Date of this Version
The George Eliot Review 22 (1991)
The year opened, as it always does, with the least exciting event - the Annual General Meeting. All four officers were re-elected and we also re-elected for a further three year term our supportive and generous President Jonathan Ouvry.
The next event was much more exciting. In April Gabriel Woolf made his 21st annual visit to Warwickshire to present the ever popular programme of Readings from the novels. 'Enter the Aunts' proved to be one of the most popular he has ever done, and his own sense of humour and sensitivity of selection made the most of those wonderful aunts, the Dodsons in The Mill on the Floss. We had our largest audience ever - 436. What a splendid way of introducing a great number of people to George Eliot who had probably never read her but now undoubtedly will.
At the Annual General Meeting and Seminar of the Alliance of Literary Societies the
following day, Gabriel, as their President, read again. This annual gathering of
members from many literary societies holds plenty of promise and the Alliance is
already proving to be a success. When the Fellowship founded the Alliance many
years ago on an entirely informal basis of mutual help, it was not foreseen what a very
friendly organisation it would eventually become, publishing its own newsletter
entitled Chapter One. We wish the Alliance all possible success. Bill Adams
continues to represent us on the Alliance Committee.
The Nuneaton Wreath-laying in June was the first part of our Diamond Jubilee Celebrations and we had hoped to have as our Guest of Honour our oldest member, both in membership and years. Mrs. Eva Beamish's father had been a founder member and his daughter had joined in 1934. Sadly, Mrs. Beamish died earlier in the year and her place was taken by another long-serving member, Mrs. Hilda Gunn, a past Vice Chairman and Council member for many years. She spoke about her early introduction to George Eliot by an enlightened Nuneaton school-teacher. 1990 was the tenth anniversary of the unveiling of the memorial stone in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey and we marked this milestone with as near as possible a repeat of the 1980 ceremony. The Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd. Michael Mayne, conducted our service and our Guest of Honour was his predecessor, the Revd. Dr. Edward Carpenter KCVO, who as Dean in 1980 had conducted the service then and had worked with us in the years before when we were planning the laying of the stone. We used the same readings from the Bible and the novels and Gabriel Woolf repeated his moving reading of’ O May I Join the Choir Invisible'. Margaret Wolfit and Graham Handley read from The Mill on the Floss and The Sad Fortunes of the Revd. Amos Barton and Jonathan Ouvry from the Bible.