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, especially in 2014, the centenary of his birth. 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.
A Turn For The Better
The Society's exhibit at the annual Christmas Tree Festival at St George's Church, Millom, takes as its theme the poem A Turn For The Better, published in The Pot Geranium collection in 1954. It's based on a story which comes from a gospel of James not included in the New Testament. The story, told by Joseph, Jesus' father, describes how, at the moment of Jesus' birth, everything in creation stood still - 'Now I Joseph was walking and I walked not'. Norman pictures Joseph walking between the allotments in Millom and the moment when everything stopped:
Society members Peggy Troll, Dot Richardson and Sue Dawson created the display.Their aim was to express the poem in paper - cut snowflakes, silver, gold and white figures of the people and animals, and the significant quotations on ribbons. The tree stands in a miniature allotment. "We hope we have conveyed something of the poet's intention and his fresh view of the Christian story," said Peggy.
The Festival is open for viewing on designated days from November 30th to December 22nd:
Norman Nicholson Day 2013
'Poet's Body: Health, Creativity and Connectedness' was the theme of our annual Norman Nicholson Day, held at Millom Network Centre on Saturday October 19th. Dr Duncan Darbishire (above, right), a poet and photographer as well as a retired GP, described the impact of TB, the disease which had such an influence on Norman's life. Alan Beattie (above, far left), who has worked in both public health and the performing arts, analysed the influence of Norman's illness on his writing. And Dr Chris Donaldson (pictured with Alan) presented an illuminating study of Nicholson's global network by using online tools to chart his connections worldwide. The talks were followed by study groups which discussed poetry and prose in which Nicholson made reference to his illness. The day also featured screenings of two BBCTV productions from the 1970s - 'The Whispering Poet' (1973), and a shorter feature from 'Look North' (1975). Our thanks to our three speakers and to everyone who attended and all who helped with the organisation and catering.
pictures by John Troll
Radio doubles up for 2014
Two radio documentaries are to be aired on BBC radio as part of next year's centenary celebrations. First up will be a 30-minute documentary made by Somethin' Else Productions and presented by Eric Robson, to be broadcast on Radio 4 in the early part of next year. The production team will be conducting interviews in Millom later this month. Also coming up next year is an hour-long programme to be made by NN Society member Charlie Lambert for BBC Radio Cumbria, tentatively scheduled for August. We'll post exact transmission times here when we have them.
Visit to Nicholson Archive
Members of the Society enjoyed an illuminating visit to the Norman Nicholson Archive at the John Rylands Library in Manchester. Among the documents displayed by librarian Fran Baker were Norman's birth certificate, correspondence between Norman and T S Eliot and Philip Larkin, and not least a photograph of Norman at the British Gas showroom in Millom which also depicted Dot Richardson, who was among the group visiting the archive today.
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.
Centenary events 2014
*Events marked with an asterisk are organised by the Norman Nicholson Society. This website publishes details of events promoted by other organisations in good faith but cannot accept responsibility should any details be inaccurate. If you know of any events which would interest members of the Society please let us know via the Contact Form. Click here to find it.
St George's Church, Millom
Norman Nicholson is buried in the churchyard of St George's, Millom. In 2000 a memorial window created by Christine Boyce was installed. The window depicts various scenes and themes from Norman's writings. An explanation can be found on the Cleo website (Cumbria and Lancashire Education Online).
photo copyright Millom Parochial Church Council
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!'
Millom Discovery Centre
NICHOLSON EXHIBITION: The refurbished Millom Discovery Centre contains a collection of artefacts, documents and memorabilia connected with Norman Nicholson. Click here for more on the Discovery Centre and here for a slideshow of the NN display.
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