Portrait of George Borrow

George Borrow News, 28th February 2021

We’ve realised that our newsletters are a bit too close together at the moment, so instead of a February 2021 newsletter, the next one will be towards the end of March / start of April.  Mike will be emailing members shortly and any contributions gladly received.

If you’re missing being in contact with other members of the Society, remember we have Zoom meetings and also the George Borrow Facebook group.

There’s also some photographs of the George Borrow Bar, at the Swan Hotel, Stafford.  Borrow’s first biographer, William Knapp, thought the Swan Inn was the inn of Romany Rye, chapter 22.

The large American Bookseller Barnes & Noble have brought out an edition of Borrow’s The Mermaid’s ProphecyIt’s fairly certain that this will be their version of the free eBook which you can get from Project Gutenberg, but they have added a cover image.  The short pamphlet was part of a series that Thomas Wise brought out around 1913: each pamphlet was limited to 30 copies so they are very rare and valuable, which is why Wise did it.  The British Library and Norwich Millennium library have complete sets, and Norwich kindly allowed their copies to be used for the Project Gutenberg transcriptions.  Wise wrote a bibliography of this and the other pamphlets.  Ann highly recommended reading In the Original Cloth: The life and record of the forger of nineteenth-century pamphlets (i.e. Thomas Wise) but felt that the Borrow pamphlets were geniune.

The Guardian based an article on George Borrow in their Country diary.  Borrow is forever being mentioned in topographical articles in newspapers etc.

An outbuilding of the George Borrow Hotel in Oulton caught fire this month, the Lowestoft Journal has details, although it sounds like the hotel itself wasn’t affected.

It’s strange what you come across on the Internet when you search for Borrow.  For example, did you know Lake Union Charters, Seattle, USA, have a boat named after one of Borrow’s books?

If anyone is able to find things out, it would be good to know a little more about a 1915 film, The Broken Law, which apparently is based on the writings of George Borrow.  Turner Classic Movies apparently have a copy, but it’s not available in the UK.  The Internet claims characters include a certain Isopel Berner and Ursula, and we know where they come from.

You’ll have to hurry in case it gets sold, but there’s a rather nice illustration of George Borrow watching a gypsy boxing match (drawn by Ralph Bruce) for sale at Illustration Art Gallery.  It was published in Look and Learn, 18 January 1969.

We missed it last year, but Tipperary Studies have a podcast about George Borrow’s time in Clonmel.  They also have a part two.  There seems to be a wealth of images and resources on the website: highly recommended.

Another one we missed (thinking all events had shut down) was an exhibition Picturing Gypsies at the University of Liverpool.  The famous rye John Sampson (who provided an introduction to Borrow’s Romany Rye) worked at Liverpool University and a lot of Romany studies were carried out there, the University still possessing significant collections.