Philip Mairet

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Philip Mairet (French: [mɛʁɛ]; full name: Philippe Auguste Mairet;[1] 1886–1975) was a designer, writer and journalist. He had a wide range of interest: crafts, Alfred Adler and psychiatry, and Social Credit. He was also a translator of major figures including Sartre. He wrote biographies of Sir Patrick Geddes and A. R. Orage, with both of whom he was closely associated.

Although influenced largely by the example of Orage, a follower of Gurdjieff, Mairet was in later life an Anglican Christian. As editor of the New English Weekly in the 1930s, he championed both Christian socialism (in the sense of Maurice Reckitt, a friend), as it was known at the time, and ideas on agriculture that would come together later as organic farming.[2]


He was educated at the Hornsey School of Art, becoming a draughtsman and designer of stained glass.[3] As a young man he worked in graphic design for Charles Robert Ashbee. When Ashbee re-designed the Norman Chapel House in Broad Campden he used Mairet to do the drawings. This house was for his future wife who at the time was married to Ananda Coomaraswamy. Mairet became part of the community at Chipping Campden,[4][5] and illustrating Conradin: A Philosophical Ballad (1908). He then worked for Patrick Geddes.

His wife Ethel Mairet was older than him. She had previously been married to Ananda Coomaraswamy) and she became an influential weaver[6] and teacher. Her marriage to Coomaraswamy had lasted from 1903 to 1913.[7] Philip had come to Ditchling to work as a labourer.[8] He was avoiding conscripted military service during World War I, and developed an interest in glass-making. He was at that time influenced by Dimitrije Mitrinović, attached to the Serbian Delegation in London, who met Mairet in 1917. Eventually Mairet was discovered, enrolled in the British Army, and spent a period in prison.[9]

From 1921 to 1924 he worked as an actor, at the Old Vic.[10] He began attending Orage's editorial meetings.[11]

Orage died suddenly in 1934, leaving the New English Weekly in limbo. Mairet, then the literary editor, emerged as the editor by a complex route: one group of Social Credit advocates wanted to exclude another group, of supporters of Mitrinović. Mairet was identified more with a third faction, the Chandos Group, around Maurice Reckitt, with Travers Symons, V. A. Demant, and Alan Porter.[12] This overlapped the Mitrinović group: there had been a shared interest in the journal Purpose, from 1929, and the theories of Adler were also a common factor.[13] Symons introduced Mairet to T. S. Eliot, who was holding the ring.[12] In practical terms the Chandos Group were already deeply involved in producing the New English Weekly, and were sympathetic to Social Credit.[14]

He belonged to numerous other small societies and discussion groups of the period before World War II.[15] He joined Rolf Gardiner's Kinship in Husbandry group in 1941.[16] He edited The Frontier for Walter Moberly's Christian Frontier Council.[17]

He was an early supporter of George Orwell, giving him literary work for the New English Weekly, and writing in very positive and comprehending terms about Homage to Catalonia and Orwell's approach. A friend and long-time correspondent also of T. S. Eliot, who dedicated his Notes towards the Definition of Culture to Mairet,[18] he became one of the best-connected of all the British Christian intellectuals of that time.


  • An essay on crafts & obedience (1918), Douglas Pepler
  • ABC of Adler's psychology (1928)
  • Alfred Adler Problems of Neurosis (1929) editor, case histories
  • Aristocracy and the Meaning of Class Rule – An Essay upon Aristocracy Past and Future (1931)
  • The Douglas Manual: Being a Recension of Passages from the Works of Major C. H. Douglas, Outlining Social Credit (Stanley Nott, 1934) editor
  • A. R. Orage: a memoir (1936)
  • The Frontier (1951)
  • Christian Essays in Psychiatry (1956) editor
  • Pioneer of Sociology: The Life and Letters of Patrick Geddes (1957)
  • John Middleton Murry (1958)


  1. ^
  2. ^ Phillip Conford, The Origins of the Organic Movement (2001), chapter Philip Mairet and the New English Weekly.
  3. ^ Eric Homberger, Ezra Pound: The Critical Heritage (1997), p. 332.
  4. ^ (PDF), p. 3.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Fiona MacCarthy, Eric Gill (1989), pp. 139.140.
  9. ^ Luisa Passerini, Europe in love, love in Europe: Imagination and Politics in Britain Between the Wars (1999), p. 773.
  10. ^ Simon Blaxland-de Lange, Owen Barfield: Romanticism Come of Age: a Biography (2006), pp. 144-5.
  11. ^ And after the war, Edwin Muir, Herbert Read, Michael Arlen, Denis Saurat, Janko Lavrin, and Philip Mairet, to mention a few, attended regularly. (PDF), p. 43.
  12. ^ a b Jason Harding, The Criterion: Cultural Politics and Periodical Networks in Inter-War Britain (2002), pp. 191-2.
  13. ^ Mathew Thomson, Psychological Subjects: Identity, Culture, and Health in Twentieth-century Britain (2006), p. 91.
  14. ^ Peter Barberis, John McHugh, and Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations (2000), p. 80.
  15. ^ These included Oldham's Moot: Marjorie Reeves (editor), Christian Thinking and Social Order: Conviction Politics from the 1930s to the Present Day (1999), p, 25.
  16. ^ Julie V. Gottlieb, Thomas P. Linehan, The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain (2004), p. 187.
  17. ^ (PDF), p. 21.
  18. ^ Alzina Stone Dale, T. S. Eliot: The Philosopher Poet (2004), p. 170.