English, Department of



Jphn Burton

Date of this Version


Document Type



The George Eliot Review 43 (2012)


Published by The George Eliot Review Online https://GeorgeEliotReview.org


It was a good year for the Fellowship. Our membership numbers held their own, and although some older members have difficulty getting to events, we have attracted new members who have been enthusiastic in their support.

The theme for the year was Silas Mamer, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2011. The first event of the year was the AGM, which we had hoped to expand with a keynote lecture to start the year by Barbara Hardy. Unfortunately, Barbara had to cancel due to ill-health but undaunted, we arranged a review of the previous year and had useful discussions about the rest of the year. Doing something over and above the bare bones of reports and elections at the AGM makes it more interesting for members, and encourages them to attend. Tea and cakes at the end add a social note to the proceedings

The George Eliot Weekend has now established itself as a two-day event instead of the original one day, and each year a few more members travel and take part in events on both days. In 2011 we wanted to have a local theme, to try to tease out some of the more interesting pieces of George Eliot research conducted in the Nuneaton area in recent years. Kathryn Hughes revealed some of her research into the Dodson/Pearson sisters; David Paterson explained how accurate George Eliot's delineation of Hugh Hughes was; and Alan Cook gave details of some of his research into Teddy Kem, a possible source for Silas Marner. The day finished with some part improvised acting of scenes from Silas Mamer by students from King Edward College, and a chance to watch Simon Winterman directing them.

The following day was our special George Eliot Country tour in a 1929 charabanc. Though more expensive than a traditional coach, participants love the expensive and so far we have been lucky with the weather.

At the wreath-laying in Nuneaton a record 15 wreaths were laid, the guest of honour being Lily Woods, who had played Mrs Poyser and Maggie in the college productions. She spoke eloquently of her enjoyment of playing such important roles. We were delighted too that Griff House was represented and manager Mike Wastell and his wife laid a wreath.