Welcome to the website of the Norman Nicholson Society. The site aims to provide information about Nicholson and his work and encourage the study and enjoyment of this remarkable man's writings. Here you will also find information about the NN Society which holds regular events and publishes the newsletter Comet. The Society is based in Millom, on the banks of the River Duddon and in the shadow of Black Combe (pictured), and has a worldwide membership.
New members are warmly welcomed.
Header picture of Black Combe
NN lines from 'Cloud on Black Combe'
Norman Nicholson was born in Millom, Cumbria, in 1914 and lived there until his death in 1987 with the exception of two years in his late teens when he was sent to a sanatorium in Hampshire to recover from tuberculosis - an event which shaped his subsequent life. His writing career lasted from 1930 until his death and embraced plays, poetry, novels, criticism and essays. He is best known for his poetry and was awarded the Queens Medal for Poetry in 1977 and the OBE in 1981.
NEWS, DISCUSSION AND CHAT
Nicholson on Radio 4
Nicholson's poem Beck will be featured in BBC Radio 4's Poetry Please this Sunday (February 7th) at 4.30pm and repeated on Saturday 13th at 11.30pm. The programme will also be available on the BBC i-player for 30 days.
This comes from a request by NN Society member Brian Whalley, a request submitted at the end of 2013.
The stones flow also,
As continental drift
Lifting the latch
Norman Nicholson - Beyond Lakeland
Dr. Antoinette Fawcett, Joint Secretary of the Norman Nicholson Society, has secured a three month Visiting Research Fellowship at the John Rylands Research Institute, University of Manchester, which houses the university's Special Collections. They include the Norman Nicholson Archive and the Norman Nicholson Book Collection, as well as many other literary papers relevant to Nicholson Studies. Antoinette's research project is entitled "NORMAN NICHOLSON – BEYOND LAKELAND: An examination of archival and bibliographical evidence for the translation and reception of Norman Nicholson’s work in non-Anglophone cultures".
She will examine evidence relating to the translation, publication and performance of Nicholson's work in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Italy, and Russia, among other places, with the aim of demonstrating that Nicholson's work in several genres had an impact beyond the Anglophone world.
Arts Council England has designated the Rylands collections, kept in the wonderful neo-Gothic John Rylands Library, as being of outstanding national and international importance.
If anyone has information about the reception of Nicholson's work in other countries, please do get in touch with Antoinette via this website - our Contact form is HERE.
'Shepherd's Carol' inspires our Christmas tree
The Norman Nicholson Society has again decorated a tree for the annual Christmas Tree festival in St George's Church, Millom. The festival is open for viewing from Friday 11th December until Sunday 3rd January 2016.
The times for viewing the festival are: Monday - Thursday 12 noon - 4.00 pm. Friday - Sunday 11.00 am - 4.00 pm.
The theme for the festival this year is 'Christmas Story' and the Society has chosen 'Shepherd's Carol' as the poem to provide the inspiration for decorating their tree. Peggy Troll, Dot Richardson and Sue Dawson have developed a rustic, rural theme for the decorations this year as it was felt that this was the best way to interpret the content of the poem appropriately. Most of the decorations are made from twine, card and twigs.
The three 'practical farmers from back of the dale' can be seen pointing the way to the 'the latest arrival newly born' from the drystone wall at the base of the Nicholson Society's tree. The sheep that are left at the 'bottom of dyke' are Herdwicks, of course! The pub the shepherds head for is based on the Woolpack Inn at Eskdale and there are even some Cumberland sheep counting on labels to continue with the shepherd's theme.
Refreshments are available daily in the church and there are around 40 decorated trees to enjoy during a visit!
A word for the season
"A blunt-sounding word, plain and to the point." Antoinette Fawcett inspects the latest Word of the Month: backend. Click here.
Melvyn on Youtube
The BBC TV documentary 'From Wigton to Westminster' which featured the life and career of the Society's president Melvyn Bragg is now available to watch on Youtube. Here's the link. It was first broadcast in July.
Festive lunch enjoyed by all
Charlie Lambert on BBC Radio Cumbria
Our new chair Charlie Lambert was interviewed on BBC Radio Cumbria on Friday November 20th. Asking the questions was presenter Gordon Swindlehurst, a self-confessed Nicholson enthusiast. The chat aired during Gordon's lunchtime show. You can hear the interview on our Soundcloud HERE.
The Society's new chair
He said: “Norman Nicholson was an outstanding poet who had the ability to touch the heart and the conscience. His view of the world – whether the world on his doorstep in Millom or the wider universe – was original, perceptive, humorous and heartfelt. Yet he never received due credit from the metropolitan so-called elite. I feel extremely honoured to have become chair of the Society and I will do all I can to promote the works of Nicholson and to further the aims of the Society. I would also like to pay tribute to Ian Davidson for his excellent work on behalf of the Society; we all owe him a debt of gratitude.”
Charlie was born in Windermere and gained a degree in English from Bristol University. He spent 20 years on the staff of the BBC, becoming sports correspondent for the TV programme Northwest Tonight as well as broadcasting regularly on Radio 4 and Radio 5. He is currently senior lecturer in broadcast journalism at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. He lives in Liverpool.
'It's mending worse...'
We were pleased to see that Hilary Mantel selected Nicholson's poem 'Old Man at a Cricket Match' for a Remembrance Weekend feature in Saturday's Guardian. Find it HERE.
More Tales from a Small Town
The Millom Writers group, run by NN Society member Ron Creer, has just had its third collection of work published. It is being launched at Millom Network Centre on November 6th at 2pm. All Society members are welcome to go along.
"A word which would once have been on every Viking’s lips, but which has now shrunk back to the fringes – to Iceland, the Faeroes, and Lakeland." Word of the Month for October by Kathleen Morris - find it here.
Alan and Kay Beattie performed the play The Fell-Whisperers, written by Alan, at the Society's Autumn Event on Saturday. The play contained three dialogues which dramatised Nicholson's relationship with fellow poet Kathleen Raine and the artists Sheila Fell and Percy Kelly. There's a report on our Events page.
posted 12/10/15 pictures by JOHN TROLL
Glamming it up in Manchester
Antoinette Fawcett, secretary of the Norman Nicholson Society, will speak about Nicholson at a meeting of GLAM - Group for Literary Archives and Manuscripts - at the John Rylands Library, University of Manchester, on Thursday October 1st. Fran Baker, custodian of the Nicholson archive held at the Library, will also speak.
Nicholson WILL rock Coventry!
The fund-raising scheme launched to help organise a second performance of Seven Rocks, composed by Harry Whalley for Norman Nicholson’s centenary last year, has hit the target!
Members of the NN Society were among those who backed the campaign which targeted £380 and currently exceeds £420. It means Seven Rocks will be performed by the outstanding Gildas Quartet, as planned, at the INTIME symposium at the University of Coventry on Saturday October 24th.
Harry says that the surplus funds will go towards financing a new composition based on a Nicholson poem.
Nicholson features in travel guide
Norman Nicholson - a Literary Life
Norman Nicholson - a Literary Life by David Boyd, a long-standing member of the Norman Nicholson Society, has just been published by Seascale Press Ltd. It's available by post or as a Kindle download. Full details and order form HERE. As a taster of David's writing, here's a link to an article he wrote for the New York online literary review nycBigCityLit.com. Congratulations to David on completing this highly-anticipated work and good luck with the all-important sales!
From Wigton to Westminster
Melvyn Bragg, the Society's president, was the subject of last night's 75-minute documentary 'From Wigton to Westminster,' on BBC2. The programme, produced by Olivia Liechtenstein, tells the story of Melvyn's life, relationships and work in intriguing and revealing detail. It also includes wonderful archive of Wigton. It's available on Youtube here
posted 19/7/15, updated 23/11/15
Off to study Nicholson in India
The Society has been contacted by an editor from Macmillan Publishing (India) who wants to use the Norman Nicholson poem Off To Outer Space in the Morning in texts for schools in India. We're delighted to hear of this interest in Nicholson's work and hope that Macmillan are successful in obtaining the necessary copyright clearance in order to go ahead.
The Society's Summer Event
Members and friends took part in a day of dry-stone walling and felting linked to discussion of Nicholson's poem 'Wall' on Saturday June 27th. Please visit our Events page for a full report and more pictures.
Nicholson and geology
There's a fascinating and informative article about Nicholson's use of geology in his writing on the website of The Geological Society, written by NN Society member Brian Whalley. Brian includes this quote from Nicholson: "In no other part of England has the life and character of a district and its people been so controlled by the nature of the rock and by the forces which acted upon it."
The article mentions Millom Rock Park which is just outside the town and well worth a visit if you're interested in the geological make-up of the area.
Top photos and poems
The Western Lake District website ran a photography and poetry competitions to celebrate Norman Nicholson's centenary. View the winning entries here
Contact Us / Become a Member
New members of the Norman Nicholson Society are warmly welcomed. Annual subscription is £12, or £18 for couples and £6 youth. Please contact us via the Contact page
Norman Nicholson's Cumbria
We're on Facebook
Keep in touch and join in the chat. Log onto Facebook and type into the Search box Norman Nicholson Society
Inspiring youngsters today
This photographic interpretation of Nicholson's poem 'Windscale' by pupils of Millom School shows how his writing inspires young people today. See more in 'Our Page!'
For previous posts please visit our News Archive.