Mortimer on British Class System 1969

A typed signed manuscript with ink corrections by Raymond Mortimer and a typed signed letter of rejection from the then Sunday Times editor Harold Evans.

Mortimer's article is now somewhat outdated, although a class system still exists in Britain. 'The Nobility' has now been largely replaced by celebrities and there is now, as in America, a much greater emphasis on money. It seems at the time the Sunday Times was running a series of articles on class by well known writers.

April 18th, 1969

Mr. Raymond Mortimer, CBE,
5 Canonbury Place,
LONDON N.1.

Dear Raymond,

  I'm sorry that I agree with you that I don't think it is quite pointed enough. I think it would need to have some specific symbols of class. The Snowdon observation about class and motoring is the sort of thing I mean:

Saloon car with two husbands in front, their two wives behind = lower class.

Ditto with mixed couples in front and back = middle class.

Ditto with no one in back, husband and somebody elses wife in front = upper class.

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The Perils of Irony

From a Bookman's Budget by the estimable Austion Dobson (OUP 1917). The case was reported in the Westminster Gazette of 1916 but has a slightly  Dickensian ring.

THE PERILS OF IRONY 

Irony, which Byron described as a ' master-spell ', 
and Mrs. Slipslop called 'ironing'* is at times an 
awkward edged-tool.There is no better illustration 
of this than an anecdote of the late Lord Justice
Bowen. Once, when acting as a Puisne Judge, there 
came before him the case of a burglar who, having
entered a house by the top-story, was afterwards 
captured below stairs in the act of sampling the silver.
The defence was more ingenuous than ingenious. The 
accused was alleged to be a person of eccentric habits,
much addicted to perambulating the roofs of adjacent 
houses, and occasionally dropping in 'permiscuous' 
through an open skylight. This naturally stirred the
judge to caustic comment. Summing up, he is reported 
to have said : "If, gentlemen, you think it likely that
the prisoner was merely indulging an amiable fancy for
midnight exercise on his neighbour's roof; if you think
it was kindly consideration for that neighbour which led
him to take off his boots and leave them behind him before
descending into the house ; and if you believe that it was
the innocent curiosity of the connoisseur which brought him
to the silver pantry and caused him to borrow the teapot,
then, gentlemen, you will acquit the prisoner!" To Lord 
Bowen's dismay, the jury did instantly acquit the prisoner. 

*Byron must have remembered this when he said that the 
irrepressible Mme de Stael was ' well ironed ' by Sheridan at 
one of Rogers's breakfasts. 

Herbert Horne (1855 – 1916)

An article from the long defunct Anglo - Italian Review, October 1918. Edited by Edward Hutton, an English  Italophile who wrote several Italian travel books and featuring articles by Nobel Prize winner Grazia Deledda, Norman Douglas & Benedetto Croce. This piece is by the novelist Reginal Turner and is an affectionate tribute to his friend Herbert Horne - art historian, art dealer, architect, typographer and Arts and Craft movement designer. The photo below is of him with his friend and colleague the architect  A.H. Mackmurdo (standing) and an older woman, possibly AHM's mother at a house ('Brooklyn') in Enfield. The story of Horne finding  two Michelangelo drawings for a penny each in the Fulham Road is hard to top...

HERBERT PERCY HORNE, who died in Florence

in May, 1916, belonged to the numerous band of interesting Englishmen who made Italy their home, and the memory of whose sojourns there does not pass with their death. He did not found a family there as did Walter Savage Landor. He took no part in public life as did Waddington, who went casually to Perugia and remained there to become Syndic. It may even be said that to the majority of Italians as to Englishmen his name was unknown. He had an almost morbid love of retirement ; those who knew him well could not but be amazed at his slight suspicion--there is no other word--of hospitality. Yet Herbert Horne was known to a large circle which included some of the best-known and ‘many of the most talked about of his contemporaries: most of them loved him, all of them respected him, and he was recognised by them as one of the most learned, one of the wisest, and one of the most reliable men of his time.   Continue reading