An Australian has travelled more than 10,000 miles to celebrate the life and times of philosopher and previous South Downs resident CEM Joad on the 60th anniversary of his death.
The incredible journey was made a reality when Australian Greg Devine read an article published by Ifield resident, Richard Symonds, called ‘The Forgotten Christian Philosopher’ about the celebrated author, Cyril Edwin Mitchinson Joad.
Mr Devine read that the walk from Amberley Station to South Stoke was probably the most beautiful walk on the South Downs – a walk CEM Joad himself took many times – and so he decided to get in touch with Mr Symonds and experience the route firsthand.
On July 28-30, the Australian from Redcliffe (a bay-side town north of Brisbane) travelled to the UK with his wife and a close friend.
“Richard and I hit it off immediately, chatting all the way,” said the 56-year-old.
“He showed me the historic North Stoke church. We then proceeded to the South Stoke Farm, stopping off at St Leonard’s Church.
“Richard then pointed out the building and window at which CEM Joad sat writing many of his books.”
CEM Joad wrote and edited more than 100 books, pamphlets, articles and essays, including ‘An Old Countryside for New People’ and ‘Folly Farm’, until his death in 1953.
He most notably appeared on The Brains Trust, a BBC Radio wartime discussion programme.
“Joad’s writings speak to me of a man who searched earnestly for the truth. He’s inspired me to use language in lively and engaging ways,” said Mr Devine.
The Australian party also visited ‘Meadow Hills’ in Stedham – the former home of CEM Joad. The owners, Sarah and Martin Large, kindly welcomed the tourists.
Mr Devine said: “The garden had become overgrown but Sarah was valiantly working to restore it. She is convinced that Meadow Hills was the location of the farm and house described in Joad’s book ‘Folly Farm’.”
The 60th anniversary of CEM Joad’s death was marked at the Stedham Village Memorial Hall in April.
As Trump’s America plays its own potentially-catastrophic global war game, we would do well to remember a forgotten English philosopher and writer – C.E.M. Joad (1891-1953) – whose work is exhibited at the Arundel Museum this week (‘The Joadian Way’ Exhibition – April 7-14).
67 years ago, in June 1950 at the start of the Cold War, Joad won an Oxford Union Debate against Randolph Churchill – chaired by Robin Day [an Oxford ‘stringer’ for Time magazine which later covered the debate under the heading “Heading for Hell?”]:
“That this House regrets the influence exercised by the U.S. as the dominant power among the democratic nations”.
The Joadian Way Ramblette
Described as “possibly the most beautiful short walk in the South Downs National Park”, the Joadian Way Ramblette took place the weekend before Easter – Saturday April 8 – to mark the 64th Anniversary of South Downs philosopher and writer C.E.M. Joad (1891-1953), who became famous in the wartime Brains Trust.
Starting from Amberley Station at 11am, the short walk passes through North Stoke near the South Downs Way (with its unique red Telephone Box/Information Point), and then on to South Stoke where Joad wrote many of his 100+ books in the 1940’s.
Here it is best to do a little ‘imagineering’ and go back in time to 1814 – over 200 years ago. Imagine no trains, no cars and no restaurants – just boats and a bridge over the river. The only means of crossing the river was the bridge – thus the Toll House to charge for crossing it.
Houghton Bridge was built in 1813, with John Davis being the first Toll “Keeper”. He started work on April 1 1814 and received eight shillings per week.
Turnpike tolls raised £70 to £80 per year. The charge of two shillings was made “for every 4-wheeled Wagon, Wain, Cart drawn by 8 horses”; two shillings for “Coach, Chariot, Landau, Berlin chaise, Curricule, Calah, Hearse or other such carriage drawn by six horses or other beasts”; and “for every drove of calves, swine, sheep or lambs sum of 10d [pence] per score”.
“For any use on a Sunday – Double Toll”.
The bridge itself was rebuilt in 1875 by landowners which included the Duke of Norfolk (Arundel Castle) and Lord Leconfield (Petworth House).
9. The narrow footpath brings you out on to the grand vista of the South Downs.
Go straight across the field to the wooded area (any cows, sheep or horses therein are likely to be very curious).
South Stoke Farm and St Leonard’s Church can be seen on the other side of the Arun.
In the cemetery, look out for “The Still Point” inscription by TS Eliot on the gravestone of John and Joanna Haggarty.
The work of a philosopher, writer and wartime ‘Brains Trust’ celebrity is set to be showcased at the Arundel Museum this month.
Cyril Edwin Mitchinson Joad, a prolific writer who penned more than 100 books, lived from August 12 1891 until April 9 1953. He did a lot of his work in Sussex, where he wrote many of his books.
Joad was one of the best known British intellectuals of his time.
As a panel member of The Brains Trust, an informational BBC radio and television programme in the 1940s and 50s, Joad would enable the show’s panel of experts to answer questions sent in by the audience.
Joad passed away of cancer at the age of 61 at Easter 1953, and to mark the occasion, Arundel Museum is displaying some of the Joad Archive.
From April 7 to 14, the museum will display Joad artefacts and manuscripts, and visitors can find out what links philosophy, train travel and a Sussex farm.
Arundel Museum is almost exclusively run by volunteers who have a passion for the history of the town and its people. The exhibits have been arranged to tell the story of this historic town.
The exhibition will commemorate the passing of the ‘People’s Philosopher’ and Brains Trust broadcaster.
For more information, visit http://www.arundelmuseum.org.
To find out more about Joad, visit cemjoad.wordpress.com.
Your letters 11:51
Thursday 16 March 2017
Described as “probably the most beautiful short walk in the South Downs National Park”, the Joadian Way Ramblette will take place the weekend before Easter – Saturday April 8 – to mark the 64th Anniversary of South Downs philosopher and writer C.E.M. Joad (1891-1953), who became famous in the wartime Brains Trust.
Starting from Amberley Station at 11am, the short walk will pass through North Stoke near the South Downs Way (with its unique red telephone box/information point), and then on to South Stoke where Joad wrote many of his 100+ books in the 1940s.
On arrival back at Amberley Station by 12.30pm (approx), there will be an option for lunch at the Riverside Restaurant by Houghton Bridge.
All are warmly welcome. Good walking boots are strongly recommended as it is likely to be muddy in places.
Richard W Symonds
The Joad Society