Bowbrick Country

A 1937 Vincent Rapide at Stevenage Museum
How did I manage to live in Stevenage (Saxon settlement and blighted Sixties new town) between the ages of seven and twenty without ever learning that E.M. Forster wrote Howards End there and that they call the country to the North of the town Forster Country? In the Seventies, when I was growing up there, The Sun called Stevenage ‘the glue sniffing capital of Great Britain’ which we all thought was pretty funny. Punk exotic John Cooper Clark lived opposite my school (why?) and they used to make gorgeous Vincents like the one in the picture in a shed next door (but they stopped doing that in the 1930s). I have Radio 4’s Open Country (which is rapidly becoming my favourite programme) to thank for this new knowledge about Stevenage’s spurious literary heritage.

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