Evelyn Sharp - All The Way To Fairyland (858.0 Kb)
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Evelyn Sharp, the ninth of eleven children, was born on 4th August 1869. Her father, James Sharp, was a slate merchant. Her brother, Cecil Sharp (1859-1924), later gained fame as the leader of the folk-dance revival. Evelyn only had a couple of years of conventional schooling, but successfully passed several university local examinations.In 1881 Evelyn Sharp, aged twelve, was sent to Strathallan House School. She enjoyed boarding school: "School was the great adventure of late Victorian girlhood, where girls for the first ti... More >>>
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Evelyn Sharp, the ninth of eleven children, was born on 4th August 1869. Her father, James Sharp, was a slate merchant. Her brother, Cecil Sharp (1859-1924), later gained fame as the leader of the folk-dance revival. Evelyn only had a couple of years of conventional schooling, but successfully passed several university local examinations.
In 1881 Evelyn Sharp, aged twelve, was sent to Strathallan House School. She enjoyed boarding school: "School was the great adventure of late Victorian girlhood, where girls for the first time found their own level." Sharp was an intelligent girl and passed the Cambridge Higher Local Examination in history. Whereas her brothers went to the University of Cambridge, she was sent to a finishing school in Paris.
Against the wishes of her family, Sharp moved to London where she undertook daily tutoring while writing articles for the Pall Mall Gazette and the girls' magazine, Atalanta. She later claimed that a writer should approach children as equals and "make them feel on a level with the author". Sharp also wrote and published several novels including, The Making of a Prig (1897), All the Way to Fairyland (1898) and The Other Side of the Sun (1900).
On 30th December 1901, Evelyn Sharp met Henry Nevinson for the first time at the Prince's Ice Rink in Knightsbridge. She later recalled, "when he took my hand in his and we skated off together as if all our life before had been a preparation for that moment." Although he was married to Margaret Nevinson, they soon became lovers. Nevinson wrote in his diary that Evelyn "was both pretty and wise - exquisite in every way". Evelyn later told him: "The first time I saw you I knew you wanted something you have never got." The situation was further complicated by the fact that Nevinson was also having an affair with Nannie Dryhurst.
Nevinson, who was an experienced journalist, helped her to find work writing articles for the Daily Chronicle and the Manchester Guardian, a newspaper that published her work for over thirty years. Sharp's journalism made her more aware of the problems of working-class women and she joined the Women's Industrial Council and the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies. Sharp and Nevinson shared the same political beliefs. He told his old friend from university, Philip Webb, that Evelyn possessed "a peculiar humour, unexpected, stringent, keen without poison" but "above all she is a supreme rebel against injustice.
Evelyn Sharp worked as a journalist and a part-time teacher. In November, 1903, her father died: "I went to Brook Green to live for the best part of a year with my mother... By the time I was free again I had lost my teaching connection, and, rather than attempt to work it up again, I determined to rely instead on journalism for my regular income. I was equally sorry to give up my private pupils and my school lecturing, which not only interested me but also brought me into contact with children at a period when I was writing stories about them. At the same time, I have never regretted a change which caused me seriously to adopt a great profession and led to many journeys and adventures that would not otherwise have come my way."
In 1905 Sharp and Nevinson established the Saturday Walking Club. Other members included William Haselden, Henry Hamilton Fyfe, Clarence Rook and Charles Lewis Hind. According to Angela V. John, the author of Evelyn Sharp: Rebel Women (2009): "Although Evelyn and Henry were serious walkers, both the Saturday Walking Club and dining with friends afforded the opportunity to be together in public in a manner that was acceptable."