Rediscovered 1920s Willenhall Scholar To Appear At Sonnets For Shakespeare

A forgotten 1920s Willenhall scholar and teacher is to feature at the inaugral event at BritGrad 2020 with Sonnets for Shakespeare in aid of Shakespeare`s Globe Theatre and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Harold Percival Kingston, who was born in 1895 and grew up in the family drapery store at 26 Cross Street, Willenhall, was awarded a BA degree with honours at Birmingham University in 1925 followed by an MA in 1932. He spent his whole career working in schools including Queen Mary`s Grammar School in Walsall and Bilston Grammar School where he became headmaster for the last 6 years before retiring in 1955 at the age of 60 years. He died the following year without leaving behind any children. He was forgotten until an octogenarian called Oliver Johnson from Southport tracked down Bob Rushton from the Willenhall History Society to donate an old suitcase last year. Within this old suitcase were Harold`s poetry and water colours that included Harold`s awards for his writing. Unfortunately there was a considerable quantity of hand-written poetry that was unreadable and needed to be translated. “It was at this point that I entered the picture” explained Willenhall solicitor and poet Ian Henery. “Bob Rushton gave me the poems and I paid for the services of a professional translator to decipher Harold`s handwriting. A lot of the poetry was written in the 1920s and he clearly excelled at English Literature, being awarded the Bunce Prize and for 2 years running the Student Association Prize for Poetry. Harold was inspired by the style of Thomas Hardy and A.E. Housman but was important, for me, was to hear the voice of a Willenhall poet from that era who had been forgotten to time. I wanted him to sing again and for all of us to be given the opportunity of hearing his voice once more”. Ian Henery, who is co-chairing Sonnets for Shakespeare with Lucy Heuschen at the prestigious Annual British Graduate Shakespeare Conference (BritGrad Festival) between 14th – 20th September, will be giving an exclusive reading of Harold`s poem “Shakespeare`s Tongue” on Wednesday 16th September. Sonnets for Shakespeare is the brainchild of Walsall solicitor, poet and Hope Radio presenter Ian Henery and his friend and fellow poet Lucy Heuschen. Together they wanted to create a project that would support the ongoing work of 2 great mainstays of our culture – the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Shakespeare`s Globe Theatre. “The arts sector has suffered massive loss of income during COVID as many places rely on visitors to stay afloat” said Lucy. “We want to do our part to secure cultural opportunity for future generations. What better way than by creating an inclusive writing project inspired by Shakespeare?”

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