Come Back that Boy!
An Evacuee's Tale - Childhood & Adolescence during and after the Second World War
By Peter Lloyd Jones
Peter Lloyd Jones (b. 1932)
studied chemistry at Imperial College and went on to take his doctorate at Kings College Cambridge. However his real love was painting and to his undying gratitude William Coldsteam admitted him to the Slade School of Art. There he combined a part-time course in drawing with three years post-doctoral research on ‘old master’ paint media at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Here he came under the influence of Ernst Gombrich and started to write theoretical papers on art and science.
He began his teaching career at Wimbledon School of Art. Subsequently his interest shifted to design education and he became Head of Three Dimensional Design at Kingston Univ. During this time he wrote many papers on issues in aesthetics and design theory. His book Taste Today about the role of design in consumerism won the International Robert Maxwell Prize. Stonehenge Tomorrow set the agenda for the presentation of Neolithic monuments in an age of mass tourism.
He was appointed Professor Emeritus in 1992. Throughout this period he continued to paint and exhibit, with five one-man shows. (An archive of recent painting is on www.peterlloydjones.co.uk). On his retirement he re-established his studio in Cornwall. He has recently completed an autobiography in five volumes.
Peter Lloyd Jones has had a long and varied career as scientist, artist, designer, teacher and author. Come back that boy! tells how all this began in a childhood during the depression years of the 1930’s. His parents were poor – his father worked on the railway - but they managed to buy a small house in one of the new suburbs springing up around outer London. His first memories are of a world that was literally being built around him. At the outbreak of WWII, he joined millions of other children in the mass evacuation from London and other major cities. Moving from Cornwall to Surrey and then Hertford it was not only his education that was disrupted. Although he was well looked after, this brutal separation from home and family proved more traumatic than he knew at the time. His father died suddenly while he was evacuated and this loss was both inexplicable and irreparable.
On the surface things went well. He won a scholarship to the grammar school, went on to university, gained a doctorate at Cambridge and began to work as a scientist. But he knew that for him science was a wrong-turning. He had always wanted to paint and was obsessed with playing jazz piano but back in the 1950’s few could hope to earn a living through either. Vacillating wildly between worlds he wondered if he would ever find a direction – or himself.
This book recovers something of ‘that boy’, the one who stumbled along for seven decades, hiding behind the façade of a pretend adulthood. The author casts a keen eye – mostly affectionate, but on occasion caustic – on those who looked after him and those who taught him. But his sharpest observations are reserved for himself and his struggles to discover an identity as an artist in a working-class world always poverty-stricken and often Philistine. Although this part of his story breaks-off during his student years ‘that boy’ only really grew-up when in old age, he at last learned how to tie his shoe-laces, a haunting evocation of a day in 1940 when he awoke in a strange house in a strange town to begin five years of separation from home and family.
Amusing and poignant by turn, his tales of schoolboy pranks and student rags or his disastrous debut in the life-class alternate with stark pictures of life in post-war London as he returns from evacuation to find that home is now a bomb-damaged house with no father and a mother forced to work in a factory to keep the family together. His recollections are finely detailed and give us a real feeling of what it was like to live in a period now fast fading into history.
'An engaging life story, plainly told. ...I took a long time reading Come back that boy! but I did read it and I was fully engaged the whole time, from start to finish. Peter Lloyd Jones, who was that boy, has brought him back to life with humour, understanding and clarity of vision. This is an authentic autobiography, plainly and engagingly written. I was left at the end wanting to get to know the adult in the way I had got to know the child.'
- Reader review from Amazon.co.uk
Independently Published 2012 (Intract)
ISBN: 9780957156203 - 544 pages - Paperback
World Rights Available