Calderon’s approach to issues of the day (Russia, suffragism, unionism) was to study them in depth, analyse them, then decide what was the right course of action for him and stick to it through thick and thin.  This was why many of his friends called him the most honest man they knew.  He always did what he believed.

During the Coal Strike of 1912, which brought Edwardian Britain to its knees, he came to the conclusion that the miners deserved more pay and better working conditions but ‘making war on the Community’ to achieve them was not right; therefore ordinary citizens should go to work in the mines to show that the Community would not be bullied. When he took his curtain call after the first night of his play The Fountain in Oxford on 4 March 1912, he made a passionate speech calling on undergraduates to meet him next day to form a Strike Emergency Committee and go down the mines.  However, he had not told Kittie that he was going to do this and as she listened to him she was ‘simply cold with terror’, as she wrote later.  He spent the next five months raising volunteers to work in the mines and as stevedores during the London Dock Strike.

The third and last time I was up against that sense of finality in him  was when the War came.

I couldn’t say any exact moment when I grasped that it meant going to any of the Fronts.  It was home defence that was in my mind at the very beginning of things. […] but certainly well before August was over I was up against the other quite definitely.

He had decided what he should do.

Next entry: …and impatient!


About Patrick Miles

I am a writer who specialises in Anton Chekhov and is writing a biography of George Calderon.
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