George Bramwell Evens
George Bramwell Evens
3 Argyll Street, Anlaby Road, Hull, England
|Died||20 November 1943|
|Known for||Out With Romany|
The Rev. George Bramwell Evens (1884–20 November 1943) was, under the pseudonym Romany (and sometimes The Tramp), a British radio broadcaster and writer on countryside and natural history matters – quite possibly the first to broadcast on such issues. He was also a Minister of the Methodist Church.
Evens' mother was Romani, born in a vardo (gypsy wagon). His father was Salvation Army Lieutenant George Evens, a native of Plymouth. He was born at 3 Argyll Street, Anlaby Road, Hull, England and educated at Epworth College, Rhyl, as boarder, then at Queens College, Taunton. He married Eunice, the daughter of The Reverend Owen Thomas on 1 August 1911.
He is most famous for his Out with the Romany radio programmes (later Out with Romany), which commenced in 1933 on the BBC's Children's Hour, describing travels in his own vardo (purchased in 1921, at Brough Hill Fair, for £75), with Comma the horse, his English Cocker Spaniel, Raq, and his young friends Muriel and Doris. Although the programmes were all pre-scripted and performed entirely in the studio, the impression given was of Romany and his friends going for a walk in the countryside and spontaneously discussing the plants and animals they came across. Raphael Samuel saw the programme as instrumental in making the countryside desirable for a generation of listeners. Simon Barnes has paid tribute to how his father (radio) and himself (books) were drawn to natural history by Romany: "I longed to walk through the country with the all-knowing, all-seeing Romany".
As a Methodist minister, Evens' ministries included Goole; the Methodist Central Hall, Carlisle (1914–26); Huddersfield (1926–29); and the King Cross Methodist Chapel, Halifax (1929–39), after which ill health forced him to give up the ministry. He retired to Wilmslow, where he died, leaving his wife, son Glyn and daughter, Romany June.
His ashes were scattered, at his request, at Old Parks Farm, Glassonby, Cumbria, which he had enjoyed visiting over a 22-year period: in 2001, a memorial to him was erected to him there by The Romany Society.
The vardo was donated, unconditionally, by his widow, to the forerunners of Cheshire East Borough Council (CEBC). For many years it was displayed by CEBC, outdoors, in Wilmslow. In late 2012, having deteriorated badly, it was restored and moved to Bradford Industrial Museum, to be displayed indoors.
The BBC radio programmes were all broadcast live, and only one recording survives – dated October 1943, just a month before his death. It was released on CD in 2006.
The books were analysed, from a collector's point of view, in the January 2002 edition of Book and Magazine Collector magazine.
Original Romany Books
(Credited to G. Bramwell Evens)
- A Romany in the Fields (Epworth Press, 1929)
- A Romany and Raq (Epworth Press, 1930)
- A Romany in the Country (Epworth Press, 1932)
- A Romany on the Trail (Epworth Press, 1934; illustrations by Reg Gammon)
- Out with Romany (University of London Press (UoL), 1937; illustrations by Gammon and photographs by Romany)
- Out with Romany Again (UoL, 1938; line drawings by Gammon and photographs by Romany)
- Out with Romany Once More (UoL, 1940; illustrations by Gammon)
- Out with Romany by the Sea (UoL, 1941; illustrations by Gammon and photographs by Romany)
- Out with Romany by Meadow and Stream (UoL, 1942; illustrations by Gammon)
- Out With Romany by Moor and Dale (UoL, 1944; illustrations by Gammon)
- Walks with Romany (E.J. Arnold & Son, undated)
The Romany Readers
Published by the University of London Press in 1951.
- Hotchi the Hedgehog
- Smut the Hare
- Flash the Fox
- Spook the Barn-owl
- Pete and Prue the Partridges
- Nick the Weasel
- Billy the Squirrel
- Sleek the Otter
By Romany's son
Written by Romany's son, Glyn K. Evens.
- Romany, Muriel & Doris (told by Raq) (UoL; illustrations by Gammon)
- Romany Turns Detective
- Romany on the Farm
- Romany's Caravan Returns
By Romany's wife
Written by Romany's wife, Eunice Evens.
- Through the Years with Romany (UoL, 1946)
By Romany's friend
Written by Romany's friend, H.L. Gee.
- The Spirit of Romany (St. Hugh's Press, 1949)
A new Romany Book
Written by Phil Shelley, Publications Officer for the Romany Society, and illustrated by Ray Hollands.
- Romany in the Lanes (Lamorna Publications, 2007)
- Romany Returns, Guy Loveridge (includes reprints of some stories)
- Norman Ellison aka Nomad the Naturalist.
- Joyce, George; Joyce, Joyce. "Notes on Romany with Special Reference to Carlisle Central Hall and Kirkoswald Circuit". The Romany Society. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- R Samuel, Theatres of Memory Vol I (London 1994) p. 235
- S Barnes, How to be a Bad Birdwatcher (London 2004) p. 45
- Plaque at Old Parks Farm, see image on Flickr
- "The Vardo". Romany Magazine. The Romany Society. 17: 22. 2012.
- "Welcome to the Romany Society website". The Romany Society. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- "Romany of the BBC". Valley Stream Productions website. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
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