Don’t you just love when you read a book and something familiar jumps out of a page. It can be a name, a place, a familiar setting. You think:’ Hey! I know this guy/ this place!’ The fiction changes; it crosses the border between real and unreal. It crosses into your reality and you can’t help but smile.
There are couple of books that reference Marjon in one way or another. The archive keeps them, their pages with Marjon references lovingly bookmarked. Let me introduce you to some of them.
In the book ‘Murder Being Once Done’ Ruth Rendell writes: ‘They were at school together and Verity went to train as a teacher at St Mark and St John…Its quite near where you’re staying, in King’s Road’. At the time she wrote this, the College was still at Chelsea. I wonder, did Ruth walked past it once upon a time and thought: ‘This looks like an interesting place, let’s put it in the book for some authenticity.’ That’s what I’d do.
Other references might not be so clear. One of our former students, Billy Hopkins became quite a successful author. He wrote many semi-biographical books and in one of them, the protagonist goes off to London to train as a teacher. What else could he based this premise, but on his own experiences at Marjon? This book is kind of an exception as we don’t have it in the archives. That’s something I plan to change. As soon as I’m done with it, that is:-)
If you never heard of Cremorne Gardens, then let’s say it was a pleasure garden in Chelsea. In the 17th century it was famous for its quite large population of ‘ladies of negotiable affection’ as would Terry Pratchett say. The principal of St Mark back then, John G. Cromwell, was involved in a campaign to close the gardens for the security’s sake. What did he get for his good intentions? He became one of the characters in the book ‘The Last Pleasure Garden’ by Lee Jackson…too bad it’s a serial killer. That proves once for all that no good deed goes unpunished:-)
There is many more examples like these, but if I was to list them all we’d all go grey before then. I might return to the subject though and maybe one day I will be able to put Marjon on the pages of a book too.
Hopkins, B. (2001) High Hopes. London: Headline Publishing Group.
Jackson, L. (unknown) Victorian London – Entertainment and Recreation – Gardens and Spas – Cremorne Gardens. [Online] Available from: http://www.victorianlondon.org/entertainment/cremorne.htm [accessed 12 May 2014]
Jackson, L. (2007) The Last Pleasure Garden. London: Arrow Books.
Rendell, R. (1972) Murder Being Once Done. London: Arrow Books.