Press & media
Whitehorn, Katharine (3 of 7). Oral History of the British Press
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2009-02-12, 2009-03-03, 2009-03-20
Interviewee's home, London
Whitehorn, Katharine, 1928- (speaker, female)
Brodie, Louise (speaker, female)
Part 3: KW got to know boys at Trinity through her brother. Her first love was Jimmy Wickenden. However, he was very controlling. It was an on-off situation for quite some time. Finally she agreed to an engagement. Then realised that she couldn’t marry him though she still loved him. [7:03] Then came Bob Gatehouse, but he had another girlfriend in the north, which she suspected but didn’t acknowledge. She found a good way to end the affair. She finds it so interesting that one can know something below the level of one’s consciousness. [11:57] By her last year she had begun to know Jack Gallagher. He was a friend of George Grun. Jack was very influential on her life. She made a dress for the May ball at the last minute, leaving the Downing ball to go to the Trinity one. Stories. [15:15] She went hitch-hiking round France by herself for the summer. She had some addresses. She spent the nights in Youth Hostels. Incidents. She joined Francis and a Frenchwoman called Sylvie-Anne for a while. She had served in the Resistance during the war. Stories. [21:13] Then KW had to come back and get a job. At home in Marlborough she met someone who suggested a job at Methuen. At the interview she talked about GK Chesterton and got the job – reading the slush pile, as the publisher’s reader. KW reads slowly but remembers the books. She taught English for foreigners in the evenings. This is 1950-53. London was bleak, with pea soup fogs. KW started out in a bedsitter in Streatham, followed by one in Notting Hill Gate. She still went out with Jack though she was not in love with him. She started writing blurbs. The good thing she did was to make them publish a book on how to learn to lipread. She felt she was going nowhere either professionally or privately and answered a British Council advertisement for a teacher’s secretary in Finland, and was accepted.
Life story interview with journalist and broadcaster Katharine Whitehorn