T. Michael Pope

T(homas) Michael Pope is a slightly more shadowy figure than the other members of The Week-end Review community. His literary output was more modest, although in 1930, he had edited a volume of essays, The Book of Fleet Street, which included pieces by Martin Armstrong, Gerald Barry, George Blake, Anthony Bertram, James Bone, Gerald Bullett, Robert Lynd, Edward Shanks, J.C.Squire, T. Earle Welby and Clennell Wilkinson – as well as J.B. Morton, Alec Waugh, Wyndham Lewis and Hilaire Belloc. In otherwords, he was a pivotal figure, plainly respected by his colleagues. He had come from a slightly less fortunate background than the others, and was of more modest means – he was the son of a Kennington grocer, and an only child (his father seems to have died when he was quite young).

Born in 1876, he was a ledger clerk by 1901, but had married in 1907, and was earning his way as a journalist by then, with contributions to among other periodicals, Academy, The Boy’s Own Paper, The John o’ London Weekly, and also working as a leader-writer for The Daily Graphic. In the 1920s, he worked for Squire’s paper, the London Mercury. Poems of his appear in anthologies, usually quite light in tone; and he edited a collection of prose and verse about Middlesex in 1930. The range of topics he seems to have covered is eclectic, but includes biography, poetry, the use of language.

In The Book Of Fleet Street, Barry in particular is fulsome about the influence Pope had on his own desire to be a journalist, and there are several reminiscences of him – he seems to have been known as Michael by some, and ‘Tommy’ by others. He died towards the end of 1930, and The Week-end Review published a letter from a colleague and fellow-judge, T. Earle Welby:

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