things and many more which made up his extraordinarily full and fruitful life, it is impossible to make a summary.

5. Mary S. W. Pollard read a short extract from Percy Corder’s life of Robert Spence Watson telling of a visit of Wm Morris to Bensham Grove. Members afterwards inspected his signature in the Visitors’ book.

6. Ethel C. Stevens read an interesting account of Kelmscott Manor, revealing other sides of this vigorous and many sided personality.

7. R. H. Robson gathered together the artistic & socialist aspects of Morris’s work, emphasised the greatness of the man, & read extracts from MacKail’s Biography. It was clear that Morris would wish to cancel out the last four hundred years & start again on different lines. Time was wanting to reveal all the varieties of opinion that this might have elicited, & we parted in united awe at the mans capacity for work, & his important contributions to our life & ideals.

Century: 1900-1945
Date: 20 Apr 1934
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:Howard Smith
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 1880
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: [An account of the life of William Morris]
Genre: Essays / Criticism, Biography
Form of Text: Manuscript: Unknown
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: owned


Source Information:

Record ID: 29736  
  Source - Manuscript
  Author: n/a
  Title: XII Book Club Minute Book, Vol. 3 (1931-1938)
  Location: private collection
  Call no: n/a
  Page/folio: 100–101

Citation: XII Book Club Minute Book, Vol. 3 (1931-1938) private collection, p. 100–101,, accessed: 13 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)