Book reviews: Time and Tide



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Time and Tide was a British weekly political and literary review magazine founded by Margaret, Lady Rhondda in 1920. It started out as a supporter of left wing and feminist causes, but later moved towards the right along with the views of its owner. The first editor was Helen Archdale, but Lady Rhondda took over herself as editor in 1926 and remained in that post until her death in 1958. It always supported and published literary talent. The magazine never sold well (it was heavily subsidised by Lady Rhondda), its circulation peaking at 14,000 copies – compared with, say, John o' London's Weekly, another literary/arts magazine, which peaked at 80,000. It became a monthly in 1970 and ceased publication in 1979. It was briefly resurrected as a quarterly between1984 and 1986.


Interestingly, for a few years in the early 1950s the magazine's literary editor was the poet John Betjeman. This was during a period when Betjeman undertook a variety of jobs to bring in much-needed money. In addition to the Time and Tide work he acted as hack reviewer, editor and jobbing journalist; as film critic for the Evening Standard; at the Daily Express writing the ‘Man about the House’ column; editor of the Shell Guides to the English counties; and of the quarterly magazine Decoration.


It was Betjeman who first thought of approaching HW as a reviewer for Time and Tide, as this letter indicates:


reviews tidea


reviews tideb




There are three HW reviews for Time and Tide for which we have no information about the books reviewed; there is no record of them in the archive. The reviews are listed in Matthews' Henry Williamson: A Bibliography, but regrettably he only gives the heading of the review and how many books were covered; he omits the titles. These are:


18 August 1956 – review headed 'Country matters'. Five books are reviewed according to Matthews. One of them may have been J. Wentworth Day's They Walk the Wild Places (Blandford), which was published that year.


2 November 1957 – review headed 'The life around us'. Two books are reviewed.


21 November 1957 – review headed 'Loving observation'. Two books are reviewed.


There are also two other titles for which we don't have a copy of the review, as mentioned below.



ACWORTH, Bernard: Bird and Butterfly Mysteries (Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1955)

ARMSTRONG, Edward A.: The Folklore of Birds: An Enquiry into the Origin & Distribution of some Magico-Religious Traditions (Collins, 1958)

BRISTOWE, William S.: The World of Spiders (Collins, 1958) (reviewed on 15 November 1958; no copy of the review available)

BROMFIELD, Louis: From My Experience: The Pleasures and Miseries of Life on a Farm (Cassell, 1956)

CAMERON, James: 1914 (Cassell, 1959)

GAMMON, Clive: Hook, Line and Spinner (Heinemann, 1959)

LOCKLEY, R. M.: The Seals and the Curragh (Dent, 1955)

LYNN-ALLEN, Esmond and A. W. P. Robertson: A Partridge Year (Geoffrey Bles, 1956)

MEYNELL, Laurence: Exmoor (Robert Hale, 1953)

NICHOLL, A. M. C.: Fifty Years of Birdwatching (John Murray, 1955)

NOAKES, Aubrey: Sportsmen in a Landscape (The Bodley Head, 1954)

REID, Leslie H.: Earth’s Company (John Murray, 1958) (reviewed on 22 March 1958; no copy of the review available)

RUSSELL, Sir John: The Land Called Me: An Autobiography (Allen & Unwin, 1956)

SENET, André: Man in Search of Ancestors (Allen & Unwin, 1955)

STEVENS, Ronald: The Taming of Ghengis (Faber, 1956)

STUART, Frank: A Seal’s World (Harrap, 1955)

TAVERNER, Eric and W. Barrington Browne: The Running of the Salmon (Geoffrey Bles, 1955)

WHITLOCK, Ralph: Rare and Extinct Birds of Britain (Phoenix House, 1953)

WILSON, Erle: Minado the Devil Dog (André Deutsch, 1955)

WOLFF, Leon: In Flanders Fields (Longman, 1959)




2 May 1953


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reviews tide1b


reviews tide1c


reviews tide1d


reviews tide1e           reviews tide1f



This review copy was given to HW's son Richard on his 22nd birthday, some five years after it was published:


reviews tide1g



23 October 1954


reviews tide2



8 January 1955


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reviews tide3b


reviews tide3c


reviews tide3d


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reviews tide3f


reviews tide3g



3 December 1955


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9 June 1956


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3 November 1956


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17 November 1956


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reviews tide8b


reviews tide8c           reviews tide8d


This review copy was given to HW's son Richard for Christmas that same year:


reviews tide8f


Richard, having been in the RAF on his National Service, had signed up for a further five years and was stationed at that time at RAF Cape Greco, a radar station, in Cyprus. Perdix and Pertrisel were partridges in HW's The Phasian Bird, published in 1948; it is Richard's favourite of all his father's books.



reviews tide8g


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6 December 1958


reviews tide13a




reviews tide13b


HW gave this review copy to his son Richard for Christmas:


reviews tide13c



21 March 1959


HW's review of Leon Wolff's In Flanders Fields was substantially longer that his review of the same book in the Aylesford Review, being spread over three three-column pages. For ease of reading, the review is presented here in sets of two columns. Taken from a photocopy, this is the full-page layout:


reviews tide14a


reviews tide14b


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reviews tide14e




reviews ar1


reviews ar1a           reviews ar1b



19 September 1959


reviews tide15a


The phrase 'minute barn' in the review is a typing error, or course – 'barn' should have read 'barb'; odd, because in HW's typescript below the word has been corrected.




reviews tide15b




HW's draft typescript of his review, with manuscript amendments:


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reviews tide15d



24 October 1959


The full-page layout:


reviews tide16a


reviews tide16b


reviews tide16c


reviews tide16d




reviews tide16e


reviews tide16f           reviews tide16g


HW has noted in the front of the book:


reviews tide16h







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