Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Truthful Bill`s Rambling Notes : William Edward Hopkin of Nottinghamshire

One of the perks of my job is the opportunity it gives for encountering interesting characters from the past.

One such case is W E Hopkin (1862 - 1951), author of a posthumously published poetry volume, Glades and Lovers.

An unsigned paragraph at the start of the volume introduces the author as a Nottinghamshire Magistrate and County Councillor, noting that "throughout the Midlands he was famous as an independent social reformer, writer, broadcaster, wit, poet and naturalist. His social and intellectual gifts provided him with a wide circle of friends among peers, tramps, renowned literary figures and, above all, the colliers and farmers among whom he lived at Eastwood."

A quick trip to www.estwic.co.uk produced the information that our lad was the son of an Eastwood shopkeeper and at various times a Town Councillor, County Councillor. Alderman, School Governor and JP. For many years he wrote regular columns in the Eastwood and Kimberley Advertiser under the heading `Rambling Notes` and `Rhymes of Truthful Bill`.

William and his wife, Sallie, were close to D H Lawrence and many of the books in the Lawrence Collection at Eastwood Library were previously William`s property, and can be identified as such given his habit of adding a caricature of himself to each one - rather skilfully done, it must be said.

I understand he was the subject of a booklet ; `W E Hopkin` by Noel Kader which was sold by his descendants on a mail order basis. One hopes a few have survived.

I understand that Hopkin was the model for two Lawrence characters, Willie Houghton in `Touch and Go` and Lewis Goddard in `Mr Noon`.

The article from Eastwic was by Alan Rowley, drawing on two publications of the Eastwood Historical Society ; `Around Old Eastwood` and `Eastwood - More Recollections` and one from Nottinghamshire County Council, `Eastwood ; A Pictorial View 1889 - 1989`.

An article by Leslie Williamson, `Eastwood and W E Hopkin` with a footnote from John Lucas can be found at http://www.pennilesspress.co.uk/

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