Our latest lecture was by former Branch Secretary Dr Philip Coupland, speaking on ‘Jorian Jenks: Writing a Fascist Life’. Jorian Jenks came from a Liberal background, to become a Fascist and later member of the Soil Association an early Green Movement. Dr Coupland explained how he went about researching the life of Jenks, deciding to examine both his personal and political life, to build a picture of Jenks from birth to examine how a boy who desired to be a farmer became a Fascist.
Though he volunteered for officer training in 1917, due to ill health he never went to the front line. Jenks was discharged from the army early after the war, and left with intentions of farming. Frustrating in his endeavours he ended up in New Zealand in 1922, where he spent most of his 20s. He returned to England in 1928 to claim his legacy from his grandfather. This critically allowed him to get his degree and set himself up as a farmer. Subsequently, and critically, Dr Coupland discovered that Jenks was agricultural correspondent to the Yorkshire Post, which described itself as the National paper of Yorkshire. He later wrote for the Fascist press, was a BUF candidate in 1936 and was part of the leader party in the May Day march of 1939. Jenks was interred in Brixton in 1940, which resulted in him losing his job and farm and resulted in the breakdown in his marriage. Secret services intervened to prevent him from getting teaching posts. The soil association was perhaps the most significant part of his later life: he was an important figure in the association as writer.
Illustrated with pictures of Jenks and documents about him, this talk gave fascinating insight into his life as well as insight into the ways and means of researching someone’s life, from google to discovering personal papers in outbuildings! We look forward to the book!