60th anniversary of South Downs philosopher at Stedham

CEM Joad in his Brains Trust heyday
CEM Joad in his Brains Trust heyday

THE Stedham Exhibition of Philosophy and Brains Trust Evening on Sunday, April 7 will mark the 60th anniversary of the death of the South Downs philosopher ‘Professor’ CEM Joad, who lived at Stedham and died there in 1953, aged 61.

It was at his Stedham home that he wrote his last major work, The Recovery of Belief – a restatement of Christian Philosophy.

Described as the ‘Patrick Moore of philosophy of his day’, he brought the subject down to earth for millions in his many books.

Organiser of the exhibition, Richard William Symonds, said: “His 50th anniversary in 2003 was held at South Stoke Farm, the South Stoke Festival of Thought, a beautiful hamlet nestled in the South Downs, but which had yet to 
achieve national park status at that time.

“Cyril Edwin Mitchinson Joad – CEMJ – played no small part in helping to set up certain national parks in the late 1940s, but did not succeed with the South Downs, an area he deeply treasured and loved. If he was alive today, he would be absolutely delighted with its national park status.”

Mr Symonds said everyone was welcome to attend the event, which will be held in Stedham Village Memorial Hall. It starts at midday and will go on until 10pm.

The Rev Roger Williamson, vicar of St James, Stedham, has volunteered to act as question master in an informal, friendly re-enactment of the wartime programme The Brains Trust which was first broadcast on radio, before the advent of television, in January, 1941 and in which the ‘Professor’ became a national celebrity with his catch-phrase ‘It all depends what you mean by...’.

“He became what I would call the Patrick Moore of philosophy in his day, popularising the subject for millions and writing more than 100 books on the subject.

“The Brains Trust was the pioneering forerunner to what we now know today as Question Time and Any Questions.”

The day will begin with a welcome by Ruth Joad, granddaughter of CEM Joad.

There will be a short walk, the Joadian Trail, at 3pm which will take in Meadow Hills, Joad’s Stedham home.

Choral Evensong takes place at St James’ Church at 6pm when the Rev Williamson’s sermon will be based around Recovery of Belief. The re-enactment of The Brains Trust evening will be from 7.30pm-9pm.