Brompton, London, July 2013

An Afternoon with George Borrow, Brompton Cemetery

On 27th July 2013 Borrovians gathered in the sweltering afternoon heat at the Ibis hotel in Lillie Road (named after Lillie Langtree), West Kensington.  Fortunately the Ibis has air conditioning and a proper English pub which serves rather good food.

Members of the George Borrow Society in the George and Dragon,
Ibis Hotel, West Kensington

Over lunch we chatted about George Borrow (what’s new?) and a few members admitted to not yet having read the George Borrow Bulletin for Spring 2013 —shame.  We then made our way to Brompton Cemetery where we were to have “An Afternoon with George Borrow.”

Brompton Cemetery

We were met at the Cemetery Chapel by our friends of the Friends of Brompton Cemetery who welcomed us with a very nice table of refreshments.  Also we met some new members of the Society, friends and Perfrement descendents from Canada, and yet more Borrovians.  After more chat the afternoon commenced with members of the Society reading short passages from George Borrow’s works.  Many members explained the reasons for the choice of passage, and Tim surprised many with a school translation exercise on Borrow.

George Borrow Society members in Brompton Cemetery Chapel

A list of all the readings is given at the bottom of this page, and all of Borrow’s works are freely available and you’re more than welcome to read the passages for yourself.  Also, John Hentges has a number of CD’s full of readings from George Borrow — if you missed Brompton, why not enjoy John’s CD’s instead?

Members of the George Borrow Society at Borrow’s grave

After the readings, just as the weather was breaking, and warm rain began to fall, we made our way to George Borrow’s grave, which the George Borrow Trust maintains.  A wreath was laid in honour of the man who has so wonderfully, through his writings and his life, made the world a more amazing place and filled it with amazing Borrovian friends.

The Readings

Peter Wooderson

The Bible in Spain: an extract from Chapter 11, “The traveller of the night”.

Tim Lannon

 The Bible in Spain: a short passage from Ch. 48 in which Borrow compares Seville Cathedral to Notre Dame de Paris.

 Colm Kerrigan

 Lavengro, Ch. 10, where Borrow and family are welcomed to Clonmel, beginning ‘“Captain,” said our kind host’ down to ‘Anthony of Padua’.

John Hentges

 Lavengro, Ch. 31, pp. 192–5 ‘A strange kind of bridge it was…’ to end of chapter.

 Norette Moore

 The Romany Rye, Ch. 22 ‘Literary Tea Party — Poor Byron’.

 Trish Gurney

 Wild Wales, Chs. 27–8, from ‘In the afternoon I again passed over into Anglesey’ to ‘a figure exactly like his own seated comfortably in a third-class carriage’.

 David Price

 ‘Borrow on railways’ - brief passages from:

The Romany Rye, Ch. 6, ‘People are becoming vastly sharp’

The Romany Rye, Appendix, Ch. 4, ‘The beau-ideal with those of the lower classes, with peasants and mechanics, is some flourishing railroad contractor…’

Wild Wales, Ch. 27, ‘But since Telford’s another bridge has been built over the Menai’

Wild Wales, Ch. 2, ‘So our little family, consisting of myself, my wife Mary, and my daughter Henrietta…’ ‘At ten o’clock next morning we left the capital of the meads’.

Ann Ridler

 Borrow on Richard III.

Celtic Bards, Chiefs and Kings, p. 122, ‘Troublous rimes, strange times’ to ‘Shakespear and Cibber’s play’.

pp. 138–9, ‘The two armies met at Bosworth Field’ to ‘Woe, woe, eternal infamy and woe to those who sell their master’.

 Borrow on the young Henry VIII.

Celtic Bards, Chiefs and Kings, pp. 161-167, selected passages.