An Appeal

If you have not read Clare Hopkins’s ‘Recent Comment’ of 9 January, please do. Clare is Archivist of Trinity College, Oxford, and the author of what has been described to me by the Senior Tutor of a different Oxford foundation as ‘the best history of any Oxford college’: Trinity: 450 Years of an Oxford College Community (OUP, 2005).

Now the reason I haven’t responded to Clare’s comment myself, is that I happen to agree with her feisty opening words about hearing the views of other followers of Calderonia!

In my post of 28 November 2014, ‘Reactions’, I sincerely thanked everyone who had contacted me since the blog began in July, but I did rather coyly refer to the fact that followers were emailing me rather than leaving comments in the blogspace itself… Now I make a direct Appeal: there are many of you, you are often eminent in your fields, all of you know what you are talking about, so if you have a reaction to a post, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment by clicking the prompt at the end of the post!

One of the purposes of blogs, after all, is to create a conversation about a subject, and as a professor emailed me at the start of the exercise: ‘these days we all need a web-presence’. Perhaps if someone says something serious but outrageous, Calderonia will go viral and prospective publishers of my biography will sit up…

But, of course, I can’t resist saying something, here, about Clare’s comment. It’s superb. I can’t thank her enough for taking all the time and effort that she so manifestly has. Although I have read her history of Trinity College (at which both George Calderon and Kittie’s first husband, Archie Ripley, were undergraduates ), the name Reginald Tiddy had not registered. The story of his insistence on joining up when he could barely pass the medical, and the reasons for which he believed he must persist, are very moving.

And the ‘homology’ with George’s army career is startling, right down to Tiddy’s ‘godfather in war’, Arthur Farquharson, believing Tiddy should serve in the Intelligence Corps ‘where his faculties would be less wasted, and leave the infantry work to others’ — exactly Coote Hedley’s opinion about Calderon.

Finally, I think there’s a good chance Calderon knew Cecil Sharp, as Sharp was a very close friend of the composer Martin Shaw (1875-1958). As Shaw says in his memoirs (Up to Now, 1929), in the first decade of the twentieth century both George and Kittie had ‘carried me through one of the worst periods of my life’. George liked his music and in 1914 Shaw was composing for Calderon and Caine’s pantomime The Brave Little Tailor. George must have seen quite a bit of him that year, when I notice that Tiddy himself was in London. So if Sharp introduced Tiddy to Shaw, perhaps the latter even introduced him to George, knowing they had much in common?

Next entry: The training of Lieut. Calderon

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About Patrick Miles

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