From the Orwell Archive, July 2017

On Friday July 21st, 2017, members of the Orwell Society, in two parties, visited University College London to see part of the Orwell Archive. OS Secretary Neil Smith thanks archivist Gill Furlong for allowing and organising this visit, and thanks her staff who curated each desk display.

Long-time Orwell Society member David Harding took these photographs.


From the Spanish Civil War. The three page document on the centre of the table is Orwell’s Notes on the POUM Militia, written shortly before the Second World War. The large document at the far end of the table is the circular sent to authors by Nancy Cunard which lead to the book Authors Take Sides. Orwell did not participate. The small document by the hand of Richard Blair (in short-sleeved shirt) is the customs declaration for a parcel sent in 1938 to Georges Kopp, still imprisoned in Spain, over a year after the Orwells, George and Eileen, had managed to escape. The Orwells sent him tobacco and chocolate.


Animal Farm. On the table in front of Roger Howe is the two page letter from T S Eliot rejecting Animal Farm, and a first edition of Animal Farm (in a second edition dust-jacket).


The Road to Wigan Pier. Richard Young and the Greens pere et fils study Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier Diary. Each night in Wigan, Sheffield and his other locations Orwell would sit (usually at the lodging house kitchen table) and type up his experiences. The Road to Wigan Pier was written as a series of essays or chapters from the diary, other notes, and other documents such as wage slips later in 1936, after Orwell had returned to his electricity-less cottage in Hertfordshire.


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