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Found Pages: The Remarkable Harold Ernest (“Darcy Glinto”) Kelly, 1899–1969.

Sidebar 10: City Mid-Week II


Literary researcher Georgina (Jinny) Colby has done some research for me into the run of City Mid-Week in the British Library.

Here, to begin with, are her concluding reflections:

I have noted that in issue #30 City Mid-Week specifically labels itself “Independent.” I think the broad range of articles testifies to this, although personally if I had to go one way or the other I would put it left-of-centre.

Each issue has a City woman’s page, usually around page five. Many of the articles are written by Mrs Cecil Chesterton, the widow of G.K. Chesterton’s brother, killed in the War. Another regular and very well thought of female journalist is Biddy Montague, who also contributes intermittently to CMW. I found this very interesting, as the articles constantly addressed issues of inequality and women’s rights.

In many ways I thought this was extremely advanced. I mean, if you look at my newspapers the Guardian and the Observer on Sunday, the Women’s supplements are all fashion and make-up and rarely engage with the female reader on a political level, which is extremely disappointing. Titles such as “Woman Can Do what Man Has Done” (Clare Hunter, issue #25) give a clear indication of CMW’s leaning towards equal rights / feminism.

“The Wise Owl Wants to Know” is a regular column in the paper and addresses political issues criticisms of the government. It appears in every issue, apologies if sometimes I have left it out of (c). An entry like the following (# 13, March 2, 1932): seems to me to indicate the paper’s leftwards lean. The Owl wants to know

Whether the news films of the Shanghai fighting are not far and away the best action pictures ever shown, and whether they do not tell us more truth in three minutes than the newspapers have done in three weeks.

What has happened to the real action films taken during the war on the Western Front and why they should not be released.

At times CMW seems to rage against censorship.

The paper often had strong international sympathies, both in political articles and in the very positive review of many books written by international authors, which also suggested it is left-of-centre.

I think yes, the Literary Review section was definitely aimed at City Gents and their wives, but I must stress the diversity of the books reviewed, such as the book by the female Russian author that I mention in my note to issue #34.

I was surprised that I did not come across more of the names you had mentioned to me as possible contributors. Many of the articles are anonymous, but I wrote down the titles of some by names about whom I thought, even though I do not directly recognise them, that research might reveal something interesting.

I also wrote down references to other publications, which again I thought might give an idea of CMW’s literary politics. I noticed an article that was anti the Daily Mail, for example, and there is the obvious affiliation to America’s Time magazine in the regular column (mentioned above). The America’s ‘Time’ articles appear to be fairly political and serious.

Harold Kelly himself did the “City Cameo” columns and the majority of the “Arts After Hours” columns. Only in the last-but-one issue (#45) did he have an article independent of these columns.

In general I found the research fascinating. You are right, advertisements for the women’s tailoring were amazing (I myself wear a lot of vintage clothes). Following that period politically was also very interesting, and I gained a good deal of insight into Anglo-French politics in particular. The one obvious consistency of the page 2 editorials was their anti-French attitude at times.

If the research seems to gain momentum as the issues progress, it is because there is simply a lot more in the later CMW’s with the introduction of the supplements.

A few fun extras to mention are the Banker’s Crossword (I had a go in my break and failed abysmally) and the great classified ads. The rental prices are amazing, and one of them advertises for a business gentleman to join “a refined English family.” The language has an English “properness” to it that has been lost in our desublimated culture today. I love that the paper is left-wing AND has this element.

My conclusion is that it’s a left-of-centre, edgy cultural publication which almost defies categorisation. Yes, it is aimed at the financial market, but that’s what makes the political leaning so interesting, as the Financial Times today is so clearly centre-right. It’s probably because of CMW’s financial image that it can get away with being edgy and gives you this sense of its having influence.

It’s almost like a left-wing paper aimed at those more likely to be aligned on the right, and we simply don’t have that in Britain today, which is why I think the press to some extent has lost its swagger.

A very interesting publication.

August 2008


I asked her to keep an eye open for anything that looked like autobiographical information by Kelly, such as indications that he served in the Great War or spent time in North America. She did not notice anything to that effect, and the items to which Kelly’s name is appended are either his slightly schmaltzy sketches of City-of-London types or his short cultural notices, rather like those in a small-city newspaper, about artistic doings in the City.

An important point about him is clarified, though. On one of the pages that she photocopied for me (Feb. 10, 1932), the staff are listed. J[ohn] R[amage] Jarvie was the Editor, someone else the Manager (i.e., Managing Editor), and Kelly himself is one of eight individuals described as Staff and Weekly Contributors. I would guess that if, as he says in the introduction to his reprinted City Cameos (1952), he and Jarvie founded the paper together, he was also responsible for a number of unsigned or pseudonymous items, such as, maybe, the Wise Owl Asks columns, with its hints of scandals.

I was also interested in the paper’s politics, and wondered whether among its contributors were mavericks like G.K. Chesterton, A.R. Orage (editor of the New English Weekly), the Social Credit theorist C.H. Douglas, Ezra Pound, the pacifist Arthur Ponsonby, and Oswald Mosley before he created what became the British Union of Fascists.

But again there’s seemingly nothing except for a piece by Orage in the last issue.

In its dealings with books, at least literary ones, the paper seems to have been upper-middlebrow—not philistine, but without the modernists getting a look in. Abercrombie, Chesterton, Laurence Housman (A.E.’s brother), and Hugh Walpole belong in that category. Shaw and Wells too. D.H. Lawrence wasn’t modernist in his letters, reviewed here.

To judge from the Wikipedia entry on him, novelist and playwright Lionel Britton, whom Kelly praises at some length, uniquely over his own name, and of whom I had never previously heard, was a genuine, uncompromising maverick who couldn’t fit in successfully anywhere.

The paper was evidently in favour of serious disarmament, and against an arms race. Its bias against France is understandable. The punitive Treaty of Versailles had been essentially driven by a France determined that Germany would never be able to make war on it again, and France, in its exaction of reparations, had dominated the industrial Ruhr Valley. The government of the just elected National Socialists in Germany had not yet bared its fangs internationally.

How scandalous, in Private Eye fashion, was the paper? I simply don’t know enough to see what’s in back of a number of the Wise Owl items and elsewhere. But when it went after really big game in the Sun Life pieces, it blew itself up.

What we have below is only a selection of items. But as the previous City Mid-Week sidebar shows, a lot of the items in each issue are there, as in a small-city newspaper, for their social or entertainment, rather than political or, in this instance, financial interest.

As to what the British pound was worth back then, I have gone to my own “Note 8: Relative worth of currency,” and thence, on the Web, to “How Much Is That Worth Today?” ( I see there that one British pound in 1932 would be worth virtually fifty pounds in 2008, “using the retail price index,” and a hundred and ninety-two pounds “using average earnings.”

Back then a City typist, according to CMW, was likely to be earning an average of three pounds a week, and a quality tailor-made gent’s suit cost two guineas.

These figures can be odd, though.

In her 1933 reminiscences, London’s night-club queen Kate Meyrick, speaking of the early 1920s, recalls things like one customer never spending less than £80 or £100 a night, and someone else distributing tips of £25, and a gambler unfazed by losing (elsewhere) £15,000 in a single night.

According to the same conversion website, a pound in 1920 was the equivalent, depending on how you compute things, of thirty or a hundred-and-forty now.


Here are details about each issue provided by Jinny at my request, namely

(a) titles of the anonymous front-page articles

(b) titles, page numbers, and brief identifying descriptions of every item signed Harold Kelly or HK.

(c) “Op Ed” political items of political interest with respect to indicating the politics of the paper.

(d) Articles by “names” or what look as if they might be by names.

I provide some Notes at the end.

# 1: Dec 9, 1931

(a) “Hitler and the London Banks: Envoy’s Private Meetings”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameos: The Ringer,” 3
The Arts After Hours (HK), 15
TOC H, Midland Music, A Mixed Bag, An Interesting Concerto, City String Players, Scholarly

(c) “Ourselves,” 2

# 2: Dec 16, 1931

(a) “Hidden Income Tax Danger: Building Societies’ Funds”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: Officers All,” 3
The Arts After Hours (HK), 15
Lensbury, Bad Production, Stock Exchange, Delight, Poo-Bah Too, Wilcox Operatic, P.L.A, Two Great Lessons, Bank Triumph, Better Than Cochran, Hearts and Backs

(c) “Thank You,” 2

# 3: Dec 23, 1931

(a) “Spend Money Like Water! : A Banker’s Startling Advice”

(b) Harold Kelly, “A Xmas Cameo: The Top Floor,” 3
The Arts After Hours (HK), 10
The Vital Thing, No Back-Scratching, N.P. Music, Beauty and Vigour, Barclay’s Concert, An Achievement, Sportsmen Actors

(c) “The Parking Scandal”

# 4: Dec 30, 1931

(a) “Trade by Barter is Coming! : How International Schemes Will Work”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Clockman,” 3

(c) “St. Paul’s Rowdies”

(d) The Rt. Rev. Bishop Bury, “The Coming Year,” 12

# 5: Jan 8, 1932

(a) “Liner Trips for Office Staff – Cheap Week-Ends on Famous Ships”

(b) Art and the City (HK)
The Guilds, Demand and Supply, Room for Development

# 6: Jan 13, 1932

(a) “Waste at the Bank Building: Six Million Pounds Locked Up”

(b) Harold Kelly, “ City Cameo: Glory in Mud,” 3

(c) “False Amateurism”

# 7: Jan 20, 1932

(a) “City Of London’s Drying Wells: Famous Buildings Affected”

(b) The Arts After Hours (HK)
Hongkong Bank, A Mixed Bag, G.P.O Gramophone Society, Sir Landon Accompanies, Toc H Tic Tocs, The “Times” Disappoints, Show Ragged, Singing Poor, City’s Eisteddfod

(c) “Unfair Travel Laws”

# 8: Jan 27, 1932

(a) “Post Office Stoppage Threat: Engineers’ Secret Resolutions”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: Old Yarley,” 3
The Arts After Hours (HK)
Insurance Orchestral Success,Wholly Successful,
Tourney and Tattoo, St. Bride’s Competent Acting, Play’s Limitations, “Got Over,” Premature, Midland Operatic

(c) “The Great Menace”
Strongly political op ed. – reparations and war debts question.
There is a real danger that France may make a move towards a re-occupation of the Ruhr, or may otherwise attempt to bring Germany to heel by a show of armed force.
That would mean war. And if France is sure that, though she has not the open support of Britain, she can count at least on a benevolently neutral attitude, she will not hesitate to line the Rhine with bayonets.

# 9: Feb 3, 1932

(a) “City’s [City of London’s] Amazing Crime Record: Thirty Years Since Last Murder”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: In the Doldrums,” 3
The Arts After Hours (HK), 9
This Above All, Rookery Nook, Not a Failure, Midland Operatic Triumph, Good-Looking Chorus, Coming Shows

(c) “The Red East”

# 10: Feb 10, 1932

(a) “What Shanghai Means To You: The Great Eastern Trade Stakes”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: Miss Emma”
The Arts After Hours (HK)
Faultless Technique, Dawn and Coaldust, Good Photography, Dramatic, Bouquets Off Stage, Coming Productions

(c) “Geneva Humbug,” 2

# 11: Feb 17, 1932

(a) “Overhead Garages For the City: Way To End Parking Scandal”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Bell”
The Arts After Hours (HK)
Lloyds Triumphs, With a Swing, “Centel” in the Pirates, Coming Shows

(c) “The Eastern Peril,” 2

# 12: Feb 24, 1932

(a) “City Swindler’s Rich Harvest: Ingenious Fenchurch St. Catch”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: East Comes West,” 9
The Arts After Hours (unsigned)
Post Office Artists, The Wrong River, Brush Courage, Good Complexion, Langham Sketch Club, Cox Dramatic, Polish and Rough-Stuff

(c) ‘Tackling Trade Fraud’, 2

# 13: March 2, 1932

(a) “Drastic Civil Service Cuts: Staff Officials Threat To Government”

(b) Harold Kelly, “ City Cameo: The Traffic Dictator,” 3
The Arts After Hours (HK), 9
Chartered’s Bad Choice, Dithering Dialogue, Good and Bad, What Toc H Knows, Great Acting, Westminster Disappoints, Honours to Orchestra, Customs and Excise, Coming Events

(c) “Japan’s Drubbing,” 2

(d) Mr Jules Menken (Head of the LSE Department of Business Administration) on “Training” 3

# 14: March 9, 1932

(a) “A Dubious City ‘Fun’ Haunt: Peep Show Thrills for the Young”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Gardener”
The Arts After Hours (HK)
Saving the Situation, The Love Interest, Barclays Choral, Unison and Delicacy, Interesting, The Mac Meistersingers, A Superstition, Barclays’ Big Thrill

(c) “An Impudent Plot,” 2

# 15: March 16, 1932

(a) “Amazing Blackmail Attempt: Threatening Letters to the Editor”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Safe Man,” 3
The Arts After Hours (HK)
Too Many Hands, A Difficult Role, Gresham Players, Two Women, St. Bride’s Operatic, Centels in the Pantry, A Superfluous Part

(c) Anon., “Grievances in the Textile Houses,” 3
The Wise Owl Wants To Know

# 16: March 23, 1932

(a) “Dishonest Gold-Rush Dealers: Sovereigns at Fourteen Shillings”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameos: Young Man”

(c) The Wise Owl Wants To Know

# 17: March 30, 1932

(a) “A City High-Flying Club: Laws in an Ambitious Scheme”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The City Hobo,” 3
The Arts after Hours (HK)
Why Not a City Film Group, St. Bride’s Ghost Train

(c) “Where Law Fails,” 2
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 4

(d) Dr. F W Norwood (of the City Temple), “A Frank Talk on Sex and the Cities,” 3

# 18: April 6, 1932

(a) “A Snub For the Daily Mail : Lilybet’s House Offer Rejected”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Dreamer,” 3
The Arts After Hours (HK), 9
Stage-Sense and Ability, Pup-Love Skill, Bank of England, Great Humour, Make-Up Weak

(c) “The Bad Office.” 2
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 4

(d) F.W. Norwood, “Sex and Christianity”

# 19: April 13, 1932

(a) “To New York and Back for £25!’ : Employers to Subsidise Staff Trips”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Man of Power”
The Arts After Hours (HK), 13
Way of the Eagle, A Star, The North British, Real Gusto, Barclays Operatic, N.P. Musical Society, A Criticism

(c) The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 4

(d) Lord Tavistock, “Curing the Economic Problem”’

# 20: April 20, 1932

(a) “The ‘Sleepy Dustman’ Scandal: Cart Loads of Morning Microbes”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Renegade,” 3

(c) “A Kick For the Bank,” 2
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 4

# 21: April 27, 1932

(a) F.H. Mackintosh, “Waterloo Bridge: The Truth: New Structure Will Also Subside”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: Aloft and Aloof”

(c) “The Problem of Basement Offices,” 3
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 4

# 22: May 4, 1932

(a) “Arms Shipments to the East: Japan Preparing for New Offensive?”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: As Sounding Glass”
The Arts After Hours (HK), 9
The Phoenix Club, Saving Grace, Hard Work, London Assurance, Imitative, Competent, Insurance Concert

(c) “Now Lend British!,” 2
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 4

(d) J.F. Watson, “What Is This City Freedom?”

# 23: May 11, 1932

(a) “A Famous Bank’s Difficulties: Bank of England Works for Settlement”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Piermaster,” 3
The Arts After Hours (HK), 9
A New Play, Second Best, Some Faults, Hard Work, Intelligent Acting, Toc H Triumph, The Second Generation, God and Beer, A Good Play

(c) “The Menace of the Banks,” by A Well-Known Industrialist
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 4

# 24: May 18, 1932

(a) Hector Barron, “Great Legal Speed-Up ‘Hoax’: Amendments Nullified by Exemptions”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo : The Failure,” 3
The Arts After Hours (unsigned)
An Apparent Fault, Not for Diapasons, Successful, The City’s Voice

(c) “Boiling Up”
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 4

(d) Morton Spencer, “Our Indolent Business Men”
Toye Vise, “Newspaper Makers’ Good Start”

# 25: May 25, 1932

(a) “Worst City Traffic Scandal: Southwark Bridge’s Daily Maelstrom”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Instrument”
The Arts After Hours, 10
A Good Choice, Women’s Parts, The Force, The Curtain

(c) “The ‘Anglo-South’,” 2
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 4

(d) Morton Spenser, “The Recrudescence of Jingoism,” 3, 4.

# 26: June 1, 1932

(a) “Bankrupt Merchant Banks: Famous Houses Faced With Ruin”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Ozone Man,” 3
The Arts after Hours (unsigned), 11
Personalities 1: A Man of Note (Mr. Harold Rawlinson), Banking to the Boards

(c) The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 4

(d) Donald Campbell, “Romance of the Ticker,” 12

# 27: June 8, 1932

(a) “The Great Finance Crisis: Bankrupt Merchant Banks: More Facts”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: Horse and Man”
The Arts After Hours (HK), 11
Personalities 2 (Mr Crawford Balcarras)

(c) “Why War Will Come,” 2
“The Worst Crime in Journalism,” 8
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 4

(d) Morton Spenser, “Tradition Kills Business”
Roy Hopkins (formerly assistant editor of the Economist), “Fairy Stories of Commerce”

# 28: June 15, 1932

(a) “Montagu Norman to Resign?: Likely Sequels to Disastrous Policy”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Postman,” 3
The Arts After Hours (HK), 11
Leading Ladies 1 (Miss Frances Weatherly), 11

(c) “The Cartel Collapses”
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 4

# 29: June 22, 1932

(a) “Income Tax and Bankruptcy: Need For Revision of a Policy”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: Rooted,” 3
The Arts After Hours (HK), 11
Personalities 4 (Mr. Leslie Muir)

(c) “Ourselves”
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 4

(d) D. F. Norwood, “The Problem of Divorce”

# 30: June 29, 1932

All former issues have had the subtitle “The News-Magazine of Business Life.” From this issue onwards, the subtitle changes to “Independent.”

(a) “Control of Greyhound Racing: Objections to the Existing System”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: Old Sturdy,” 5.
The Arts After Hours (unsigned)
Personalities 5 (Mr. J. D. Patton)

(c) “Exit Japan,” 2
More About Press Corruption,” 16
Seeing the World with America’s “Time”, 19–20
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 4

(d) G. A. Hinkin, “The Truth About the Chile Revolt,” 5
This issue contains “City Mid-Week Supplement: The City Reads,” pp 11–14
Headline: “A Cultured Business World: Bookworms With Their Wits About Them”

# 31: July 6, 1932

(a) “The Truth About the Sun Life: Colossal Fall in Investments”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: From the Ranks”
The Arts After Hours (HK), 15
Leading Ladies 2 (Miss Peggy Blake)

(c) “Bribery,” 2
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 6

(d) J.W, “The City’s Poet Laureate,” 7
Edwin Collier, “The Br’k’n Roman” (short dramatic sketch], 17

Supplement: The Mercantile and Textile Exchange, 11–14.

# 32: July 13, 1932

(a) “Sun Life of Canada Sensation: Hint to the British Government”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: On the Roofs,” 3
The Arts After Hours (HK), 15
Personalities (Mr Reginald Moss)
A Real Change, Cubist Element, The Difficulty, Acting First

(c) “The Morning After,” 2
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 6

“The Farce of the City Churches,” 8

Supplement: 11–14
“The City Lunches”

# 33: July 20, 1932

(a) “Big Income Tax Evasion: Imported American Films Go Free”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: Ashore”

(c) “The Wise Owl Wants To Know,” 6

Supplement: Mid-Week Literary Review, 11–14. (From this point the Literary Review appears every other week as a supplement to City Mid-Week.)
Front Page: “The World, The Flesh, and the Devil: Some Outstanding New Books”
Upton Sinclair’s Candid Reminiscences is reviewed favorably, along with Trevor Allen’s Ivar Kreuger (about a swindler on a grand scale, “nothing more nor less than the internation crook beloved of fiction”), R.G. Burnett and E.D, Martell’s The Devil’s Camera (about the immorality of Hollywood movies) and Taylor Croft’s The Cloven Hoof; a Study of Contemporary London Vices (about “all the vices, from drugs and prostitution to gambling mania aand the White Slave Traffic”)

# 34: July 27, 1932

(a) Morton Spencer, “Broking and Underwriting Tax?: New Hen-Roost For the Chancellor”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Night Watch”

(c) “Germany’s Peril,” 2
“Russia Snubs the Oil Kings,” 8
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 6
Mid-Week Literary Review: “A Thousand Pages of Love and Adventure”
Reviews: e.g., Esther Salaman, Two Silver Roubles - her experience in the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent Civil War.
In ‘The Literary Realm” there’s an announcement of lectures by H G Wells at the Liberal Summer School in Oxford

# 35: August 3, 1932

(a) “The Great Ottawa Failure: American Influences at Work” (by A Canadian Correspondent)

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Last Day”

(c) “Jews in Business,” 2

The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 6

(d) Ernest Benn, “Where the Axe Could Fall,’ 5
Mid-Week Literary Review, 11–14

# 36: Aug 10, 1932

(a) “London Road Repair Chaos: Needless Traffic Disorganisation”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo : Office Hours”

(c) “Unbalanced Books,” 2
“Big Banking Amalgamation” (from A Correspondent), 6
“Bloody Sunday,” 18
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 6
Literary Review
Announcements : W B Yeats to publish a new volume of verse; Marjorie Bowen writing a new novel, 12

# 37: Aug 17, 1932

(a) “Killing the Export Trade: Tragedy of Currency Embargoes”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Beat”
The Arts After Hours (HK), 10
Mr E. J. Alleyne

(c) The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 6

Literary Review, 11–14:
In “Reference, Biography and Horror,” Arnold Roberts recommends a book of chilling stories by L.P. Hartley, himself a reviewer of fiction in The Week End Review and The Sketch.
A donation by Bernard Shaw to the Ellen Terry Memorial Fund is reported.
The release is reported of Dr. Marie C. Stopes’ book Enduring Passion that was seized on the grounds of obscenity by U.S. Customs the previous year, 12.

# 38: August 24, 1932

(a) “The Big Holiday Revolution: Bad Day for Seaside Landladies”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: “The Visit,” 3
The Arts After Hours (HK), 10
Mr. Gerald Matthews

(c) “Entente First Fruits,” 2
Judex, “Labour’s Feeblest Idea: That National Investment Board,” 6

The Wise Owl Wants To Know
Literary Review:
W.T. Mann, “Sociology, Warfare and Fantasy”

# 39: August 31, 1932

(a) “Striking Business Invention: Revolution in Typing”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo, Wooden Souls.”
The Arts After Hours (HK),” 14
Ballet Dancing in the City

(c) “Professor Skinner,” 4
The Wise Owl Wants To Know,” 6
The Literary Review contains “An Achievement by Hugh Walpole,” by W T Mann.

# 40: September 7, 1932

(a) “A Bean to Save British Farms: Big Possibilities in the Soya”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: Dark River,” 3

(c) “War and Food,” 2
The Wise Owl Wants To Know, 6

(d) H. A. J. Lamb: “Let Us Modernise London!,” 5
F. L. Calver on “Foreign Correspondents and the New Invention,” 17
Literary Review: W.T. Mann, ‘A Scott Centenary Publication”

# 41: September 14, 1932

(a) “Cement Report Delay Mystery: Shareholders Want Information”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Symbol,” 5
The Arts After Hours (HK), 10
The New Cripplegate

(c) “Japan Top Dog
In the Literary Review:
A favourable review of Prof H. Levy’s The Universe of Science
“Economics and Rebellion: Michael Collins,” 14

# 42: September 21, 1932

(a) “More About Cement Products: Horne’s Peter and Paul Finance”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Pioneer”
The Arts After Hours (HK), 10
The Coming Season

(c) “The ‘National Slump’,” 2
“Packaged America,” 16

Literary Review
W T Mann, “Victorians Through Georgian Eyes,” 11
Review of The Great Victorians, which aims to show the Victorian age “in the eyes of another generation.” Praises the following essayists who contribute to the volume: Lascelles Abercrombie, G. K. Chesterton, Lawrence Housman, and Hugh Walpole. Also congratulates the editors H. J and Hugh Massingham.

# 43: September 28, 1932

(a) “Press Puffs in Cement Ramp: Sunday Pictorial’s Bad Blunder”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo :Mercury Unwinged”
The Arts After Hours (HK), p. 10
New Dramatic Society, Exhibitions of Art, St Bride’s

(c) J.R.J[arvie], “Newspaper War Secrets,” 9

# 44: October 5, 1932

(a) “Secret German Arms Factory: Holland’s Fifty Barges a Day”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: Old St. Paul’s”
The Arts After Hours (HK), 8
All City New Production, Further Productions

(c) “How Evolution Works,” 10

(d) Morton Spenser advocates “Christianity as a Political Creed,” 7
W.T. Mann, “D. H. Lawrence as a Letter Writer,” 9

# 45: October 12, 1932

(a) ‘Shock to Rail Shareholders: Insolvent Superannuation Funds”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: The Sentry,” 5

Harold Kelly, “At Spacetime Inn,” 14, 19

(c) “Unemploymennt,” 2

(d) R.E.O. Page, “Why Write at All?”

# 46: October 19, 1932

(a) “A Dangerous War-Making Group: Secrets of the Arms Trust”

(b) Harold Kelly, “City Cameo: Anchorage,” 6

(c) Judex, ‘L[loyd].G[eorge] Changes His Mind’, 6, 18
The Wise Owl Wants to Know, 6

(d) A.R. O[rage], “A Voice of Intellectual Revolt,” favourable review of New Britain quarterly, 9, 18



These notes are simply for some of the items on the relative handful of pages of which I’ve been able to obtain photocopies. But together I think they help to increase one’s sense of the intellectual texture of the paper.

#9, “City of London’s Amazing Crime Record: Thirty Years Since Last Murder” (editorial), Feb. 3, 1932, p.1

Worth keeping in mind, perhaps, when one thinks of the deaths of financiers in Golden Age detective novels.

#10, “Geneva Humbug” (op. ed.), Feb. 10, 1932, p.2


It is difficult to restrain oneself over the maunderings and slimy insincerities emanating daily from the Disarmament Conference at Geneva. Sir John Simon, as the British Representative, gave a speech on Monday which was well down to the level of the Conference mentality.

Every one of his proposals was fatuous and impractical. And well he knew it. …

What sane argument is there for the abolition of submarines while we retain aircraft, or for dispensing with poison gas while still reserving the right to use shrapnel and machine guns? …

Had he seen men with their faces blown off by high explosive, or their stomachs ripped open by ragged lumps of hot iron, he would not now imagine that there was anything exclusively fiendish about poison gas. …

And what point is there in limiting the calibre of heavy guns when a combatant would still be at liberty to drop bombs at infinitely longer range …?

Concludes by pointing out how close Japan had recently come to successfully defying the League of Nations, being only reined in (temporarily) by British and American diplomacy and the threat of their warships.

Whatever happens, the League of Nations is for ever discredited.

The European nations had better realise that whether or not lasting peace is possible, it cannot be effected by the talkers at Geneva.

The bit about deaths in combat has the feel of first-hand experience to it. Could that have been Kelly talking?

#10, “The Arts After Hours,” Feb. 10, 1932

A taste of Kelly’s writing in this feature.

In his column for February 10, 1932, reviewing the Midland Bank’s Art Club exhibition, he comments:

Mr. Cecil Kennedy, who exhibited six oils, one of them an academy picture, has an almost flawless technique. He concentrates on flower arrangements and works with a subtle sense of colour and light and shade. His detail, too, is perfectly reproduced, yet in spite of all this I found his work a little cold and unconvincing. I was puzzled by this, but ultimately decided that the painter had triumphed over the artist. The flowers were so real that I felt I could have crushed them, yet the painter—his labours, not his self—was so apparent that I felt warned off.

On the other hand,

Another painting I enjoyed immensely was “Coal Miners,” by Mr. S.E.J. Wilson. This is pure expressionism, but in the huge torsos of the two miners in the foreground, bloated as if swollen with the strain of their labours in the grime and darkness, and the suggestion in the background of vast masses of coal, the artist gives a picture not only of a coal mine but of coal mining as well. (9)

An August 31, 1932, piece about the proposal to start a City of London Amateur Ballet Society opens with:

The Cinderella position of ballet in British art is not easily understandable. Almost more than any other nation we like our art to have a narrative quality. In pictures, sculpture and music, all forms in which the narrative if present at all is secondary, the most popular works are those that summarise a story,

and contains the observation that,

It is important that it has been possible to fix the cost of membership of the City Ballet Society at a figure which girls with ordinary typists’ incomes will be able to pay. (14)

Not the kinds of things that one would have expected from the author-to-be of Lady—Don’t Turn Over.

#13, “Training £10,000 a Year Men,” March 2, 1932

Given the conversion rates described above, we’d be talking here, in present-day terms, of somewhere between £500,000 and £1,920,000 a year.

#15, “Amazing Blackmail Attempt” (editorial), March 16, 1932

First-person editorial. A man, possibly/probably backed by “a certain periodical under the control of a publishing house which is known to be ruthlessly opposed to the publication of penny weekly newspapers,” has threatened, unless paid a substantial sum, to flood the City with fifteen thousand leaflets exposing the dissatisfaction of paper-sellers with a paper costing only a penny.

No deal. The paper-sellers are satisfied with how they’re being treated. The police have been notified.

#25, “The Recrudescence of Jingoism,” May 25, 1932, pp. 3–4.

By Morton Spenser. Includes a photo of a cherubically smiling familiar face. Caption: “Mr. Churchill licks his lips at the possibility of a scrap.”

In the modernist, hedonistic first half of the Twenties, no-one was in the mood for another war. But in a reaction to those years, beginning, with the General Strike of 1926,

The psychological effect of the strike and its failure was a fear of the new forces that had been moulding postwar social life and a distrust of the mental processes that had brought them into being.

The pressures of “unscrupulous international interests” (aka the armament industry?) have always been a factor. But other influences have been more subtle. Superficially, popular works like All Quiet on the Western Front” and the play Journey’s End may seem anti-militarist. But actually All Quiet is “a passionate plea for the reestablishment of men who fought in a similar society to the one they left, “ and Journey’s End “holds up the old public school tradition on which pre-war English mentality was based, a fine almost noble attitude to life worthy of being revived.”


in the last two years the hard uncompromising spirit of post-war literature and drama has passed away. [J.B. Priestley’s] Angel Pavement and The Good Companions have been best sellers. [C.L. Anthony’s] Autumn Crocus and similar plays have been great West End successes.

#27, “Why War Will Come” (op. ed.), June 8, 1932, p. 2

Have previously given details of big armaments sales to Japan. Japan policy in Manchuria likely to bring in Russia in self-defence. When Russia goes to war with Japan, Poland (under instructions from France) will attack Russia.

In Germany, the real aim of the “hypernationalists” not an anti-Communist alliance with Britain, France, and Poland, but taking back Alsace-Lorraine.

“It can be taken as certain that if the war which starts in the East spreads to Europe, it will not be confined to the far side of the Elbe.”

Given the over 20 millions unemployed in America, Germany, Britain, France, and Germany, “the nations could embark on war at no real cost to themselves. They have got the (idle) ships, they have got the (unemployed) men, and they’ve got the money too when they care to print it.”

#30, “More about Press Corruption,” June 29, 1932, p. 16

By editor Jarvie (initials). Suggests that at a time when the public seems “convinced that the press is about as dishonest as it could be,” people may be expecting too much when they want journalists—professional men like lawyers—to express their own individual opinions rather than conforming to the desires of the newspaper proprietors who employ them,” and that the press “is no more corrupt than any other body in our imperfect society.”

However, “much more damage has been done by leaving things out of newspapers than by putting them in. Not a day passes, but a piece of vital news, of which the public ought to be informed is suppressed.”

The world is on the brink of another war. Only the accidents of diplomacy have delayed an outbreak in the Far East between Japan and Russia, and if it starts there it will be impossible to stop it spreading.

How many readers of daily papers are there who are now in dangerous ignorance of this menace?

#30, “Seeing the World; with America’s ‘Time’,” June 29, 1932, pp. 19–20.

A full-page item reprinting (I think) three pieces from Time magazine, without comment.

The first is about a meeting in Detroit of the mayors of twenty-four American cities, most of whom “described scenes of misery and destitution,” and who collectively called for a five-billion-dollar bond issue for public works.”

The second is excerpts from a series of ads by Henry Ford giving his philosophy about employment. No-one has a “right” to a job; a job is what you get by working to find one; self-help, not charity is the watchword. An impoverished Michigan village is described in which what sounds like a small-scale, public-works programme has been a success. Also, “The land! That is where our roots are. No unemployment insurance can be compared to an alliance between a man and a plot of land.”

The third is a personality profile of a public-service doctor in New York.

#31, The Truth about the Sun Life,” July 6, 1932, p. 1
#32, “Sun Life of Canada Sensation: A Hint to the British Government,” July 13, 1932, pp. 1, 20

For details of the libel suit that put City Mid-Week out of business, see sections VIII and IX of City Mid-Week Part 1. Sun Life, according to CMW, was “one of the largest insurance companies in the world.” (#31, 1)

The second of the two front-page editorials is strong. E.g.,

Further information provided from Canadian sources leaves no doubt that the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada is not only in a shockingly unstable condition, but that a public investigation of its affairs would prove the activities of its directors to be a very grave scandal.…

Where there were profits, these have been absorbed by the management and their friends; and where there were losses they have been taken care of with policyholders’ funds. The management of the Sun Life have also paid to themselves out of the policyholders’ funds fabulous salaries, fees, and dividends ….

For the lawyers for the plaintiff, it must have been shooting fish in a barrel.

#34, “Germany’s Peril,” July 27, 1934, p.4


A political group of untried strength and dubious authority has seized control of the Prussian political machine. It has refrained from antagonizing Hitler’s powerful machine, and may even hafe effected its coup d’etat with the tacit approval of the Nazi leader. [But] neither Von Papen nor Von Schleicher, the leaders of the newly established autocracy, have the intellect or the strength of character to follow far in the path of Mussolini.

#34, “Mid-Week Literary Review,” July 27, 1934

The first page of the July 27, 1932 issue, headed “A Thousand Pages of Love and Adventure: Some Outstanding New Books,” consists of brief reviews of the following: Casanova’s My Life and Adventures, Ernest Dimnet’s What We Live By (dealing with topics like the Universe, God, the Soul, Morals, and Beauty), C.H. Irwin’s The Bible, The Scholar and The Spade (“an exceedingly readable summary of the results of modern day excavation and discovery”), R.G. Burnett’s Chudleigh; a Triumph of Sacrifice (about “one of the greatest of East End Missionaries”), Sir Herbert Russell’s The Delectable West (about Devon and Cornwall), Esther Salaman’s Two Silver Rubles (about the revolution of 1917 and the civil war and “described as ‘largely a work of imagination’ but it makes interesting reading and presents a different point of view of affairs in Russia to that we have had so many books recently”), Sydney A. Moseley’s Stocks and Shares (about making money investing), and W.E. Berridge, Zoo Animals (which “should certainly appeal to animal lovers, of whom there are thousands around the Bank”)

Maybe there is more love and adventure in the other pages?

#35, “Jews in Business,” p. 1 (unsigned), Aug. 3, 1932


It is unfashionable to criticise the Jews in a newspaper. It is unfashionable because it is believed to be dangerous. Newspaper owners appear to be convinced that to say something bad about one Jew is to invite the undying hostility of the whole of this virile and prolific race.

We have more respect for the Jews than to believe that they are capable of a wide conspiracy of secret vengeance against critics of the least reputable of their people.

So, let us proceed to tell Jewry what we think about it in one connection that happens to be of interest to the City. That is commercial delinquency. The number of Jews apprehended for breaches of the law in business dealings is considerably greater proportionately than that of Anglo-Saxons and Celts.…

Examples are given. It is suggested that the Jewish community should exert more pressure against such malefactors.

I quote the following reluctantly. After pointing out that “a Jew of low morality can conceive a fraud which an Anglo-Saxon on the same moral level would be innocent of, because he lacked not the will but the wit,” it is suggested that,

the Jews beneath the veneer of Western civilization, have altogether different values than Western people. Their idealism is profound, as exemplified in their unswerving fidelity to a belief in a collective and not an individual destiny.…

Jew Süss was materially a rascal, but he was of finer clay than any of the Teutons among whom he moved. Disraeli was unscrupulous, but yet more noble than Mr. Gladstone or Prince Albert. …

But the Jews should realize that a Gentile who has been bitten in a long-firm bankruptcy is not much impressed by such arguments. Their fine qualities are obscured for it is not every English business man who enjoys the society of Jewish intellectuals, nor who has memories of a son of Israel,walking with melancholy fearlessness through the Gehenna that was Ypres in a cause that was not his own.

So far as I know, this is the only such piece in CMW. In the July 27, 1932 issue, the Wise Owl wants to know “What exactly the Jewish international leaders are doing to upset the Nazi’s anti-Jewish campaign in Germany,” which I take to mean that they should be trying to upset it.

I see from Wikipedia that “Jew Süss” was the nickname of an eighteenth-century Jewish banker who made powerful enemies while he was managing the finances the duchy of Wurttemburg, and, after the death of his patron, was arrested and confessed under torture to a variety of peculations, being subsequently hanged when he refused to convert to Christianity. He was the subject of a 1925 novel by Leon Feuchtwanger against anti-semitism, a ditto 1934 British movie, and a notorious anti-semitic Nazi movie in 1940.

Kelly, born in 1899, would have been too young to be in the 1914 and 1915 battles of Ypres. However, the 1917 battle of Paschendaele was also known as Third Ypres.

There is no antisemitism in Kelly’s novels.

#44, “The Irish Question,” by Judex, Oct. 5, 1932

Opens with:

I do not like the way the Government is handling the Irish business. From time to time we throw up in this country statesmen (so-called) with heads of wood, completely destitute of imagination, whose strongest need is sitting tight and—“we’ll larn ‘em.” We had a few when we lost the North American Colonies. I am afraid we have one or two today.

It includes:

All that Southern Ireland has ever wanted has been the right to call her soul her own, and we have no right whatever to stand in the way.


Southern Ireland can set up a king and call him Pharaoh if they like, for all I care. On ethical grounds we have no right whatever to insist on the Free State remaining within the Empire.


Mr. de Valera is a little Imperialist with a one-track mind. His designs on Ulster are precisely the same as the designs of our wooden heads on Dublin. Cork and Galway have no more right to tell Belfast how it is to be governed than we have to dictate to Dublin. (4)

#45, “At Spacetime Inn,” Oct. 12, 1932 pp. 14, 19

Lionel Britton, whose play At Spacetime Inn is currently being performed at the Arts Theatre, and has just been published, is “a literary genius” who “writes plays and books not because he has acquired a gymnastic agility in the use of words and the manipulation of ideas but by the strong urge of a creative capacity.”

Two cockney bicyclists who’ve won the sweepstake and have a cheque for £10,000 with them, find themselves, after a road accident, in a symbolic inn in another dimension.

But the restrictions of civilization are not left behind. The bigotry of non-conformatism in the person of Queen Victoria, the overbearing threats of militarism in Napoleon, the arrogance of knowledge in Dr. Johnson, the disturbing glamour of lust and turbulence in the Queen of Sheba, the sneering patronage of theoretical excellence in Bernard Shaw, the formal idealism of idealistic reform in Carl [sic] Marx, and the detached aloofness of Shakespeare are all gathered at the inn. Fortunately there is also Eve opposing a rich humanity to the massed intellectual intimidation. …

Throughout the play the poor stranded pair are chivvied and baited by the company and their own unreasoning fears. All the credulity, stupidity, crudity, cowardice and baseness of the masses, judged by the standard of intellectual pretension, are brought out pitilessly. Yet with Eve, the soil, they are on almost common ground. In relation to nature they remain at ease, adequate, worthy and attractive. With her they can find solace even for the fears born of their own imaginations. Between themselves and Eve they can display a loyalty and for their own conception of what is worth while, a courage that are nobler than all the Utopianisms of the pundits. (14)

I can’t say I see their nobility or courage in the play, though their speech patterns, rendered to some extent phonetically, have a convincing life to them—better than what Shaw did in Major Barbara, certainly.

The dynamics of the play seem, on another reading, to be that of a couple of representatives of the Lumpenproletariat who are unshakeably focussed on the life of luxury that their winnings will give them, and who cannot be reached by any of the appeals to higher modes of consciousness by the figures (other than Eve perhaps) whom Kelly names.

Genius? The pastiches of the modes of speech of the “higher” figures are moderately successful, at least for the purpose of dramatic performance. But I can’t say I see whither it is all tending.

Britton’s previous play, Brain: a Play of the Whole Earth, had been published in 1930 after being given a performance that year at the Savoy Theatre by a cast of over thirty, among whom were Emlyn Williams, Donald Wolfit, and Madeleine Carroll.

It is a SF fantasy, extending across centuries, about what sounds like an immense computer-cum-internet constructed secretly during several decades by an underground Brotherhood of H.G. Wellsian scientists and technocrats, plus enlightened sympathisers, grown weary of the old systems of government and industry.

Its staging sounds ingenious, and it’s the kind of work (J.W. Dunne’s An Experiment with Time, 1927, was another) guaranteed to make ordinary mortals feel stupid in relation to science, being packed with unfamiliar and, for me at least, incomprehensible concepts. Like other utopian fictions dissing ordinary all-too-human politics, it underestimates their power, an error that Germany’s National Socialist party, currently in pursuit of a legitimate election to power, was soon to rectify.

In the afterword to the SF Space-Time Task Force (1953), Kelly, writing as Preston Yorke, would engage in some difficult maverick science theorizing of his own.




December 2008

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