2000.053: Audio letter from David Wills to Kathleen Jennett (c. 1958)
The recordings below are an audio letter from PETT founding Trustee David Wills to his niece Kathleen Jennett which he sent from England to Kathleen in the United States following a visit in around 1958/1960. Originally recorded by David on tape, Kathleen had them transfered to gramophone records to ensure their survival (a reminder of how recently tape became a trusted and more or less reliable long-term medium). In 2000 she had the four tracks transferred to CD, which she sent to the Archive and Study Centre.
In the letter David Wills shares some reflections on America and England, with some excerpts from recorded music (which have been abbreviated in the versions shared here); but his larger use of the tapes is to read poetry. Poetry, and reading poetry with and to others forms an essential part of David Wills' personal and professional life from our earliest documentary encounters with him. We have reports of his reading poetry with young people and fellow members of staff as a 'brother' at Wallingford Farm Training Colony in the 1920s, as the warden of Barns Hostel and School during the Second World War, at Bodenham Manor later, and wherever he was in between.