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”.
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