»  Letter: Friday, July 5, 1974

    J.R. Derbyshire to John Derbyshire

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J R Derbyshire
62 Friars Avenue
Delapre Northampton


62 FRIARS AV.  N'TON 4 -7 - 74

Dear Son

Many thanks for your welcome letter received today & please dont wait so long next time (5 weeks) if you could only see your Mum's face this last 3 weeks you would understand what I mean, so do try to let us know oftener that you are OK, if its only a card. I understand as I have done the same myself & in consequence I was 7 months before I knew my only brother had been killed[2] & I can't tell you how I felt, so just to keep us happy dont delay to long.

I am glad you have changed your digs as it would be a long haul from where you where if the car didn't start one morning, it does happen you know? It sounds a hick town alright I hope your apartment is at the right part of town. I am pleased to hear you are enjoying your job as you say its experience which will always stand you in good stead. I always found the old saying true SIC when in Rome do as the Romans do. the least you can do, if you are prospering in their country, is not to run it, or their customs down. so try to see their point of view. I am reading a book by Alistair COOKE called AMERICA. its well worth reading as it covers, in detail with photos & paintings from the first voyage of Columbus & the Yanks have more cause to be proud of their past & 4th of July than anything we have done in the past.[3]  sorry for the lecture it only meant to keep you up to date

Mum went on holiday last Sat: till Sunday evening when she gets back. She has gone with Mrs Lamb Derick's mother they are staying in an Hotel in Newquay & every day they go to a famous beauty spot or historic place all up the coast. I tried to contact he at the hotel but couldnt get through so she wont know till she gets back, that you have changed your address & she has written to the old address so I hope they send them on to you. Judith phoned me lunchtime & said they had sold the house & they expected to be leaving here end of July I have no doubt they will be looking you up. I am sorry for little Tessa as she will be torn apart leaving he Gran as there is no one like her Gran. & she loves to get here & naturally she loves her Mum & Dad as well & she has been used to having them both on hand Bless her she gets more loveable every day & we shall miss her I am worried about Mum It will break her heart when she goes Anyway we shall have to cross them bridges when we get to them. Noel & Robert called to see me in the middle of writing this letter. they only got back from Spain last Sunday after 2 weeks holiday. Robert is a cop now pounding the beat. he says he likes it Noel is looking well he said Dot kicked them out whilst she gets the house ready for them to paint & paper. the weather here is cold & wet everywhere cold & damp miserable & no sign of any change I dont know what the weather is like in Cornwall I think its country wide Wimbledon is washed out & cricket & in Germany at World Cup they were sucking the water off the pitch with hoses had the fire brigade on the job. Auntie Cis & Fred went to Malta for 2 weeks & enjoyed it.

I dont know what is going to happen here everything is in a turmoil & its sink or swim in the next 8 - 9 months. No one takes any notice of the Government there is no law & order & its every one for hisself so what with IRA & Northern Ireland Anarchy is rife I want to get hold of a gun because if what I think is going to happen I shall have to use one & I will shoot any bastard who tries anything on with me I only wish I was 40 yrs younger I wouldn't care two hoots but I am not kidding It only wants a spark to set it alight & everyone knows what wants doing but no one has the guts to do it. Well I hope that cheered you up I have had my day but I worry for you & children like Tessa there isn't much to look forward to. In my day it was poverty which caused unrest no one in this country has that excuse now & the unrest is worse, & by the way that girl friend of yours from your London Digs never forwarded your things on to us I dont know what she did with them. Had a letter from Enid who is in Lebenon but is coming over & asked for your address & Mum will have sent her your old address & she will be writing to you there.

Well Son I hope these few words have set you thinking, eased your mind, I was going to say & Educated you but I am to old fashioned for that my world is gone for ever & you dont get another chance, pity, what a nice nest one could build is we had another chance but look after your self & we are always thinking about you & wishing you all the best

love Dad.

I hope you can decipher this as my hand is not to steady. The spirit is strong but I am at that stage now, if I have a hard on its a sign I want to piss



  1. I had moved out of the rooming house in New Rochelle some time in June, to a small self-contained apartment tacked on to the side of a house at this address. Rent was $125 a month, I recall.
  2. Uncle Tommy was killed May 28, 1930, so this implies Dad didn't know of the event until December 1930, when Noel was nearly a year old.
  3. A nice touch of Americophilia there from Dad. He actually nursed the standard mid-20th-century English prejudices against Americans. He thought Americans were boastful, violent, and sanctimonious, and their military people ill-disciplined. There was no malice in it, though. He admired the U.S.A.'s material success, and several times in these letters urged me to stay in the U.S.A., as Britain was "finished."