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Jerome K. Jerome exhibition is ideal follow-up to Three Men in a Boat at Grantham's Guildhall

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Following on from Thursday (March 21) night's production of Three Men in a Boat at Guildhall Arts Centre, an exhibition on its author, Jerome K. Jerome, continues at Grantham Museum.

The exhibition is a celebration of the man and his works, with paraphernalia from the collections of local self-confessed bibliomane and ephemera collector David Feld, a member of the Jerome K. Jerome Society who owns dozens of editions of the classic Three Men in a Boat amongst his thousands of other tomes.

Jerome K. Jerome was born in 1859 in what is now Walsall, West Midlands, the fourth child of Jerome Clapp and Marguerite née Jones. For some reason, the father changed his name to Jerome Clapp Jerome.

Jerome K. Jerome (7838069)
Jerome K. Jerome (7838069)

‘JKJ’, as he is affectionately known, was born as Jerome Clapp Jerome. However, his father having apparently met, and liked, the exiled Hungarian general György Klapka, changed his son’s middle name to Klapka.

JKJ turned his hand to acting – under the stage name of Harold Crichton – unsuccessfully. An attempt at journalism for a few years was also unsuccessful. However, in 1885, his first book, the comic memoir of his attempts at acting, and called On the Stage – and Off, finally met with some success.

This was followed by the collection of brilliantly witty essays, The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow (1886), and by the play Pity is Akin to Love (1888).

In June, 1888, Jerome married Georgina Elizabeth Henrietta Stanley Marris (called ‘Ettie’), a few days after her first marriage ended. She had a daughter from that marriage, Georgina (called ‘Elsie’). The couple’s honeymoon on the River Thames, inspired him to write his famous Three Men in a Boat – and the rest, as they say, is history.

The exhibition runs until Saturday, March 30.

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