Sunday, July 04, 2010

A philosophical epiphany on Little Bowden Rec

As I discovered three years ago, Bryan Magee (the great populariser of Karl Popper's work in Britain) was evacuated to Market Harborough as a schoolboy during Word War II.

In his Confessions of a Philosopher he remembers his early intellectual awakening:

I remember myself as a London evacuee in Market Harborough - I must have been ten or eleven - lying on my back in the grass in a park and trying to penetrate a cloudless blue sky with my eyes and thinking something like this

"If I went straight up into the sky, and kept on going in a straight line, why shouldn't I just be able to keep on going for ever and ever. But that's impossible..."

And so on.

But in which of the town's park did this philosophical epiphany take place? The largest one, Welland Park? Or perhaps the recreation ground off Logan Street? After all, Magee lived next to it after an early stay in the Northampton Road.

However, the exciting news for students of Market Harborough's place in the development of British philosophy is that it was probably Little Bowden Recreation Ground.

For in his recent Growing up in a War, Magee writes:

Behind the swimming pool was my favourite park in Harborough, a square open field surrounded by trees. It was the best place I knew to play release and was close to where I lived. In fact I liked it so much that after I moved across town I often went back to it. Along the far side of it straggled the village of Little Bowden, once separate from but now absorbed into Harborough.

They ought to give me the editorship of Mind for this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Following the tags from this post, last night I watched Hubert Dreyfus and Magee make Heidegger seem almost intelligible. I will put in a good word with Mind for you on this basis.