Category Archives: Friends and family

“I’m wholly with you on the question of nuclear disarmament”: Storm Jameson biography published

Jacquetta and J.B. Priestley make many appearances in a new biography of their friend, Margaret Storm Jameson. Born in Whitby, Jameson (1891-1986) was an essayist, novelist, and campaigner for peace and social justice.


Life in the Writings of Storm Jameson, by Elizabeth Maslen, (Northwestern University Press) is based on research in many archives, including ours. Links with the Priestleys, and with our other collections, can be seen throughout the book: for instance Jameson joined J.B. Priestley’s 1941 Committee and championed writers as he did through PEN.  The quotation above comes from a letter to Jacquetta, who persuaded her to join the CND Women’s Committee (Jameson agreed with the cause, but was cautious because she felt she might be of little use and had so many other calls on her time – earning money for her family etc.).

Maslen’s biography will prove an invaluable and impeccably researched resource for a fascinating writer and her literary and campaigning contemporaries.


Radio Highlight: Past Personal

This Sunday (9 August) on Radio 3, Jacquetta’s biographer Dr Christine Finn explores why this public figure, who defined archaeology for the post-war generation, was forgotten for so long – only now being rediscovered.  The Hawkes Archive and me (Alison Cullingford) as its curator feature as part of the story.

Dr Finn unpacking the Hawkes Archive on its arrival at the University of Bradford in 2004

Dr Finn unpacking the Hawkes Archive on its arrival at the University of Bradford in 2003

The programme also  includes contributions from well-known archaeologists (Barry Cunliffe, Martin Henig, Michael Shanks) and from Jacquetta’s family (her son Nicolas and her step-son Tom Priestley).

Castaway Jacquetta

I recently came across this BBC web page about Jacquetta Hawkes’s appearance on Desert Island Discs, 15 November 1980.  Alas, the broadcast itself is not available, but the page lists her choices of records (Elgar, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Guys and Dolls), book (Goethe) and luxury (wine).   She chose two amusing records, Peter Sellers’ comedy sketch Balham: Gateway to the South, and a recording of her husband, J.B. Priestley, on Smoking in a Hot Bath.   I think it’s lovely that she chose a piece by him and one which is so characteristic of his writing and his personality.  It is currently available in print in Delight, J.B.’s collection of mini essays about things that made him happy.  It contains many of his best-loved pieces, including two of my favourites, Gin and Tonic 1940 and Quietly Malicious Chairmanship.


(Belatedly) Happy Birthday Iris!

Special Collections at Bradford University recently joined the Centre for Iris Murdoch Studies and many enthusiasts in celebrating Iris Murdoch Day, her birthday 15 July, with a social media festival.  Our contribution was this piece published on the Special Collections blog, Roses and Dogs’ Noses: Iris and the Priestleys, which details Iris Murdoch’s friendship with Jacquetta and J.B. Priestley using letters and photographs from the Priestley and Hawkes Archives.

The day was great fun and we learned a lot about Iris and her writings.  We’re considering doing something similar for Priestley this September and Jacquetta next year …

New Look Jacquetta

Here’s a new look for the site, using the Coraline theme.  This is popular with many archives for their blogs, because its clean strong design enables the images and colours of the archive to take centre stage.  It is also very widget-friendly (that’s the functions down the side, for those who don’t blog), offering more ways to search and share stories.

Jacquetta Hawkes and Laurie Lee, 1950

Jacquetta Hawkes and Laurie Lee, 1950

And as the site has a new look, I thought I’d show you one of my favourite images of Jacquetta, wearing the New Look style of the late 1940s.  Taken in 1950, it shows her with the poet Laurie Lee.  We don’t know who took the photograph.  On the back is written, “After the Cocktail Party / Two poets in the dark”.  Jacquetta had published her heartfelt poems in Symbols and Speculations the previous year.  As always her clothes are gorgeous and stylish, but unusually it is not a good photograph of her: normally she was very photogenic.   I blame the Cocktail Party.

Words, Land, and Landscape at Ilkley Literature Festival

Just announced: the 2010 Ilkley Literature Festival programme includes several events celebrating the centenary of Jacquetta Hawkes.  More detail about buying tickets etc available from the Festival website.

Tuesday 28 September-Sunday 31 October 2010, Manor House Museum. Celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes.  An exhibition in which I use the treasures of the Jacquetta Hawkes Archive to tell her fascinating story. (Event no. 2).

Wednesday 6 October 2010. 6.30-8 pm, Manor House Museum.  Private view: special chance to enjoy the above exhibition and Faces of Poetry, also on show in the Manor House.  (Event no. 54).

Wednesday 6 October 7.45 pm,  Ilkley Playhouse Wildmans.  Old Land, New Land: a journey through Jacquetta Hawkes’ poetic geography. Dr Christine Finn, Jacquetta’s biographer,  introduces Figures in a Landscape, an experimental film about Barbara Hepworth scripted by Jacquetta Hawkes and continuing the fusion of literature and geology shown in her masterpiece, A Land. (Event no. 55).

Saturday 16 October 7.30 pm,  St Margaret’s Hall.  Jacquetta Hawkes and her Circle. Dr Finn and Dr Jon Wood of the Henry Moore Institute discuss the art, film and poetry scene of the 1950s (Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, Festival of Britain) and Jacquetta’s involvement. (Event no. 165).

The Stanza Stones project, collaborating with Simon Armitage, will draw creative inspiration from the Pennine landscape, linking beautifully with our exploration of similar ideas in the 1950s.

Cycling in Cambridge

Jacquetta and her family ca 1912

Jacquetta and her family ca 1912

The July image gallery on the main Special Collections blog includes this great photograph of Jacquetta Hawkes (then Hopkins) as a two-year old, with her siblings and a bicycle in their Cambridge garden. More detail and other cycling photographs in the gallery.