Author looks for support for his latest Elgar book

Malvern Gazette: INSPIRATION FOR ELGAR: The Norbury family are pictured above in 1892 outside their family home, Sherridge, in Leigh Sinton. Winifred, Elgar's closest friend, is seen seated far right in the middle row. INSPIRATION FOR ELGAR: The Norbury family are pictured above in 1892 outside their family home, Sherridge, in Leigh Sinton. Winifred, Elgar's closest friend, is seen seated far right in the middle row.

AN author who has published several books about famous Malvern composer Sir Edward Elgar is looking for supporters to ensure that his latest volume is published.

Among previous works by Kevin Allen are Elgar the Cyclist, Elgar In Love and August Jaeger, Portrait of Nimrod, about the man who inspired one of the Enigma Variations.

Another variation, the eighth, W N, is dedicated to Winifred Norbury, a member of a family of country gentry living at Sherridge, a 19th-century country house near Leigh Sinton, who became a friend of Elgar’s.

Until recently, little was known about Winifred, her circle and her connection with Elgar.

But during his Elgar researches, Mr Allen was allowed access to the family archives at Sherridge.

He said: “It was a real treasure trove, drawers and drawers full of letters, shelves and shelves of diaries.”

This rich source of material has provided the basis for Mr Allen’s next book, Gracious Ladies: Edward Elgar and the Norbury Family, the first volume of which is scheduled for publication next summer.

Now Mr Allen is asking for subscribers to the book, who will pay now to ensure he has the money to finish the project.

“Winifred Norbury helped Elgar a great deal and together with her house and family is the subject of the eighth of the Enigma Variations,” said Mr Allen.

“The letters reveal a great deal of the lives of the Victorian gentry in Worcestershire, especially the role of women in supporting music, sports, cultural and social life, and welfare in the Malvern area.”

The book describes how Winifred Norbury and her sisters, along with other musical women of the area, supported Elgar, founding the Worcestershire Philharmonic Society to help him advance his music.

Leaflets for potential subscribers are now available from Malvern Library.

Mr Allen can also be contacted at 2 Milford Court, Gale Moor Avenue, Alverstok

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