|A great teacher and a literary
HAMPSTEAD played a remarkable role in the life of writer John
Fowles, author of bestselling novels The French Lieutenants
Woman and The Collector, who died on Saturday at his beloved Lyme
Regis in Dorset, aged 79.
Novelist John Fowles
It was to Hampstead that he came first in 1954 to make love
to his abiding muse, Elizabeth Christy, and to remain with her after
she deserted her husband and daughter to be with him.
And it was in Hampstead that he wrote his two best-known novels,
both of which were filmed, while teaching English to foreign students
at St Godrics College in Arkwright Road, Hampstead.
He described it as a seedy, mediocre institution, where
after nine years as head of the English department he earned just
£1,445 a year. It closed in 1993.
He and Elizabeth lived nearby in Prince Arthur Road before moving
to Frognal, then on to Church Row, where he used a rooftop telescope
to spy on his neighbours.
He recalled in his diaries: Happy times on a Sunday lunch,
steak, wine, raspberries, sunlight and the Schubert great ninth
on the wireless; the trees alight with green flames, the buildings
soft slate-blue, spring and spring-music. We made love most of the
afternoon, in the warm sunlight, crisscross shadows across our baked
He and Eizabeth wandered hand in hand on the Heath on chilly evenings
the trees dancing, St Elmos fire, with green
shoots... willow warblers sung liquidly from each small copse
and ended up either in Jack Straws Castle or the Everyman
And from there they lived in Hampstead High Street before buying
a peasants cottage in Southwood Lane, Highgate,
then, with the dollars earned from his early success, he headed
off to Dorset.
The French Lieutenants Woman, created, literally, out of a
dream, fixed his name in the literary firmament, but it was The
Collector, his first novel published in 1963, that brought about
his instant recognition and fame.
It was the story of a butterfly collector called Clegg who ended
up imprisoning in his basement a young woman he abducted on the
steps of Hampstead Town Hall. Samantha Eggar and Terence Stamp took
the star roles in the William Wyler movie.
Sir John Loveridge, former principal of St Godrics, still
lives in Hampstead, and remembers the young Fowles well.
He gave me a copy of that first novel, The Collector, and
I still have it, he said. We were delighted at his success
when he was at St Godrics. He was a good head of department.
And a great teacher.
He was in fact a man touched with true literary genius.
Cava out a chunk of bubbly market
CHAMPAGNE, its the wine of the elite. Its reputation built on
its special cuvees (blends) created for a French emperor and a Russian
Let's teach our kids a bit of respect
IVE been surrounded by fighting talk this week. Purely on a professional
level of course...