On My Radar (2)

The Museum I recently spent a few days in Bournemouth (I hadn’t had a night away in nearly two years) and my favourite thing in Bournemouth itself was definitely the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum. Merton and Annie Russell-Cotes, owners of Bournemouth’s Royal Bath Hotel, were avid travellers, collectors and philanthropists. They didn’t have any…

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Tension by E.M. Delafield

E.M. Delafield is synonymous with Diary of a Provincial Lady (1930) and it always comes as a surprise that her other novels are so different. Consequences (1919) and Thank Heaven Fasting (1932) are terribly bleak indictments of the Edwardian marriage market that remind me of a less ornate Edith Wharton. Tension (1920), an early and…

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Tea is So Intoxicating by Mary Essex

I have to admit it: despite the excellent title, I wasn’t expecting Mary Essex’s Tea Is So Intoxicating (1950) to be one of my favourites in the British Library Women Writers series. I previously found Elizabeth von Arnim’s farcical Father quite silly (like Barbara Pym on an off day) and I’d heard this title compared…

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Round in circles I’d go

During the winter lockdown (the one before Christmas – remember that?), I took a six-week course in biography writing with City Lit. Professor Robert Fraser and my classmates were inspirational and encouraging (I hope I also provided some useful comments for their projects) and I often miss it and wish it could have continued indefinitely…

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Chintz: Cotton in Bloom at Fashion and Textile Museum

The Fashion and Textiles Museum, Bermondsey, is an unusual place. It doesn’t have a permanent collection and solely showcases temporary exhibitions. My experience of these exhibitions has been hit and miss: I’m still annoyed about the Orla Kiely exhibition, which was nothing more than advertising and a complete rip-off, but I enjoyed the one on…

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