Classic Sussex authors brought back to life by Petworth historian

Mike Jerrome, with his new book on eleven Sussex authors.14LAOCT13f-1 PPP-141013-185207006
Mike Jerrome, with his new book on eleven Sussex authors.14LAOCT13f-1 PPP-141013-185207006

THEY are some of the best authors from a classic period of Sussex writing and now their books have been brought back into the light by Petworth historian Peter Jerrome.

Eleven Sussex Books looks at authors writing during the last years of 
Queen Victoria up to 1939. In the words of Mr Jerrome: “Taking a particular 
book by each author with, where appropriate, a sidelong look at other works from the same hand.”

A number of the books featured formed part of Petworth photographer George Garland’s ‘Sussex’ collection.

“He left the books to me and I have always felt I owned it to him to do something about them,” Mr Jerrome told the Observer.

“I think all the authors have particular aspects of interest.

“Tickner Edwardes could be the one I like the best. But John Halsham is an absolutely classic Sussex author and the rector of Rusper was an extraordinary man. I don’t think any of these people should be forgotten.”

The authors range from Tickner Edwardes and his contrasting experience of nature and war to the forthright clergyman AA Evans.

There is Rhoda Leigh’s fragile vision of a vanishing rural Bedham and Edward Martin’s determination to ensure life in a derelict windmill.

Then there’s Russell Thorndike’s villainous and fictional Dr Syn and the harsh reality of Edward Synnott’s turbulent ministry at Rusper during the 1914-1918 war. There is the wit of another clergyman, John Coker Egerton, and the Quaker upbringing of Maude Robinson near Brighton.

The book also looks at John Halsham’s classic Idlehurst and Walter Wilkinson with his travelling puppet show who, said Mr Jerrome, ‘casts a quizzical 1930s view on a still half familiar world’.

Mr Jerrome has used George Garland’s photographs to illustrate Eleven Sussex Books.

It is designed and produced by Jonathan Newdick and limited to 100 individually numbered copies priced £15 each with £3 for postage and packing.

It is available direct from The Window Press, Trowels, Pound Street, Petworth or at the introductory talk to be given by Mr Jerrome at the Leconfield Hall on Wednesday, October 22 at 7.30pm.