Obituary: Lettice Cooper

MAY I add to Francis King's obituary of Lettice Cooper (27 July)? writes Jean MacVean.

I first met Lettice in Yorkshire before the war. I remember her coming up our garden path to meet my mother, the writer Phyllis Hambledon. When I went to London in 1941 I stayed in the small private hotel where Lettice and her sister Barbara were living. Lettice's patriotism led her to give up her writing for the duration, though she had had a considerable success with National Provincial (1938). She joined the Ministry of Food as a voice for Lord Woolton, whom she much admired. She was also an air raid warden. Barbara Cooper, who had published a novel of her own, assisted John Lehmann on Penguin New Writing.

When the war was over, the Coopers moved to a flat in Swiss Cottage and I moved to a flat of my own. After I married, Lettice became the godmother for my daughter and Barbara for my son. They were always extraordinarily kind both to them and to me. I used to see them as a sort of Sisters Cheeryble not only to me, but to many of their friends.

In this hospitable flat with its huge Victorian screen covered with vivid scraps of the same period, they threw their wonderful parties. These were always lively. I remember Elizabeth Jennings having an argument with Martin

Seymour-Smith, a Turkish poet who sent me some real Turkish delight, the Israeli poet Pinhas Sadeh, John Lehmann, Charles Osborne, Pamela Frankau and many others. Barbara brought her collection of young writers and poets from the London Magazine who recited the wilder poems the magazine received. I remember one to Edith Sitwell which began 'Edith, Edith, poetry's monolith'.

Francis King mentions Lettice's interest in psychoanalysis. She was a fervent Freudian. I think it helped her: a great deal of her understanding and compassion originated in this discipline.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Recruitment Genius: HR Advisor

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our Client has been the leader ...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea