In 1913, poet Edward Thomas cycled from London to Somerset to “meet the spring”. The vivid account of his journey, In Pursuit of Spring, was published the following year. Thomas died on the western front in 1917.
More than 100 years later, his nature classic is being republished by Little Toller, with previously unseen photographs of his journey offering us a glimpse of England before the first world war.
Adrian Sherratt travelled to the locations of these pictures to photograph what they look like today. Click on the blue buttons to see the difference
“On the journey from London to Somerset that became In Pursuit of Spring,Edward Thomas took many photographs of the churches, farmyards, cottages, lanes, fields and hedgerows he passed along the way,” writes Alexandra Harris in the foreword to the republished edition. “Published in a book for the first time, these images enrich the original text by offering us a glimpse of England before the first world war and give us rare insight into what drew the poet’s eye as he wandered the byways and highways westward.
“The photographs are part of a larger Edward Thomas collection looked after by the Special Collections and Archives team at Cardiff University, having been donated to the university by the Thomas family in the 1970s.Continue reading...