Sunday, 4 March 2018

The Independent Labour Party, Harold Monro & Arthur Romney Green

There were numerous lectures at the Independent Labour Party, Haslemere on Kings Road, held in Arthur Romney Green's workshop and showroom.  In addition to the Ramsay MacDonald and Joe St  Loe Strachey, chaired by the Lord Bishop of Dorking written in a previous post here, there is a record of Harold Monro giving a lecture.

Monro (1879-1932), see Wikipedia here, was a poet and proprietor of the Poetry Bookshop, an influential shop that sold and published poetry in Bloomsbury, London.

Harold Monro and the Poetry Workshop (Grant, Joy, University of California Press, 1967)

In Harold Monro and the Poetry Workshop (Grant, Joy, University of California Press, 1967), online here, Grant writes:

"Through James Guthrie, Monro came into contact with the community of weavers, embroiderers and other craftsmen who inhabited Haslemere at that time, and were trying to conduct their lives on the principles of Ruskin and Morris.  He was especially friendly with Romney Green, the designer and carpenter, who made superb tables and chairs out of ponderous baulks of oak, and who later supplied the furniture for the Poetry Bookshop.  ‘This rugged, fiery, somewhat intractable yet generous creature’, Arundel del Re writes, ‘loathed all forms of aestheticism and literary cant.’  He believed, with Whitman, that art was for the regeneration of man.

"There were thus kindred souls of progressive outlook near at hand, and we hear of Monro going to Haslemere to lecture to the Independent Labour Party there.  

"…The interior (of the Poetry Bookshop) fulfilled the promise of the outside.  Monro called in Romney Green to provide bookshelves, tables and settles in his characteristic style – massive but finely proportioned furniture hewn from great baulks of oak.  It added to the homeliness of the  shop and with its flavour of rus in urbe suggested the character of the proprietor."

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