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: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all