So, last Thursday I did a fairly crazy thing.
Having just negotiated my way out of the financial straits that come with spending four years completing a Ph.D. and two years juggling part-time posts, I shelled out a fairly significant sum on a table.
Not just any table.
This table is a solid oak Arts and Crafts refectory table dating from the end of the nineteenth century.
Moreover, this table used to belong to Margaret Storm Jameson, the subject of my Ph.D.
From it she kept up an avid correspondence with writers throughout Europe, relationships which informed her actions in trying to help refugee writers in World War Two.
This desk marks a great starting point for this Making Civilisation project and it’s thrilling to think that, once it’s properly installed in my new study, I will be writing some of my next book on it.
Beyond this nostalgia, I thought it was important to keep the desk in the UK and to make sure that, at least for the foreseeable future, it will be known as Jameson’s desk and it’s rich history will not be forgotten.
It came up under rather sad circumstances as Jameson’s grandson Christopher Storm Clarke passed away last October.
This meant that a great number of Jameson’s possessions, along with those of her husband Guy Chapman, were auctioned at Morphet’s in Harrogate on Thursday 3rd March.
As well as the table there were books belonging to both Jameson and Chapman, including some lovely first editions of Jameson’s novels and those of other writers.
There were also more personal artefacts such as collections of family photographs.
I bid for the desk last Thursday and was really thrilled to win it in the fast and furious auction.
We hired a van and drove to Morphet’s in Harrogate to collect it on Saturday.
Beyond picking up the desk, it was a great trip to Yorkshire (Harrogate’s fascinating one-way system not withstanding!) and we managed to take in the delights of Masham and do some walking on the way home.