James Gibson was
presented with a
Festschrift , A
by fellow Hardy scholars
- CHILDHOOD: Born
in Wandsworth in 1919, Jim had two sisters, Margaret
Early childhood spent in South London and Worthing. His
father, who had been wounded at Gallipoli, died when Jim
was 2, and his mother died tragically when he was 13. He
then lived with his Aunt Annie in Wimbledon Park. His
grandfather had left money left in trust for the children’s
education and Jim was sent to Kings College School, Wimbledon.
However, the trustees misappropriated the funds and he had to
leave school before matriculating at 17.
- BRIEF CAREER OUTLINE: After
gaining his degree and a Dip.Ed., Jim was appointed Head of the
English department at Dulwich
College. A colleague describes him as
‘a missionary head of English. I liked him enormously.
In the moments of relaxation from burning with a hard, gemlike
flame (or whatever it is) he could be very funny indeed.
outstandingly good teacher.’
1962 Jim was appointed first Head of English
at the new Church of England teacher training college – Christ
Church College, Canterbury, where he remained until 1982.
During this time he taught Shakespeare, Victorian and Modern
Literature, as well as administering the English Department. (H.G)
- 1949-1962: Head of
English Dept., Dulwich College
- 1953: MA (Cantab)
- 1962-1982: Principal Lecturer: Christ
Church College, Canterbury
- Chair: Univ.
London, Institute of Education Standing Committee in
- 1956-1984: English
Examiner (O & A levels) & Univ. Lon.B.Ed degrees
- 1975: General Editor:
Macmillan Student's Hardy Series
- 1979: Ph.D, London
- 1979:General Editor of Macmillan Master Guides to English
- 1985-1990: Founder and
Editor, Thomas Hardy Society Journal
- 1992-1995: Chair of
the Thomas Hardy Society
- 1976: Editor, Thomas
Hardy: The Complete Poems, (Macmillan)
- 1979: Editor: The
Variorum Edition of the Complete Poems of Thomas Hardy (Macmillan)
- 1996: Thomas Hardy: A
Literary Life (Macmillan)
Thomas Hardy: Interviews and Recollections (Macmillan 1999)
- 21, Abbot's
- Cerne Abbas
- Dorchester DT2
was a Founder Member & Vice President
Thomas Hardy Association
- Vice President
- The Thomas
King’s College School, Wimbledon
- After leaving
school, Jim worked in the
London office of a large Sheffield
firm, Newton Chambers. In 1937 he was earning £2 a week. He joined
the T.A. in 1938, and was called up in 1939. Newton Chambers sent him
parcels throughout the war.
- War Service
- He was in the
Royal Army Service Corps, serving in
France, narrowly escaping death in the
retreat to Calais, arriving back in England on the ‘Kohistan’, the
last boat to leave Calais ahead of the advancing German army. He was
then posted to Egypt, achieving the rank of Captain in 1942, and was
engaged with local resources work, often working in ‘mufti’ obtaining
food and other supplies for the Army.
- A life-changing
moment occurred in Egypt at the end of the war, when, at the
suggestion of his British Council friend ‘Buckles’, Jim wrote 20
letters. He wrote 10 applications to Oxford colleges and 10 to
Cambridge colleges. On his return to England in May 1946, there were
20 replies, Nineteen said that without matric he was not qualified,
but the twentieth, Queens’ College, Cambridge offered him an
interview, and he began reading English that year. He regarded the
opportunity to immerse himself in the best of English literature in
the Cambridge of peacetime England as a wonderful experience. (H.G)
for the Life
- Friday 22nd
April, 2005 1.00pm
- Conducted by
- The Rev. Janet
- Organist :
- Selection from
Vesper Voluntaries, Elgar
- Selection from
Hardy Interludes: Barry Ferguson
- Ave Verum
- WELCOME &
Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.
- READING: I
bei mir, J..S.Bach
- Claire, Tony,
The Lord’s My Shepherd.
Great Things, Hardy
Prelude on Mt Ephraim
- From Hardy
Interludes, Barry Ferguson.
When I Set Out for Lyonnesse, Hardy
Vesper Voluntary No.7, Elgar.
David;s Prayer for Jim.
All People That on Earth Do Dwell.
The Oxen, Hardy.
Final Chorale from St.John
- Fugue in C,
- Air from Suite
No.3, J. S.Bach
- Donations for
Cancer Research, UK: c/o Grassby
Funeral Service, 8 Princes Street, Dorchester.