The Altar in the Loft Find!
All the local history collections in Kent Libraries & Archives include fictional works. This could be fiction written by authors with local connections, or fiction that evokes local places. Often, the fiction sections of the local history collections are overlooked. So, for me, Reading Detectives has been a good opportunity to draw attention to a different facet of the collections.
There's a strongly autobiographical strain to the fiction in the Tonbridge Library local history collection, be it the nostalgia of "George Sherston" (an alter-ego of Siegfried Sassoon,) or the alienation of Denton Welch, (surely the laureate of Tonbridge & district?)
Despite writing over 100 books, Rupert Croft-Cooke is, perhaps, one of the more obscure writers represented in the collection. He was best known as the thriller writer Leo Bruce, but also wrote novels, poems, short stories, biographies, and non-fiction, (with a subject range from circus life to pub darts!) Oh, and he wrote over 20 volumes of his own autobiography!! The Altar in the Loft is one of these autobiographical volumes.
During the first world war, Croft-Cooke's family moved to Cage Farm on the outskirts of Tonbridge: "Cage Farm lay in the fork two roads out of Tonbridge, one of which climbed Shipbourne Hill and reached the upland wooded villages of Plaxtol and Shipbourne." One of the main reasons for this was to allow Rupert to attend Tonbridge School as a day boy. While he satirises aspects of the regime, his is a largely affectionate portrait of the public school. The book deals with his craze for the ritual of the Anglican High Church. The apex of this obsession comes when he & a small company of acolytes construct an altar in the attic of Cage Farm.
Croft-Cooke's school career is undistinguished but, inspired by two eccentric journalists Douglas Blackburn & Bart Kennedy, he takes on writing as his vocation. Rupert Croft-Cooke was born in Edenbridge, was an antiquarian bookseller in Rochester and a one-time resident of Smarden, but that doesn't begin to tell his intriguing life story. However, i'll spare you the other 20 volumes of his autobiography and recommend that you check out this webpage: http://www.circa-club.com/gallery/gay_history_icons_rupert_croft_cooke_leo_bruce.php
2 September 2009 from Rob Illingworth
- Pangbourne - a love affair with a gorilla
- Out of the Blue by Val Rutt
- The Kent Factor
- Grubby Tales from Beardy Ardagh
- The Men of Kent March On
- The Curse of Aphis Minimus
- One True Crime
- Why Pick Lydden?
- From Maidstone Prison to the Wide Sargasso Sea!
- Dover- Life's a Beach
- The ideal home
- The Tramping Methodist - more tramping in Kent!
- The Small Years by Frank Kendon
- Everyone Loves Rupert Bear!
- On the write tracks in literary Kent - Day 4
- On the write tracks in literary Kent - Day 3
- On the write tracks in literary Kent - Day 2
- On the write tracks in literary Kent Day 1
- On the write tracks in literary Kent
- Penshurst is the Place
- From Country Pursuits to the Western Front
- Edmund Blunden - echoes from Yalding church bells
- Jane Austen walk
- John Knatchbull from Quarterdeck to Gallows
- Catherine Aird
- More from the tramps .....
- Van Gogh in Ramsgate?
- Tissot A Passing Storm c1876
- The Downfall of a Reading Detective
- Male Georgian/Regency authors
- Bluestocking writers
- Sketches By Boz - We must leave town!
- If You're Going to Snodland...
- The Kent Tramp Trail
- The Altar in the Loft
- Regency and Georgian Literature with a Kent Connection
- Jane Austen and Godmersham by The Rev. S. Graham Brade-Birks
- Kent Clues!
- Poetry dropping in Sandwich
- Reading Detectives film
- Out of the Blue - continued
- Denton Welch
- 45 London Road Sevenoaks
- To Penshurst
- Kent Finale!
- Mon 21 Sep 10.30 am DETECTIVE EVENT AT CENTRE FOR KENTISH STUDIES, MAIDSTONE
- Cat Lovers
- W H Davies
- Silence on the home front as my hard drive has died
- Jeffery Farnol
- Denton Welch, a look back to simpler times
- What Jane Austen really looked like !
- Life in the Country: With Quotations by Jane Austen and Silhouettes by Her Nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh
- First Meeting for Kent
- Jane Austen - Monster Mash Up
- Launch of Kent's Reading Detectives Team on 12 August
- Jane Austen Heritage Link
- Reading Detectives are starting soon in Kent
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