Henry Vollam Morton
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|Born||Henry Vollam Morton
26 July 1892
|Died||18 June 1979
Cape Town, South Africa
|Occupation||Journalist and writer|
|Genre||Travel writing, Journalism|
|Notable works||In Search of... series|
Violet Mary Muskett
Henry Canova Vollam Morton FRSL (known as H. V. Morton), (26 July 1892 – 18 June 1979) was a journalist and pioneering travel writer from Lancashire, England. He was best known for his prolific and popular books on London, Great Britain and the Holy Land. He first achieved fame in 1923 when, while working for the Daily Express, he scooped the official Times correspondent during the coverage of the opening of the Tomb of Tutankhamon by Howard Carter in Egypt.
Morton was born at Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, the son of Joseph Morton, editor of the Birmingham Mail, and Margaret Maclean Ewart. He was educated at King Edward's School in Birmingham but left at the age of 16 to pursue a career in journalism. In the late 1940s he emigrated to South Africa, settling near Cape Town in Somerset West, and became a South African citizen. He married Dorothy Vaughton (born 1887) on 14 September 1915. They divorced, and on 4 January 1934, he married Violet Mary Muskett (née Greig, born 1900). She survived him.
After leaving school, Morton entered journalism on the staff of the newspaper edited by his father, the Birmingham Gazette and Express. After two years, he became its assistant editor in 1912; he moved to London, and spent most of the rest of his British career there, on various national newspapers and magazines. His first job in the capital was as a subeditor on the Daily Mail.
He served in the Warwickshire Yeomanry during World War I, but saw no action. After the war, he returned to London and journalism, from 1919 on the Evening Standard, and from 1921 on the Daily Express. His columns on London life in the latter became very popular.
In 1923 Morton reported on the opening of the tomb of Tutankhamun after out-manoeuvering the official Times journalist who had been given exclusive rights to the story. A day after the opening of the inner burial chamber containing the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun the discovery was reported in the Daily Express.
"The romantic secret of the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings at Luxor was revealed yesterday when, for the first time in 3,000 years, the inner chamber of the tomb was entered. Every expectation was surpassed. Within the chamber stood an immense sarcophagus of glittering gold, which is almost certain to contain the mummy of the king. Wonderful paintings, including that of a giant cat, covered the walls. A second chamber was crowded with priceless treasures."
— H.V Morton, Daily Express, Saturday 17th of February, 1923
From 1931 to 1942, he was "special writer" at the Daily Herald. In 1941, he attended and reported on the Atlantic Charter between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The meeting became the subject of his book Atlantic Meeting and was published in 1943.
Morton's first book, The Heart of London, appeared in 1925, and was a development of his popular Daily Express columns. This was followed by two further collections of his writings on London, in Spells of London (1926), and Nights of London (1926). In 1926, as motoring was becoming established in the UK, he set off to drive around England in a bull-nosed Morris, an early mass-produced motor-car. His account of these travels and of the England of the 1920s was published in 1927 as In Search of England, a best-seller that established him as one of the leading travel-writers of the age. This was followed by a number of similar books dealing with the nations of Britain and Ireland.
Even greater acclaim greeted Morton's first foreign travel book, In the Steps of the Master (1934), which sold over half a million copies. The Master of the title was Jesus, and the book was an account of Morton's travels in the Holy Land. This was soon followed by In the Steps of St. Paul (1936), which presents a picture of Ataturk's Turkey. 
This was followed by Through Lands of the Bible (1938) in which he visits Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Iraq. Extracts from all three books were combined and published as Middle East during World War II for the servicemen stationed there.
During the Second World War, in addition to Atlantic Meeting (1941), Morton published two books describing England under the shadow of war, including a further collection of essays on London in Ghosts of London (1939), and I Saw Two Englands (1942). A full-length book about London and its history which examined the bomb damage was published in 1951 (In Search of London).
After the war, Morton turned his attention to South Africa, publishing In Search of South Africa in 1948. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he wrote a number of books dealing with Spain and Italy. A Traveller in Italy deals with Northern Italy, whilst "A Traveller in Southern Italy" deals with the remaining provinces in the South of Italy.
Morton became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL).[when?] Greece made him a Commander of the Order of the Phoenix in 1937 and he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 1965. There is a blue plaque, commemorating his birth in Ashton-under-Lyne.
A biography, by Michael Bartholomew, based on Morton's private papers, titled In Search of H.V.Morton was published by Methuen in 2004. Reading of Morton's private diaries and memoirs reveal that he had some possible Nazi sympathies. His private writings also reveal that he was a frequent adulterer.
Morton was a prolific writer, his body of work containing many hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles and features in addition to his works on travel journalism.
|The Heart of London||11 June 1925|
|The Spell of London||11 February 1926|
|The London Scene||1926|
|The London Year, A Book of Many Moods|
|The Nights of London||11 November 1926|
|When You go to London||1927|
|May Fair: How the Site of a Low Carnival Became the Heart of Fashionable London||1927|
|In Search of England||2 June 1927|
|In Search of Scotland||1 August 1929|
|The Soul of Scotland||1930|
|In Search of Ireland||4 December 1930|
|In Search of Wales||16 June 1932|
|Blue Days at Sea, and Other Essays||20 October 1932|
|Glastonbury, the Jerusalem of England||1933|
|What I Saw in The Slums||1933|
|A London Year||1933|
|In Scotland Again||26 October 1933|
|In The Steps of the Master||October 1934|
|Our Fellow Men||7 May 1936|
|In The Steps of St. Paul||October 1936|
|London: A Guide||1937|
|Through Lands of The Bible||27 October 1938|
|The Ghosts of London||16 November 1939|
|Travel in War Time||circa 1940|
|H.V. Morton's London||31 October 1940|
|Women of the Bible||21 November 1940|
|Middle East||5 June 1941|
|I, James Blunt||1942|
|I Saw Two Englands||15 October 1942|
|Atlantic Meeting||1 April 1943|
|Travels in Palestine and Syria||September 1944|
|In Search of South Africa||21 October 1948|
|In Search of London||24 May 1951|
|In The Steps of Jesus||1953|
|A Stranger in Spain||3 February 1955|
|A Traveller in Rome||29 August 1957|
|This is Rome||1959|
|This is the Holy Land||1961|
|A Traveller in Italy||24 September 1964|
|The Waters of Rome||1966|
|The Fountains of Rome||1966|
|A Traveller in Southern Italy||1969|
|H.V. Morton's Britain||February 1969|
|H.V. Morton's England||5 June 1975|
|The Splendour of Scotland||11 November 1976|
|The Magic of Ireland||17 August 1978|
|In Search of The Holy Land||April 1979|
- H.V. Morton ebooks
- In Search of H V Morton by Michael Bartholomew (authorized biography. Methuen. 2006)
- "A very English hypocrite" Max Hastings reviews In Search of H. V. Morton by Michael Bartholomew