The Diarists: This week in history


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The Independent Culture

11 June, 1940

Naomi Mitchison, novelist and poet: "Ian MacLaren said there had been bad anti-Italian riots in Campbeltown [Scotland]; the three Italian shops had been broken up. The old man had been rather rash, saying that England needed a totalitarian government and so on, but the younger ones were all decent, good citizens who gave money in charity and paid their taxes; one of the youngest is on a minesweeper. Ian had seen a crowd hanging about and wondered what was going to happen; but he went home, then heard crashes and came out and found the shops being broken up. If the tide had been in they would have put the old man in the harbour; the worst were the Polish sailors."

8 June, 1979

Ossie Clark, fashion designer, attends the wedding of Marianne Faithfull and Ben Brierley: "We were late. Marianne looked radiant, nervous, wonderful – her voice carried better than his and when she was told that Nicholas [her son] was too young to sign as a witness said: 'Never mind, darling, next time I get married.' I wish them luck."

14 June, 1877

Francis Kilvert, a young curate, records a picnic: "This afternoon Mrs Rich gave a very pleasant picnic in Berry's Hill Mead down by the river. The company, some 26, met at our house and then we moved down to the riverside through the meadows in picturesque groups and parties, the girls' pretty summer dresses lighting up the scene charmingly... From under the oaks by the river we startled two lovers lying on the grass, and they went off laughing, blushing in crimson confusion.

After tea we walked along the riverside and crossed on the bridge the deep dark broad ditch where the overhanging fronds make a delicately fringed vista in the cool green gloom. The children made excursions into the mowing grass to gather oxeye daisies and tall red sorrel and wag wantons."