Mrs. G.P. Lea / Jocelyn C. Lea

This is Mrs. George Percy Lea, that is, Jocelyn Clara Lea, who married her (much older) cousin in 1910, and was born in 1889. He owned a small carpet-making business in Kidderminster in 1911. She was born in Highgate. She had four or five children. She uses the name Jocelyn C. Lea in later victories. She died in Kidderminster in 1981.

At the time she was a WR subscriber, Jocelyn Lea had already published a collection of poems (Purple Boggarts in 1921), and a few novels, including Cork The Conqueror, Waste, Bringing Up Dinah and others – but does not appear to have continued being published after about 1931. She was a Spectator subscriber. She wrote a very pertinent letter to The Spectator in 1928 complaining that a review of a detective novel had disclosed the ending (and received a lengthy reply in print from the editor which tried desperately to justify the review, e.g. detective novels have lots of colour, it’s not just about the ending, the title gave it away, and so on …). She won a limerick competition in 1931 in The Spectator with a comment on a literary broadcast by Harold Nicholson (Vita Sackville-West’s husband, who had only just left the diplomatic service, and was taking on as much work as he could) . Nicholson wanted to broadcast talks on authors such as Joyce and Lawrence, but Lord Reith was having none of it, and Nicholson’s talks were censored. At the start of 1932, Hilda Matheson, the BBC’s talks editor, resigned in protest (Matheson, as it happens, was another of Sackville-West’s lovers).

The limerick went as follows:

I – er – strongly object to the rule
Of the early Victorian school:
I shall say what I like
When I come to the mike –
If the public turns pink, it’s a fool.

1930

First Prize in IB. £1.1s.0d.

1931

Wins 71B: £1.1s.0d
Wins 92B: £1.1s.0d

1932

Wins 103A: £2.2s.0d