Last month, (on June 21st), we were delighted to welcome Geoff Coleman back to Kelmscott House. Geoff made the library bookcase dedicated to Eric Heffer, MP*, installed in 1994, and this was the first time he had been back to look at it.
Shortly after the death of Eric Heffer in 1991, Geoff was contacted by the Society’s librarian, David Rainger, with the idea of making a memorial bookcase. This had been designed by Society member John Kay and was to be made of English oak. Geoff, a retired joiner, was pleased to accept. He had been in the same union as Eric Heffer, the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers, and had known him from union activities. He made the bookcase in his workshop at the end of his garden and remembers bringing it in pieces for assembly at Kelmscott House.
The inscription was carved by a stone mason, Geoff can’t remember his name – I wonder if anyone knows it? At the inauguration, Society member Ray Watkinson recalled Morris’s words ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’, commenting that the bookcase excelled on both counts. It now holds the bulk of our collection of biographies of those known to Morris or influenced by him, and biographies of Morris himself.
Geoff was accompanied by his friend Smaragdos Franklinos, (standing behind him in the picture above).
Discover more about The William Morris Society’s library in next week’s blog.
*Eric Heffer M.P.(1922 – 1991) was a Labour politician, member of parliament for Liverpool Walton from 1964 until his death. He was especially concerned with the construction industry and employment practices. A member of the William Morris Society, he had played a prominent role in the campaign to save The William Morris Gallery