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John’s Book


Some family photographs from the Shallowford era


Henry Williamson and Reginald Pound



Critical reception


Book covers



Critical reception:


I have not found any envelope containing reviews of the first edition of The Children of Shallowford. One has to presume that in the confusion of the beginning of the Second World War and HW’s own intensive work on the farm that autumn they were lost. His diary records that for three weeks from the second week of September he was blasting chalk from the quarry (total 120 tons), which was then spread onto the farm fields, together with a large amount of human manure from London. This was all very hard work. Perhaps he even threw them away in anguish, for at that time Gipsy and the two younger children (John and Margaret were away at school, Windles was now helping on the farm) went off to live with her brother Robin, then living in Bedford. The spirit of the book was broken: killed, at the very time his readers were enjoying in print its seemingly idyllic pastoral happy family scene.


(If anyone knows of any reviews we would be very grateful for copies to post here. For instance Brian Vesey Fitzgerald states in 1959 that he reviewed the first edition – and the Eastern Daily Press review notes that the first edition was rather overlooked due to the outbreak of war.)


There is one review which HW had pasted into the front of his file copy:


children r1 manguard


And one other loose one:


Sunday Independent (Dublin):


children r2 sunind



1959 revised edition reviews:


The Times Literary Supplement:


children r3 tls


Evening News:


children r4 evenews


Time and Tide:


children r5 time


The Field:


children r6 field


Manchester Guardian (Isabel Quigly), 31 July 1959, and reprinted on 6 August 1959:


children r7 manguard


The Spectator (Arthur Boyars), 7 August 1959: mainly reviewing T. H. White’s The Godstone and the Blackymor (Cape, 18s) which seems to be a ‘fantastic’ tale (in the original sense): HW gets mention as rooted in the real world (‘the different and good lives have also led to different and good books’):


children r8 spectator


Birmingham Post (Brian Vesey Fitzgerald), 1 August 1959:


children r9 birmpost


Eastern Daily Press (M.P.), 28 August 1959:


children r10 edp


Western Morning News, 11 September 1959:


children r11 wmn


Fleetwood Chronicle, 24 September 1959:


children r12 fleetwood








Book covers:



The first edition, 1939, with one of Faber's dustwrappers typical of the period:


children 1939cover


children 1939back



1959, Faber, revised edition:


children 1959 front


children 1959 back



1978, Macdonald and Jane's, with new illustrations and an Afterword by Richard Williamson (note the toy wooden Alvis shooting brake on the table – perhaps the original inspiration for Richard's passion for the car and all things Alvis!):


children 1978 front


children 1978 back




Back to The Children of Shallowford main page


John’s Book


Some family photographs from the Shallowford era


Henry Williamson and Reginald Pound








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