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 Silecroft shore
NN lines from 'Comet Come' (1986)
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.
Read an appreciation of Norman Nicholson by Fran Baker, archivist, the John Rylands University of Manchester Library, HERE.
Most frequently-asked question: Where can I get hold of Nicholson's work? Try Faber & Faber HERE or Amazon HERE.
Or click HERE for links to Nicholson's poems online.
NEWS, DISCUSSION AND CHAT
New data protection legislation, known as GDPR, came into force today. The Society's revised data protection policy can be seen here.
Who gives this woman?
Discussion in the media about whether Meghan Markle would be given away by her father at the Royal wedding tomorrow brings to mind Norman Nicholson's poem 'Epithalamium for a Niece' (Collected Poems, 429-30). As long ago as 1984, Norman queried the idea that a woman needs her father to 'give her away' in this day and age.
'Who gives this woman to this man?'
The parson asks....
....while the air
Waits on the Prayer Book's questionnaire,
Let silence ring its loud reply:
'She gives herself - what can a man ask more?'
The Society's membership secretary Antoinette Fawcett will read this highly topical poem at the AGM of the Alliance of Literary Societies in Birmingham tomorrow.
On May 25th 2018 the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect. This requires all organisations to have a proper policy in place regarding their retaining of the personal data of individuals. The Norman Nicholson Society is committed to correct and legal procedures when handling personal data and has carried out a review of its procedures to ensure it is fully compliant with the legislation ahead of deadline. Personal data is retained solely for the purposes of fulfilling the Society’s obligations to members; it is not retained once any need has lapsed; the data of those who cease to be members is deleted (unless specifically requested otherwise); and anyone who wishes to check what data is held, or to have it deleted, may do so by request to the Membership Secretary. The Society does not share any personal data with third parties.
Neil Curry book launch postponed
Unfortunately the launch of Neil Curry's collection, On Keeping Company With Mrs Woolf, which was to be launched in Carlisle on May 24th at the Cakes and Ale Cafe, has now been postponed. The new date is not yet known. However, Neil will be reading from the collection at the next Poem and a Pint event in Ulverston, on Saturday, 23rd June, at 7.30 pm at the Laurel and Hardy Museum. Full details are on the Poem and a Pint website: http://www.apoemandapint.co.uk/index.htm.
Thank you Fran, and good luck
We are sorry to learn that Fran Baker is moving on from her post as archivist at the John Rylands Library in Manchester, where she has been in charge of the Norman Nicholson collection for many years. Fran has done a wonderful job, organising the Nicholson papers and making them available, and generally promoting Nicholson's work. While we are sad to see her leave, we wish her every success in her new post as from next month, as archivist and librarian at Chatsworth House.
Neil Curry poetry launch
Neil Curry, the Society's vice-president and formerly a long-serving committee member, has produced a new poetry collection, On Keeping Company With Mrs Woolf. The collection will be launched in Carlisle on May 24th, at the Cakes & Ale Cafe, 17-19 Castle Street, Carlisle, CA3 8SY, 7.30pm-9pm. Tickets are £3, including a glass of wine, from Bookends (01228 529067). The collection is published by Shoestring Press, £10.
UPDATE 17/5/18: This book launch has been postponed. No new date has been announced so far.
Mines inspector's report: 'Uncle Jack'
Thanks to Jonathan Powell who conducted us via the contact form. Jonathan has tracked down the official report into the death of Nicholson's uncle, John Nicholson (Uncle Jack), who features in Norman's poetry both for his cricketing ability and his tragic death in Hodbarrow mine. The inspector's report is available at Durham Mining Museum here.
Society's AGM 2018
The Society's AGM took place on Saturday April 14th, kindly hosted by Millom Cricket Club. Minutes will be available in due course but the main points were:
Dr Chris Donaldson was elected to the committee, having been co-opted last autumn. Chris takes over the universities liaison brief from Professor Alan Beattie who retired from the committee last year.
Treasurer's report showed that the Society had received a one-off grant of £9,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund in respect of the Norman Nicholson House project. These funds had been duly spent, in line with the terms of the grant, on a feasibility study led by John Coward Architects of Cartmel.
A proposal that issues of Comet from more than three years ago should be made available on the Society website, to enable the sharing of articles of academic and general interest with the wider community, was passed unanimously.
The formal meeting was followed by lunch. In the afternoon local historian Marshall Mossop gave a presentation about Millom Cricket Club and Nicholson's connections with it, which included a short stint as club secretary in 1938/39. This was followed by a walk around the boundary and the day concluded with a talk about Nicholson's writing on cricket by Charlie Lambert.
Padded up for our AGM
The Society's AGM takes place tomorrow at Millom Cricket Club, a place that was special to Nicholson and features prominently in his work. Registration from 1030am for 11am start. As well as the usual business there will be an update on Project 14, the Society's project to buy and renovate Norman Nicholson's old house; a guided boundary walk by local historian Marshall Mossop; and a talk entitled 'Nostalgia is the besetting sin of many who write about cricket' by the Society's chair and former sports reporter Charlie Lambert. Lunch is provided. Non-members are welcome to join us after lunch for the walk and the talk.
Details of our Summer Event on July 7th, in which we will mark the 50th anniversary of the closing of Millom Ironworks, are now posted on our Events page.
A talk entitled 'Norman Nicholson - A Regional Poet' by Dr Antoinette Fawcett was enthusiastically received by the Dalton Local History Society yesterday. It was the Annual Phillipson Lecture, named in honour of the Society's former Chair, John Phillipson. Antoinette's talk presented some of the research she carried out at the John Rylands Library and the Whitehaven Archive in 2016. The talk showed that Nicholson's work was not only important at a local and regional level, but that it had national and international significance. She explored Nicholson's many links with Scandinavia and Italy and discussed some of the reasons why his work was interesting to readers, writers and translators from these cultures, particularly in the post-war world of the late 1940s and 50s. The talk ended with the remarkable and amusing reaction of the Italian academic Spartaco Gamberini to the publication of Nicholson's 1954 poetry collection The Pot Geranium: 'you are a European poet, free at last from the cosmopolitan provincialism of London'. We like to think that Norman would have roared with laughter at that lovely and pugnacious phrase!
'Countryfile' visits Maryport
The BBC's Countryfile programme is to focus on West Cumbria in its edition of April 15th. They are due to film in Maryport tomorrow where they will visit the Settlement community arts centre and interview Chris Wadsworth about her biography of Norman Nicholson's 'Cumbrian brother' Percy Kelly.
Students experience the
Contact Us / Become a Member
New members of the Norman Nicholson Society are warmly welcomed. Membership fees are £15 per annum or £20 for a couple living at the same address, and £6 youth membership (up to age 25). Please contact us via the Contact page
The Wall Walks the Fell
Who, what and when
Norman Nicholson's Cumbria
Explore 25 top locations with close links to Norman Nicholson on our online map. Click HERE to find it
We're on Facebook and Twitter
Keep in touch and join in the chat. Log onto Facebook and type into the Search box Norman Nicholson Society.
Follow us on Twitter @NNicholsonPoet
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.