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Photo Article from the Welsh Hovel - Books by my family, too many missing and the underpants man

Tom Winnifrith
Tuesday 11 October 2022

A kind reader sent Joshua some old fashioned postcards of railway trains. Half of them are now framed and sit at the top of the landing. Beneath them are just some of the books written by family members. One has a very famous pair of pants.

The chap on the left is my late uncle, godfather and mentor Christopher Booker. Most of the books he wrore are in Greece but in the middle you can see, perhaps, his best known book The Neophiliacs.  Sitting next to Chris are two small books, one verse one prose, by great Uncle Alfred Cochrane. This would please cricket loving Chris as Alfred was a cricketer (The Gentlemen, Oxford University and Derbyshire) who once bowled out WG Grace. He was also a failed Tory candidate for Parliament, married into extreme wealth generated by sending Durham men and boys down the pits and in his retirement at Bathampton became incredibly fat. Family legend has it that he once stepped onto a speaking scales at a railway station to be told “one at a time please.”

The woman at the other end is the sister of Chris, my mother, who is next to a thick book of nineteenth century photos of the Tomlinson family who married into the Cochranes. Thus that volume also contains a number of Cochranes ( my father’s mother’s family) snapped in Dublin and Donegal.  In between there are some, but not all of the books written by various Bradley’s including AC. This is my father’s side and are possibly the most boring books you will ever find. Dull but very worthy.

Streets is by my father’s friend Janos Nyiri and was originally written in Hungarian. It was then translated into English by a fellow from Queens Belfast. But it then needed a second translation into a different, more readable, English which is where my father came in. Next to it are various books by my father though I am struggling to find a couple of his numerous publications. There are also various short works by his father and his son and one on Kent by his grandfather. Also in there is the underpants book. That is what youwant to know about is it not?

Sir Courtney Ilbert of Ilbert Bill note had four daughters one of whom married Sir Arthur Cochrane and so was my great grandmother. Another married Sir George Young, hence the most cackhanded intervention after the death of David Cochrane. A third married HAL Fisher, an MP, Minister, National Trust board member and warden of New College Oxford. It is his last book that sits there. Fisher was knocked down by a bus early in the war and never really recovered. In the true story on which the recent film about Operation Mincemeat was based, the British realise that the Germans will only be fooled by the fake body of a dead British officer carrying fake invasion plans. if the officer is wearing posh woolen underpants. Fishers underpants were used.

I kid you not.   

I am sure I will find a couple more books by my father even if I am forced onto ebay. I fear I shall find more Bradley books to take up more space.


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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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