Sunday, 18 January 2015

Alberta Vickridge (1890 - 1963)


Alberta was born in Bradford in around 1890.  Her parents were Albert S. Vickridge and his wife Edith, nee Wardlow.  After Alberta came Marian (1891 - 1970) and Hilda (1892 - 1985).  Hilda was the only one of the sisters to marry.  The family lived in Beamsley House in Frizinghall from 1895.

The three girls had a grammar school education, attending Bradford Girls' Grammar School and Alberta went on to attended Bradford School of Art.

The family wintered in Torquay in Devon due to Edith Vickridge's ill health.

Alberta's writing was encourage by her father, who had a volume of her work privately printed for her fourteenth birthday.  She wrote poems and articles which were published in leading newspapers and magazines of the time.

When war broke out in 1914, Alberta would have been about 24.  By then her poems were being published in the magazine "The Wayfarer".   The editor of the magazine was called up and Alberta took over the job of editing the publication until 1927.

Alberta volunteered to join the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) and nursed at the hospital which had been set up in Torquay Town Hall by the Red Cross.  Agatha Christie, another Female Poets of the First World War, was also VAD with the Red Cross in Torquay and served at the same time as Alberta. They became friends.

After the war, Alberta began working on the poem that brought her lasting renown - "The Forsaken Princess" - and in 1924 she entered the poem into a poetry competition at The Southern Counties Eisteddfod, which was held in Torquay that year.  Alberta's poem won and she was awarded a Bardic Chair and Crown.

Alberta was friends with Yorkshire poets Wilfred Rowland Childe, J.B. Priestly, Sydney Matthewman, Geoffrey Woledge and Dorothy Una Ratcliffe.  In 1927 Alberta founded the magazine "The Jongleur" which was published until 1956.   She purchased a printing press and founded her own printing company.

Alberta died at Beamsley House in 1963.

Alberta's collection of First World War poems was published in 1919 under the title "The Sea Gazer (and other poems)" by Erskine Macdonald.   Poems by Alberta Vickridge were also included in the WW1 Anthologies "A Treasury of War Poetry, 1914 - 1919", edited by George Herbert Clarke and published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1919 and in "Poems of the Great War. Selected on behalf of the Belgian Scholarship Committee" edited by John William Cunliffe and published in New York by Macmillan in 1916.

With thanks to Colin Woodbine for replying to my e-mail after seeing his website http://alberta-vickridge.info/

Sources: 

Reilly, Catherine W. "English Poetry of the First World War A Bibliography" published in 1978 by St. Martin's Press Inc., New York.

Reilly, Catherine W. "Scars upon my Heart" published by Virago Press in 1981.
https://keatsghost.wordpress.com/connections/people/alberta-vickridge/

http://alberta-vickridge.info

www.freebmd.org.uk

Photo from http://alberta-vickridge.info/ and according to Colin supplied by Alberta's nephew - Alberta Vickridge in her VAD Uniform, WW1.

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