The Pink and Lily
June 3, 2011
The artist Hanslip Fletcher and his family frequented the inn and pub called the Pink and Lily, but Rupert Brooke made it famous. This little inn is located in the village of Lacey Green in the Chiltern Hills of southeast England. Rupert Brooke commemorates his time in Lacey Green and the hills with the poem “The Chilterns.” The L. Tom Perry Special Collections is fortunate enough to have acquired the Pink and Lily Inn’s visitors book dating from 1910-1938 with evidence of Rupert Brooke’s time spent there. (The call number is Vault MSS 379.)
Rupert Brooke is best known for his war sonnets from WWI. Before he enlisted with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve he spent some time at the inn with friends, including Edward Marsh, who eventually was knighted and served as Private Secretary to some of Britain’s most influential Prime Ministers. Brooke’s autograph appears on the pages of the visitors book in several locations (pp. 49 & 63). Though he brought the inn to fame, he was not the only author to grace the pages of the book. Ivor Gurney, English composer and poet, and Lance Sieveking, English writer and BBC radio and television producer, both visited the locale in 1920. Hanslip Fletcher’s art adorns these pages in several places, as he was a regular. These artists even inspired others to leave some of their own verse and art in its pages, including 12 year-old Bun Dowdall and his younger brother James (pp. 130-1). The visitors book also settles the debate as to where the name comes from. There is an article from the daily news glued into the book that explains that the name comes from a Miss Pink and a Mr. Lilly who were married and owned the property before the inn was built (p. 184).
Our rare book collection contains some early editions of Brooke’s poetry that are available to researchers. A student Reference Assistant will be more than happy to assist you with your search.