THE BIRTHDAY of poet and writer AE Housman was celebrated on Bromsgrove High Street last Friday.
It was the first time in two years the commemoration had taken place in public, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The author of ‘A Shropshire Lad’ and proud Bromsgrove son was born in the town in 1859.
He grew up at Perry Hall and was a pupil at Bromsgrove School.
After studying at Oxford he went on to become Professor of Latin at University College, London, and published his famous collection of poems in 1896. Such is its success, it has never since been out of print.
Housman moved to Cambridge in 1911 and spent the rest of his life there as Professor of Latin and a Fellow of Trinity College.
He was recognised as the outstanding classical scholar of his age but published one more collection of poetry 1922.
Society members gathered around Housman’s statue in the High Street to mark not only his birthday but also the centenary of this second volume which was titled simply Last Poems.
AE Housman died in Cambridge in 1936.
The Society’s special guest for last Friday’s event was Jo Slade, latterly Bailiff of Bromsgrove.
She read her choice of Housman’s poems at the statue before she joined members and other guests, including Bromsgrove District Council Leader, Coun Karen May, for lunch at Bromsgrove School.
Society Chairman, Peter Waine, expressed his pleasure at being back in Bromsgrove after the two-year gap.
He said: “I am delighted we can once again celebrate Bromsgrove’s most famous son.
“We are especially pleased to be here in this centenary year of his second poetry collection.”