Full line-up, venues and times are HERE.
In conjunction with the University of Cumbria Dept of English
Entries accompanied by the Society's 'comet' logo are organised by the Society. Information about events organised by others are published in good faith but the Society cannot be held responsible for any errors or changes to such information.
NORMAN NICHOLSON AND THE WEEDS AND FLORA OF WEST CUMBRIA
Wed May 17th 2023 6pm-7.30pm
An online event
Our committee member and editor of 'Comet' Antoinette Fawcett and Rebecca Slack of Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre presented an online event exploring Nicholson's fascination with the natural and industrial landscapes of his native region, particularly around the iron ore mines of Hodbarrow and Millom ironworks. Hosted by Cumbria Arts & Culture Network and chaired by Tom Speight. This was part of the 'Deep Time' project.
UNVEILING THE NICHOLSON BUST
Wed April 26th 2023 1200
A short ceremony was led by Cllr Simone Faulkner, Deputy Mayor of Millom, to mark the relocation of the bust of Nicholson by Joan Palmer from the previous library building to the new rooms at Millom Community Hub LA18 4AB.
Sat March 25th 2023 11am
An online event via Zoom
Sunday January 8th 2023, 2pm-4pm. Millom.
Marking Norman Nicholson's 109th birthday.
We gathered in Norman's lifetime home and enjoyed a series of readings of Nicholson's poems, chosen because they still hit the spot today, whether on the subject of war in Europe, climate change, or living with difficult circumstances. After the first few readings - which included an audio recording of Nicholson himself reading The Whisperer - we made our way to St George's Church where the rest of the event took place, followed by refreshments, a birthday cake, and a special song in honour of Norman composed and sung by Antoinette Fawcett. Our thanks to Rev Carl Carter for permission to meet at St George's.
We were pleased to offer a 'hybrid' option for this event and were delighted to welcome attendees from around the UK and beyond.
Saturday December 17th 2022
Our annual Christmas lunch was held at the Netherwood Hotel, Grange-over-Sands, open to all members and their partners/family members.
CELEBRATING A LOCAL HABITATION
Saturday November 26th 2022, 2pm-3.30pm
Online, using Zoom
An afternoon of readings and discussion to continue our events to mark the 50th anniversary of Nicholson's 1972 collection, introduced by Antoinette Fawcett and led by our committee members Jack Threlfall Hartley and Laura Day. We were delighted to welcome attendees from across the UK and beyond. The event focused on five poems: The Borehole, Windscale, The Elm Decline, An Absence of Islands, and Boo to a Goose.
POP-UP EXHIBITION: A FACE, A PLACE, A ROOT
Sat Sept 17th 2022, Millom 11am-4pm
A one-off exhibition in Norman Nicholson's old home to coincide with National Heritage Week and mark the 50th anniversary of his collection 'A Local Habitation'. This gave visitors the chance to see many of Nicholson's possessions which are not generally on view to the public, as well as setting foot inside his lifelong home and hearing audio recordings of Norman reading his own poems in the place where he wrote them.
ONLINE EVENT - AN EVENING WITH RUTH SUTTON
Wed July 27th 2022 7.30-8.30pm
The Norman Nicholson Society was delighted to organise 'An Evening with Ruth Sutton', held online via Zoom on Wednesday July 27th 2022. Ruth Sutton is one of Cumbria's most successful contemporary novelists, having published two series of novels set in West Cumbria since 2012. She is now turning her talents to drama. Her debut play, 'The Day the Ironworks Closed', set at the time Millom ironworks shut down in 1968 with such devastating consequences for the town, will be premiered at the Beggar's Theatre on November 4th and 5th 2022. Ruth joined us on Zoom to talk about the play and how it reflects the legacy of Norman Nicholson, and also to answer a range of questions about her novels and her writing career in general.
A video recording of the event is available on our YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/g5Uq1v0O-D8
SPRING EVENT - GEO WEEK CUMBRIA 2022
Saturday May 14th 2022
As part of Cumbria GeoWeek, Saturday Morning Geology was a walk and talk led by Brian Whalley of the University of Sheffield and the Norman Nicholson Society. It included a walk around central Millom to look at the geology in and around the town.
In the afternoon Antoinette Fawcett, Glenn Lang and Brian Whalley led a talk and discussion about ‘A Local Habitation’, Nicholson’s 1972 volume that includes poems linking geology and Millom (Great Day, The Borehole, Bee Orchid at Hodbarrow, Scree, Hodbarrow Flooded, On the Closing of Millom Ironworks etc).
This took place at St George's Church. We are grateful to the Rev Carl Carver for permission to meet in the church.
Saturday April 23rd 2022
1100 by Zoom
The Society's AGM took place on Saturday April 23rd 2022 at 11am, using the Zoom platform. Over the past 12 months our membership has increased and we are in a sound position financially. Society members can find detailed reports from our officers in the Members' Area on this website. If you're a member and you haven't yet registered for this area, the details are HERE.
Four committee members whose three-year terms had expired were re-elected: Antoinette Fawcett, Charlie Lambert, Glenn Lang and Sue Dawson. Our thanks to all members who attended and especially to Laura Day who presented a superbly researched and constructed talk on Nicholson's 1948 collection Rock Face after the formalities were over.
Saturday January 8th 2022
1200 by Zoom
We celebrated the birthday of Norman Nicholson (1914-1987) at a special Zoom Event on Saturday January 8th.
There were a selection of readings from Nicholson’s work, one for every month of the year, and an update on our plans for 2022.
Saturday December 18 2021
1230 for 1pm
Netherwood Hotel, Grange-over-Sands
Our annual Christmas get-together!
Wednesday November 3* 2021
Online event via Zoom
A Poetry Landmark: Reading Norman Nicholson's 'To the River Duddon'. A seminar led by Dr Antoinette Fawcett.
Antoinette Fawcett led an informative and much-appreciated online seminar discussing Nicholson's poem 'To the River Duddon', as the Society's autumn event for 2021. The poem, which was published in 1944 in Nicholson's first collection Five Rivers, gave Antoinette plenty to discuss, from the geographical significance of the Duddon, to textual changes in the poem over the decades, to the differing viewpoints of Nicholson and Wordsworth. Among the attendees we were delighted to see two speakers from the Norman Nicholson Festival, the poet Ken Cockburn and Dr Andrew Frayn of Edinburgh Napier University, as well as attendees from the USA and Australia, students from the University of Cumbria, and our own members from across the country.
September 22 2021
'Sea to the West - Nicholson's Past and Present'
A lecture by Laura Day, MA student at the University of Durham and a member of the Norman Nicholson Society committee, exploring how the poems in this 1981 collection address issues which resonated with Nicholson throughout his adult life. This was part of the university's Late Summer Lecture Series.
June 10 - Sept 12 2021
'Still Glides the Stream' - Wordsworth's Journey Down The River Duddon.
Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere
An exhibition (held over from 2020) to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Wordsworth's birth and the 200th anniversary of the Duddon Sonnets.
Featuring a collaboration with the Norman Nicholson Society.
Details at https://wordsworth.org.uk/
Saturday June 26 / Sunday June 27 2021
Norman Nicholson Festival
The Society's second biennial two-day festival was a resounding success. Taking place on Zoom because of continuing risks posed by the Covid pandemic, the festival attracted attendees from all over the UK as well as the USA, Canada, India and New Zealand.
The opening session on Saturday afternoon featured the Scottish poet Ken Cockburn and Jeff Cowton, Curator and Head of Learning at Wordsworth Grasmere. Between the two talks, our chair Charlie Lambert gave an update on the Norman Nicholson's Millom trails app (Android users click HERE for Google Play. iPhone users click HERE for the Apple Store).
Saturday evening consisted of a delightful evening of poetry, as 14 poets who contributed to our recent anthology The Unpredicted Spring came together via Zoom to read and discuss their work. On Sunday we enjoyed talks by two of the Society's younger members - Laura Day, who is studying for her PhD at Durham University, and Jack Threlfall Hartley who is working towards his PhD at Oxford University. Charlie Lambert unveiled the Norman Nicholson Audio Archive. The festival concluded with an appreciation of the two days by Kathleen Jones, vice-president of the Society and Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund.
All events were free but attendees were invited to make a donation to the Nicholson House Project. This raised a very impressive £594 through our GoFundMe campaign - thank you to everyone who contributed.
Our thanks also go to Millom Town Council and Millom CGP Trust for supporting the festival financially.
Saturday April 24 2021
AGM and talk by Dr Penny Bradshaw, Head of English at the University of Cumbria
Laura Day and Jack Threlfall Hartley were elected to the committee. Our treasurer Brian Charnley was re-elected for another three years. Brian Whalley was confirmed as a committee member having been co-opted in 2019. Members also approved Brian's appointment as Membership Secretary, and Janice Brockbank's appointment to the role of Secretary was likewise approved. Dot Richardson and Chris Donaldson stepped down from the committee at this AGM. We thank them for their hard work on behalf of the Society.
Friday January 8th 2021
Norman Nicholson Birthday Celebration
The Society held its first virtual event when committee member Brian Whalley hosted a gathering on Zoom to mark Norman Nicholson's birthday. The event featured a reading of three Nicholson poems, Christmas Carol for the First Man in the Moon, read by Antoinette Fawcett, Winter Song, read by Charlie Lambert, and The Unpredicted Spring, read by Kathleen Jones. Christmas Carol for the First Man in the Moon has never been published in book form and was recently uncovered by Antoinette who published it in the latest edition of Comet. Kathleen gave an update on the book of poems from our Lockdown Poetry Competition which the Society is publishing, taking as its title The Unpredicted Spring. She then read the two winning poems, Learning Whimbrel by Martyn Halsall, and Silently Ignoring the World by Katie Deutsch.
Saturday March 28th
AGM of the Norman Nicholson Society
at Haverigg Primary School, 2 Atkinson Street, Haverigg, LA18 4HA, by kind permission of Mrs M Narongchai, Head Teacher. - CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS.
Wednesday January 8th 2020
'Where your verse lives rooted like a tree'
Poetry-reading event at 14 St George's Terrace to celebrate Nicholson's 106th birthday. We marked the date with a series of readings in different rooms of his lifelong home - and on the pavement outside. We also heard audio recordings of Norman reading his poems 'Scafell Pike', 'Weeds', and 'The Pot Geranium'. It was quite an experience to hear his words - prose as well as poetry - coming to life through a variety of voices in his own environment.
photos: JANICE BROCKBANK and CHARLIE LAMBERT
The Society took part in the annual Christmas Tree Festival in St George's Church. The theme was 'Home and Away' so we seized the opportunity to focus on the popularity of Nicholson's work in other countries and in other languages. The decorations represented five different languages that Norman's work was translated into: Welsh, Dutch, Danish, Italian and Russian. There were other languages but we focused on these five. Christmas greetings were written in the five different languages and included on the tree.
Saturday December 14th
Christmas Lunch 2019
Our annual festive celebration for members of the Society at the Netherwood Hotel.
pics by PHIL HOUGHTON
Thursday November 7th
Open Day, Millom
Our Open Day at 14 St George's Terrace was a big success. Attendance exceeded expectations, and it was great to see the house buzzing with interested visitors who included one gentleman who travelled specially from Carlisle, a couple who booked overnight accommodation in Millom in order to attend, and youngsters from Haverigg Primary School. Very positive responses all round, and some fascinating insights. Thank you to all who came.
Saturday October 19th 2019
Visit to Cumbria Archive Centre and Carlisle Cathedral.
Morning session at Carlisle/Cumbria Archive Centre to meet Christine Boyce and view her archive. Christine is the designer of the Nicholson memorial window in St George's Church, Millom. Afternoon session at Carlisle Cathedral for a guided tour, followed by access to the Prior's Room, a medieval room not normally open to the public. We discussed a number of Nicholson's poems, led by Helen and David Weston of the Cathedral Poetry Group, and Martyn Halsall, former Poet in Residence at the Cathedral.
Sat/Sun June 29th/30th 2019
Norman Nicholson Festival
Click HERE for report and pictures
Sat April 13th 2019
'Cumberland and Westmorland' and our AGM, Millom
The Society's AGM took place at the Baptist Church meeting room, Crown Street, Millom. Minutes will be available to members in due course. The meeting was followed by a session open to all, featuring a talk by the poet Phil Houghton to mark the 70th anniversary of Nicholson's prose work Cumberland and Westmorland, and a presentation by Max Long, Cambridge University PhD student, who has studied Nicholson's topographical notebooks.
Sat December 8th, Christmas Lunch 2018.
Netherwood Hotel, Grange over Sands
We enjoyed a lovely get-together to celebrate Christmas and the endof another busy year for the Society. The staff at the Netherwood Hotel looked after us impeccably, as usual.
Sat Oct 20th 2018
Autumn Event: Josefina de Vasconcellos (1904-2005)
Venue: Haverigg School, Atkinson Street, Haverigg LA18 4HA
An opportunity to find out about the sculptor and her friendship with Norman Nicholson. Josefina's work included a bust of Nicholson and the striking 'Escape to Light' work which is located at Haverigg.
Programme comprised talk and Q&A by Shawn Williamson, sculptor and former pupil of Josefina. Talk by Chris Powell, former Warden of the Harriet Boat. Walk to Haverigg beach to see 'Escape to Light,' Josefina's last sculpture. Reading and discussion of four of Nicholson's poems reflecting his interest in rock, geology and sculpture, led by Antoinette Fawcett.
Friday Sept 28th, Saturday Sept 29th 2018
When Percy met Norman
The Settlement at Castle Hill
Maryport CA15 6BQ
A two-day festival celebrating the meeting 59 years ago of Norman Nicholson and the Maryport artist Percy Kelly. Talks, readings, workshops and exhibitions inspired by the art and poetry of the 'Cumbrian Brothers'.
Organised by the Maryporters Town Team and the Settlement at Castle Hill.
Sat Sept 15th 2018
Creative Writing Workshop at Cockley Moor, led by poet and biographer Kathleen Jones.
Friday July 27th
'Why is a football reporter from Liverpool nuts about Nicholson?'
A talk by Charlie Lambert, chair of the Norman Nicholson Society and former BBC NW Sports Correspondent.
Organised by Millom Library.
The Closing of Millom Ironworks
Saturday July 7th 2018
Summer Event: The Closing of Millom Ironworks
Millom Methodist Church
We marked the 50th anniversary of the ironworks closure, an event which features significantly in Nicholson's poetry. Local writer Bill Myers gave a fascinating and informative talk which traced the reasons for the closure of the works. Bill also went back through the decades to describe the original establishing of the works and the way thousands of families moved to Millom for the new jobs from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Midlands, Devon and Cornwall. After lunch Bill led a walk to the Ironworks site while Antoinette Fawcett facilitated a creative writing exercise for those who preferred not to walk. The event ended with the reading and discussion of three of Nicholson's poems inspired by the closure of 1968: 'Glen Orchy', 'On the Closing of Millom Ironworks', and 'On the Dismantling of Millom Ironworks'. Our thanks to Bill, to the Methodist Church, and to all who attended.
Saturday April 14th 2018
Millom Cricket Club
The Society's AGM was held at Millom Cricket Club. The chair, Charlie Lambert, welcomed members and described the past 12 months as a year of interest, expansion and no little excitement, recalling among other highlights the Society's appearance on 'Songs of Praise,' the commemoration of Nicholson's death 30 years ago, our Lottery grant of £9,900, our visit to Blencathra Field Studies Centre and a second visit to Millom by students from Nottingham University. Charlie paid tribute to Peggy Troll and Janice Savage who passed away over the year, and also to Alan Thomson who, while not a member, was a keen supporter of our events. In the case of Peggy, whose loss is still deeply felt by all of us, Charlie expressed his personal gratitude for Peggy's inspirational support and encouragement.
Dr Chris Donaldson, in absentia, was confirmed as a member of the committee, having been co-opted earlier in the year. Full minutes of the AGM will be circulated to members in due course.
The event included lunch, a boundary walk of the cricket field led by local historian Marshall Mossop, and a talk by Charlie Lambert, inspired by Nicholson's enthusiasm for the sport, entitled Nostalgia is the besetting sin of many who write about cricket.
Wed April 4th 2018
Dalton Local History Society's annual Phillipson Lecture.
Dr Antoinette Fawcett spoke about Norman Nicholson at
St.Mary`s Church Centre, Market Place, Dalton-in-Furness.
The enthusiastically-received lecture, named in honour of the Society's former Chair, John Phillipson, was entitled: 'Norman Nicholson - A Regional Poet?' and presented some of the research Antoinette 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.
Christmas Tree Festival
Saturday Dec 9th 2017 (continuing until Jan 3rd)
Millom Christmas Tree Festival, St George's Church, Millom
Christmas lunch 2017
Sat Dec 2nd
The Netherwood Hotel, Grange over Sands.
Our third annual Christmas lunch was another thoroughly enjoyable occasion, as members gathered at the Netherwood Hotel in Grange-over Sands. Once again the hotel looked after us splendidly, reserving a lounge for our exclusive use before and after the meal, while the lunch itself was served with a wonderful view of Morecambe Bay among the trimmings.
Norman Nicholson's Vision