Friday, August 13, 2021

Recent discoveries about Vaughan Wilkins

When I gave talks on blogging I suggested that one use of a blog is as a writer's notebook. You can upload as much of your research as you choose and link it all together.

If you are lucky, your readers will help out - for an example see the comments on a post about my own personal Thirties poet W.T. Nettlefold.

So here are my latest discoveries about the now obscure historical novelist Vaughan Wilkins. If this post is not for you, try my latest Joy of Six or listen to Scott Walker as a 15-year-old.

First I have found a sketch of Vaughan Wilkins in his days as chief sub-editor on the Daily Express by Collie Knox. And pretty fearsome he founds - this is the more attractive part:

Second, I have found on Twitter that Vaughan Wilkins was the great grandson of William Wilkins, the architect of the National Gallery.

Third, the Wilkins family contained clergymen, including Vaughan Wilkins' own father, as well as a famous architect. William Wilkins' younger brother George Wilkins was a canon at Southwell Minster.

So it's interestting that I have recently noticed that his first book, And So - Victoria, contains at least three references to Southwell Minster.

The most substantial of them, from chapter 12, runs:
It was on the road back from their Northern tour that they next heard of her. They had come slowly from Carlisle into Nottinghamshire, where Setoun had an old small house of red brick in the minster town of Southwell. The shadow of a grey tower fell across the high-walled lawn, and the rooms were full of the clangour of bells at noon and eventide - so full that they seemed to hum with the deep music long afterwards, as conch-shells echo with the sea.
Fourth, though my discovery of Vaughan Wilkins stems from And So - Victoria being a Book at Bedtime in the autumn of 1976, I have found that it was dramatised by the BBC back in 1962.

The hero as a boy was played by Martin Stephens, now famous from The Innocents and Village of the Damned.

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