Uttley Diaries Event at the Sedbergh Book Festival, 22 September 2009
Denis Judd spoke about the private diaries of Alison Uttley at the Sedbergh Book Festival on 22 September. It was to Sedbergh School, of course, that Alison’s son John was sent for his secondary education, thus following his father James to this well regarded and beautifully situated school on the borders of Yorkshire and Cumbria.
The event was well attended, and there was a lively discussion of Alison Uttley’s work, as well as her personality after Professor Judd had given his talk and shown the brief BBC TV profile of Alison made by Simon Groom earlier this year.
The Headmaster. and some of the current and former staff of Sedbergh were in the audience. Interestingly, one of these had worked with John Uttley when he was a House Master at Stowe School during the 1950s. He remembered the rather troubled young teacher well, but also recalled that he regularly stood in for John on Wednesday evenings so that the latter could go and spend some welcome time with his wife, Helen Uttley. John was, he said, extremely reticent sbout his family background, and the tragedy of James Uttley’s suicide in 1930 was never mentioned.