In the current issue of Slightly Foxed, the curator Mark Haworth-Booth describes how, back in the 60s, he helped Jim Ede ensure the future of Kettle’s Yard.
Mark Haworth-Booth read English at Clare College 1963-66 and became an habitué of Kettle’s Yard. He was startled to find that Jim Ede had been offering Kettle’s Yard as a gift to the University of Cambridge for several years, always to be turned down because of worries over expense and questions about whether enough people would visit a place that seemed very modest compared to the mighty Fitzwilliam Museum . . .
In 1966, a fellow undergraduate, James Fraser, and I devised a petition urging the university to accept the gift. Jim pointed us towards known fans of Kettle’s Yard, including distinguished scientists, as well as enthusiastic fellows, undergraduates and other well-wishers. He mentioned E. M. Forster and I arranged to visit the great novelist. His rooms at King’s were on the first floor of a staircase, on the left as you enter the college from King’s Parade. Like many other undergraduates, I had read his The Longest Journey (1907) – partly set in Cambridge – with acute interest, identifying completely with its troubled protagonist Rickie.