21 July 2009
Lionel Britton, Cecil Thomas, and Adam Stanley Keith Make a Publishing Deal
The photo below shows Lionel Britton between his cousin Cecil Thomas and Adam Stanley Keith, both of Tweedsmuir Ave, Toronto, Canada. It was taken in London on 26 May 1964, on the occasion of the signing of a contract between the three men. The aim was to establish a publishing company - later known as the Park Group Ltd after Park House, 66 Tufnell Park Road, where Britton lived - to re-publish all of Britton's out of print works, and many of his unpublished ones. They all had great hopes that Britton's name would be written large on Broadway. Unfortunately, Britton insisted that his amplification of Bernard Shaw's play, Why She Would Not, be published first, but the other men obviously feared legal recriminations, as The Society of Authors refused to allow publication. And Britton had had a very long and bitter, almost insane, feud with the Society over this.
Cecil later adopted Adam as his son, and he became known as Justin Thomas. Justin had been abused by his parents, and although illiterate until well into his twenties, went on to gain a PhD in Psychology. He wrote an autobiography with the glorious title How I Overcame My Fear of Whores, Royalty, Gays, Teachers, Hippies, Psychiatrists, Athletes, Transvestites, Clergymen, Police, Children, Bullies, Politicians, Mothers, Fathers, Publishers, and Myself, which gives several pages of informaton on Britton's ancestors. Justin established Label Liberation and still lives in Canada. When I had a long telephone conversation with him last year, he told me of how Britton rode to the above occasion on a bicycle, and that he met Herbert Marshall and his wife in London shortly after Britton's death in 1971, when they were arranging to have all of Britton's literary effects shipped to Southen Illinois University, Carbondale, where Marshall was a professor.
Many thanks to Justin Thomas for ferreting about in wherever he had to ferret about to make this photo available, and to Robert Hughes for passing it on.