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Scottish Republican

Joined: 11 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:53 pm    Post subject: HOWARD SPRING Reply with quote

Saw this on a list elsewhere... Seems to have been involved quite a bit in Cornish life.

HOWARD SPRING (1889 - 1965)
By Alan Stewart

Howard Spring was born in Cardiff in 1889, the son of a jobbing gardener from County Cork. Howard's father died when he was still at school leaving his mother to bring him and eight other children up on her own in an overcrowded two bedroomed house. His mother took in washing to help make ends meet. The children meanwhile resorted to selling firewood and rhubarb.

Howard had also taken a Saturday job working 16 hours in a greengrocers. And when he left school - when he was only 12 - he was first an errand boy in a butcher's shop and then an office boy in a chartered accountants in the Cardiff docks area.

From there he moved on to become a messenger boy at the South Wales Daily News. He taught himself shorthand and was attending night school; so in due course he was well placed to become a reporter himself.

He reported for the Daily News itself for nine years before transferring to the Yorkshire Observer' in Bradford and in turn, to the 'Manchester Guardian'. Amongst his assignment was a stint in Ireland where he witnessed the fall of the Four Courts and the bombardment of the rebel's H.Q. in Sackville Street.

In 1931, after a meeting with Lord Beaverbrook, he was made Chief Book Reviewer for the Evening Standard.' It was a prestigious post. Till recently the incumbent had been none other than J.B. Priestley.

From 1934 however Spring was increasingly turning his hand to writing fiction. That year his first adult novel, 'Shabby Tiger' appeared. Others followed. But it was with 'Fame is the Spur' in 1940 that he won critical acclaim and really made his mark.

This novel is set against the backdrop of a labour movement growing in strength from the mid 19th century onwards.

The main character, Homer Radshaw, is brought up in "Ancoats", a poor working class area of Manchester. He want to change society and becomes active politically. Initially a firebrand, he ends up a career politician and - eventually - a Lord as he is absorbed into the very class, the ruling class, he had initially set out to fight.

Judging by the way the novel is written Spring is clearly sympathetic to those friends and associates of Radshaw who - unlike Radshaw himself - remain faithful to the socialist cause. Spring also allows real historical characters, such as Keir Hardie, to appear in the novel. Plus he writes eloquently in 'Fame is the Spur' of hardship in mining communities and he covers also the contemporaneous rise of the women's suffragette movement.

All in all, it is a powerful and impressive novel. In 1947 it was turned into a film. Michael Redgrave played Homer Radshaw.

Now financially secure, Spring was able to move to Cornwall with his wife, Marion. Initially they live in Mylor but then relocated to Falmouth, buying 'White Cottage' in Fenwick Road.

Spring continued to write, including turning out three volumes of autobiography. And he became a pillar of Cornish cultural life - serving as President of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society, Director of the Falmouth School of Art and President of the Cornish Drama League.

In failing health, Spring died from a stroke in May 1965.

In 1982 'Fame is the Spur' was made into a T.V. series. This time Tim Pigott-Smith was in the lead role.

Scottish not "British"
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 An Gof and Flamank were executed on 27th June 1497 and suffered the traitor's fate of being hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn. Audley was beheaded on the 28th June at Tower Hill. Their heads were displayed on pike-staffs ("gibbeted") on London Bridge. An Gof is recorded to have said before his execution that he should have "a name perpetual and a fame permanent and immortal". Thomas Flamank was quoted as saying "Speak the truth and only then can you be free of your chains".  

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