From the Joad Archives 2013 – “Australian celebrates philosopher’s life” – West Sussex County Times – August 11 2013


Australian celebrates philosopher’s life

JPCT 060813 S13321192x  Richard Symonds by Amberley Station -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 060813 S13321192x Richard Symonds by Amberley Station -photo by Steve Cobb

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.


From The Archives – April 10 2013 – “60th anniversary of South Downs philosopher at Stedham” – Midhurst and Petworth Observer

60th anniversary of South Downs philosopher at Stedham

Photo: CEM Joad in his Brains Trust heyday


Wednesday 10 April 2013

Stedham Exhibition of Philosophy and Brains Trust Evening on Sunday, April 7 will mark the 60th anniversary of the death of the South Downs philosopher ‘Professor’ CEM Joad, who lived at Stedham and died there in 1953, aged 61.

It was at his Stedham home that he wrote his last major work, The Recovery of Belief – A Restatement of Christian Philosophy.

Described as the ‘Patrick Moore of philosophy of his day’, he brought the subject down to earth for millions in his many books.

Organiser of the exhibition, Richard William Symonds, said: “His 50th anniversary in 2003 was held at South Stoke Farm, the South Stoke Festival of Thought, a beautiful hamlet nestled in the South Downs, but which had yet to 
achieve national park status at that time. “Cyril Edwin Mitchinson Joad – CEMJ – played no small part in helping to set up certain national parks in the late 1940s, but did not succeed with the South Downs, an area he deeply treasured and loved. If he was alive today, he would be absolutely delighted with its national park status.”

Mr Symonds said everyone was welcome to attend the event, which will be held in Stedham Village Memorial Hall. It starts at midday and will go on until 10pm.

The Rev Roger Williamson, vicar of St James, Stedham, has volunteered to act as question master in an informal, friendly re-enactment of the wartime programme The Brains Trust which was first broadcast on radio, before the advent of television, in January, 1941 and in which the ‘Professor’ became a national celebrity with his catch-phrase ‘It all depends what you mean by…’.

“He became what I would call the Patrick Moore of philosophy in his day, popularising the subject for millions and writing more than 100 books on the subject. “The Brains Trust was the pioneering forerunner to what we now know today as Question Time and Any Questions.”

The day will begin with a welcome by Ruth Joad, granddaughter of CEM Joad. There will be a short walk, the Joadian Trail, at 3pm which will take in Meadow Hills, Joad’s Stedham home. Choral Evensong takes place at St James’ Church at 6pm when the Rev Williamson’s sermon will be based around Recovery of Belief. The re-enactment of The Brains Trust evening will be from 7.30pm-9pm.

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