[ Evacuation of Queen Mary College, University of London, to King's Cambridge. ] Autograph Journal of Jean Kilgour Hart, undergraduate of Queen Mary College, kept over a year during its evacuation to King's College, Cambridge.

Author: 
Jean Kilgour Hart (1921-2001), civil servant [ Queen Mary College, University of London; King's College, Cambridge; Girton College ]
Publication details: 
Cambridge [ Queen Mary College, University of London ]. 10 May 1942 to 3 May 1943.
£1,500.00
SKU: 20003

90pp., 4to. In ruled exercise book (with stationer's stamp of F. Malcolm of Southsea), bound in black cloth. Internally in good condition, lightly aged, in worn binding. Written in a close tight hand. The journal proper is at the front of the volume, over 81pp.; at the back are 9pp. of miscellaneous entries, including four pages of Hart's free-verse poetry, and lists of seasonal clothing, and a list of Queen Mary 'B. Sc. (hons) 1942' degrees, described further at the end of this entry. The present item presents the thoughts and impressions of a female undergraduate at the time of an interesting wartime crossover between the Universities of London and Cambridge. On the evacuation of Queen Mary College to Cambridge at the beginning of the Second World War, both the College administration and male staff and students were accommodated at King's College (then all-male). Women staff and students were initially provided with accommodation at Girton, but from 1940 they were housed in two private houses in Hills Road. Hart is a twenty-year old undergraduate studying English literature, a left-leaning Methodist who goes regularly 'to Wesley', i.e. Wesley House, Methodist theological college in Cambridge, founded in 1921, and studies at 'F.O.R.' with the biblical scholar Peter Runham Ackroyd (1915-2005). The diary sees her throwing herself wholeheartedly into the social life of Cambridge, and in particular the worlds of music and amateur dramatics - often accompanied by her friend 'Joan' - recording (with a mass of names and details) her impressions of debates, musical events (including regular 'club concerts'), trips to the theatre (including an extended description of a production of Othello by George Rylands and several productions by 'Norman Marshall's New Company at the Arts') and 'the Kinema' (including her impression of Mickey Rooney in 'A Yank at Eton' and Robert Donat in 'Young Mr. Pitt'), and her reading. She attends meetings of the 'Play-Reading Group' (to whose committee she is elected); goes to Social Function Meetings and worries over her romantic life ('does sexual love grow from the non-sexual variety, or vice-versa?'); attends a talk on 'Sex Problems', after which she resolves to 'find out just what the "clitoris" is'; and is anxious about her academic progress ('I simply can't do the Phonology Examination'). The following selection of extracts gives a good impression of the whole. On 1 October 1942 she writes: 'Wolf Moser came to see me after lunch & we had quite a long talk. He will make a good President of the Society for this year. Of course, as usual, he's praying that some of the Freshers, at least, will know one end of a fiddle from the other. Read "Isis" - <?> & generally pottered in the U.L. this afternoon. Am immensely interested in the O.U.D.S. [i.e. Oxford University Dramatic Society] It's a much more living thing than the A.D.C. [i.e. Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club] Not surprisingly, my interest in the OUDS is not unconnected with certain young actors who started life there, e.g. Gyles Isham & especially Peter . There was a man called Peter Worthing, also of OUDS who was an "absolute encyclopaedia of theatrical knowledge & had an unsurpassed collection of Theatre works." I can't help feeling I'd like to meet Mr. Worthing! Came across J. G. in the U.L. He's given me the names of two freshers who're to be in Hostel. An Academical Clerk at Magdalen is what we, more civilisedly, call a Choral Scholar. And David was also one of King's here! Amazin' fellow. […] Cambridge is beginning to feel a little more like term again. What an unutterably dreary thing the Long Vac is. And I shan't have another! […] The Myra Hess concert this evening in the Guildhall was perfectly lovely. Of course the place was packed, well-known people (apart from me) including Prince Dmitri Obolensky, Dr. Alex. Wood, Fred Powell, Sheila Proudlock-Dunbar & family. […] I am quite certain she is the finest pianist I've ever heard, not including '. On 12 May 1942: 'What a rush Tuesday mornings are! But we cut Ellis-Fermor because she's doing Greene. Had coffee at The Friar. Worked at Lamartine all afternoon in The Univ. Lib. Then Chocolate & sandwich at the Milk Bar. Then Soc. Funcs. meeting in V.3. Nothing of great interest. Hogarth elected Secretary; Joy Treasurer. Lord Help Soc. Funcs if she's as efficient as she is in The Mus. Soc.' On 14 May: 'Had lectures 10-12: couldn't go to King's. Prof. Wilson on "Sports & Pastimes" in Sh[akespeare]'s London. Great fun. What a brutal crowd they all were! And it's to be on the Plague next week. Pleasant prospect! Then walked to Law Schools for Miss Tillotson. She wasn't really too bad & not quite so dull as usual. Then rushed to John's for the hymn-singing at 12. It was lovely in the still air hearing the beautiful voices from the tower of the (architecturally nasty!) Chapel. Peter was there; also Leslie Fyson, Stephen Toulmin [(1922-2009), philosopher] & John Case. Worked in Univ. Lib. in afternoon. More Lamartine & Baudelaire! Don't think I like B. very much, inspite [sic] of being absolutely determined not to be prejudiced against him by all 19C pruderies which I know so well. But his obsessions with regard to death & decay depresses me.' On 15 May she goes to 'the Club Concert', including 'Three songs in French sung by Leslie Dyson - and very beautifully too. Then Evan Prentice (Prenty to his friends!) played some of his beloved Debussy Preludes'. 17 May 1942: 'How I adore King's Chapel! I do hope it will never be destroyed by air raids.' 1 June 1942: 'Coffee at the Friar House. Went to Club for a bit before lunch. Peter was there. He nearly spreadeagled me in Webb's Court with his cycle. Silly little man.' On 2 June 1942: 'Coffee at Matthew's this morning. Lionel was there, so the cold is better. Stayed in this afternoon & worked at my seminar for Ifor. Then in the evening there was a General Meeting of the Music Society (Queen Mary). Wolf was elected President; John Hunt Secretary (probably even more lethargic than Joy!); Committee Tony Leighton, Rose Leroy myself. I was elected unanimously. But there was a tie for the other two places.' On 3 June 1942 she goes 'to Heffer's to see exhibition by Wells. Liked the portraits immensely especially one of "A Young Man" & I like the way he deals with light in some of his work but his landscapes were terrible.' On 8 June 1942 she learns her friends' final examination results: 'Rushed out at 9 only to find the lists weren't to be posted until 10. Worked in the library until then but they still weren't up. Fergie's lecture (at Mill Lane) after which Pam & I went again to the S[enate]. H[ouse]. Still no lists. Met Peter in the K. P. who said he'd put my ticket in the Porter's Lodge. I said thank him very much, I'd not been in this morning yet. I managed to work until one & restrained myself from rushing to the Senate House every five minutes. At last the Library closed & I toddled to the Senate House in a sedate manner trying, like Piglet to pretend I wasn't nervous, and there was the list "Examination for the degree of Bachelor of Music: Pt I. J. C. Brown (John's) 1st.; John Case (K), John Sidgwick (John's), Hilton-Young (Trin), Garner (Hall) - all 2nds. Also Barbara Taylor of Girton a 2nd. There aren't any 3rds.so presumably Norman and Leslie have failed. Also Sheila Proudlock-Dunbar. Pt II contained everybody - Garnier, Godfrey, Goodman, Grier, Prentice, Williams, Nancy Bird & Jean Macalister. I'm really awfully glad about these lists altho' it's a pity those three have failed. But the nicest part was to come. While I was still there, Peter came along & when he was some distance away said "Hallo, are they up yet?" I said "Yes." "And have I , , , ? *anxiously). "Yes, you have!" so he said "Oh, glorious!" And bounced about a bit. He looked at the list & said "we're all there, aren't we?" So I thoughtlessly replied "Yes, I think so!" So we considered the list, agreed that it was lovely & I congratulated him. So now when we <?> the Peter Godfrey I shall be able to say that I was the one to tell him he'd got his Mus. B! I'm awfully thrilled about it. As he went away he said "Goodbye, I'm going to ring up home now & tell them!" So he waved to me, smiled & trotted off to King's.' On 16 June 1942 she gets up early 'to work at my seminar for Miss Freeman, on the metaphysical poets'. On 20 June she goes with 'T' and sits 'by the river until it was time to meet his mother who is up for today & tomorrow. We had tea at the K. P. Mrs. is rather nice & seems, I'm afraid, to look on me as a sort of established daughter in law. But I really don't want to be. Although I'm very fond of T, I don't think I love him […] And sometimes T. annoys me terribly. We don't agree on the most important matters like religion & war. But I hope I'll be able if it's ever necessary, to convince him of this. But he hasn't asked me to marry him yet!' 22 June: 'Coffee with Miss Ingram this morning at Matthew's. She says I'll never learn O[ld] E[nglish] unless I go about it in a different way. And she's going to work out a scheme of revision for me for the vac. My whole trouble is that I try to do too much at once. But apparently I'm not to be sent down. Thank God! 23 June: 'Great annoyance this morning! [...]I had to meet Meg at 11 at King's but of course I was a little late. I went to the pigeon-holes & found an urgent note from Meg saying "Degree Day today. Come!" So of course I rushed to the Senate House & ploughed my way up to the Gallery only to discover that I had missed Reggie by about 10 minutes. Of course King's is always first, because Henry VI said so. So Meg saw Reggie (I mean Cecil!) take his degree & I didn't. I am very disappointed. But I saw quite a lot of other people. Saw Reggie's mother there. And also Rex Whitworth & Neville Connolly (both King's & medicals) in their B.A. Outfits. Cecil must have rushed off to change his very quickly. Joan also is disappointed at having missed him.' 24 June: 'Ouch, what a day! Came downstairs to find a postcard saying that the Dean of the Faculty of Arts would be obliged if Miss Hart would call on him in his rooms at King's College this afternoon at 2.30. First I thought "Blast, I can't go sailing!" & then "Oh, God, am I to be sent down after all?" So I spent a perfectly ghastly morning in the Univ. Lib. feeling sick with terror. I got a clean hankie in case I shed tears & hied myself off to Kings. There I found all the women of Registration age in the Arts Faculty. <?> only wanted us to go so that he could argue with himself as to the meaning of "penultimate" in the Ministry of Labour's regulations! I was furious - when I could have been on the river. Blast! Anyway I'm not sent down - which is satisfactory. After that Pam & I went over to the Univ. Lib and had a lovely time dabbling in the literature of the theatre. Saw Dr. Golden today. He's up for Final & is staying in our house. He's rather nice.' She attends an A.D.C. production spoiled by a 'glaringly hopeless piece of acting' by 'George Leechman (King's)', and a meeting of 'the C.U. branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Prof. Victor Murray spoke on "Education is not Enough" and it was grand. I thought that it was rather a pathetic meeting - not in its aims, beliefs or ideals but in its numbers. What can be done by only about 26 of us out of the whole university?' Later (17 February) she ponders her feelings for 'T.', who has sent her a letter declaring his love. 'It's all very difficult & upsetting for both of us, because I sometimes feel I don' want to marry anyone at all […] does sexual love grow from the non-sexual variety, or vice-versa?' Three days later (20 February) she attends a talk by Dr Selina Wright on 'Sex Problems', after which she resolves to 'find out just what the "clitoris" is'. Wright explains 'clearly & plainly exactly how menstruation works - very satisfying & settling to the mind'. On 29 January she goes 'to see Norman Marshall's New Company at the Arts in "Uncle Vanya." […] The American Ambassador was there - and arrived late! Disgusting behaviour, but how typical. Lord Keynes & Robert Nichols also present, but not together!' 'On Mon. Feb. 22nd. There was a discussion at F.O.R. led by Peter Ackroyd. on Chaps. IV & V of Macgregor's "Relevance of the Impossible." Very interesting altogether. There was a Play Reading in the evening. There was a certain air & atmosphere of strain about the whole thing. Rather unusual - as we're usually all very good-tempered. But Pamela <?> was depressed about something'. On 10 February (1943) she writes: 'I've decided to take only part of the Honours Examination in English. I simply can't do the Phonology Examination & its silly to jeopardise my chances of getting through in the other papers. Therefore I will take Subsid. and 2 or 3 other papers.' 'On March 5th. [1943] I went down to the two-path & the 1st VIII bumped a Downing boat, I think. Others again rowed over. This meant that our 1st.boat was following King's who'd been bumped each evening. All this promised well for the Saturday (6th.) for the 1st.eight caught King's, the 2nd. caught Trinity III & the 3rd. rowed over with <?>, one being broken. Altogether quite a good show. We were frantically excited at bumping Kings. Malcolm was rowing for them.' She is disappointed (29 April 1943) by a talk by George Fielden MacLeod (1895-1991, founder of the Iona Community) on 'Pacifism - Fragment or Frontier': 'He was really little help, having no answers to many of the arguments that non-pacifists bring forward. Really not a great deal of help to us.' As the diary draws to a close she resolves (27 May) to 'keep this diary properly while I am still up here; there will be little to record after I go down, which process I have to go through lamentably soon'. In the final entry (3 May) she describes 'the Union Debate (under the sponsorship of Conrad Dias & Marnik ). The motion was "That the Conservative Party has no useful function to perform in British politics". A heaven-sent opportunity for mud-slinging […] many Conservatives seized the opportunity with greater readiness than did the socialists. The motion was proposed by John Butler of King's; seconded by John Dugdale M.P.; opposed by R. R. Fielden of Corpus; seconded by Viscount Hinchingbrooke. The best speech of the evening was Fielden's (in spite of his being a Conservative!) […] Was very impressed with young Roland Brown of Trinity [later first Attorney General of Tanganyika], who until this debate had apparently been a Conservative, but had now seen sense & had crossed the floor. […] the most awful thing of the lot was a horrible speech by Roy Stone (of Trinity Hall) who is Treasurer of the Cons. Assocn. Thoroughly disgusting piece of oratory about "aliens being allowed to air their views in this Hall - all owing to the general tolerance of the Cons. Party!"! Thoroughly uncalled for & untrue anyway, since we are ruled by a National Government […] I've always loathed Roy Stone, & it's nice to know the Union does, too. I never heard so much hissing. The secretary made a very good "Left" speech I think his name is Powell or Power or something.' The nine pages at the end of the journal include: two pages of 'Poems written during Municipal Assistant Librarians' Exam. July 23rd '42.' (the first beginning 'How can you say they mean nothing to you, | Those years you have kept up there? | And in that College of all others.'; the second beginning 'A Chapel, raising its four white turrets in aspiration to heaven'); and a two-page free-verse poem titled 'Cambridge 1940', beginning: 'And when it is over let us come back, | You and I together; | To walk along King's Parade and look | At the great East window.' The most striking lines are: 'All round there are aerodromes; | Grey squat hangars with no pretension to beauty. | They are not there for man's comfort | But only that he may kill, with awful quickness, | Men whom he does not know, | And little children with no defence against him.' Also two pages listing of clothes for winter and summer (arranged under: coats, suits, skirts, frocks, jumpers). At the back is a list headed 'B. Sc. (hons) 1942. Queen Mary College', naming the recipients of firsts, seconds, and passes in Physics, Botany, Chemistry, Zoology, Geography and Maths. Loosely inserted is a leaf carrying another poem, dated December 1942, of thirteen lines, ending 'I pray to all Gods that may be | That they will never say that of you.' Also inserted is an ALS to 'Jean' from 'Pamela M. Munn', on Newnham College letterhead, 4 February 1943, regarding an FOR Committee meeting at 'Robt Adair's rooms in Trinity (C. III Neville's Court)', regarding the casting, in the absence of 'Tony Ray-Hill', of 'The Three Sisters'.?>?>?>?>