Ivor Gurney is one of Gloucester's sons she can be proud of. Born the son of a Gloucester tailor in Queen street on August 28th 1890, had his musical ability noticed from an early age. He obtained a place as a chorister at Kings School ( still a famous public School today ) attached to Gloucester Cathedral. He studied music and composition under Dr Herbert Brewer ( the Cathedral organist ) became an articled pupil to him together with Ivor Novello and Herbert Howels.
Who says Gloucester sees a tall
Fair fashioned shape of stone arise,
That changes with the changing skies
From joy to gloom funereal
Then quick again to joy ; and sees
Those four most ancient ways come in
To mix their folk and dust and din
With the keen scent of the sea breeze
Gurney started producing fine musical settings to the works of Houseman among others during this period, but unfortunately his behaviour began to deteriorate and he became isolated from his family and spent much of his time wandering the local countryside.
He joined the Royal College of Music in 1911 and his originality was not unrecognised. After periods of hard work, he suffered intensely from severe depression . The only things that seemed to alleviate them were regular visits to Gloucestershire and of course Gloucester. His joy at these occasions can be seen in his poetry from this time.
He volunteered for duty ( 2nd/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment ) in the first world war and was posted to the front in 1916. He was wounded in the arm in 1917 and also suffered from a gas attack and was eventually sent home
He returned to the Royal College of Music under Vaughan Williams and produced prolific amounts of poetry and music. However, Ivor was now really suffering. He spent less time at college and wandered about. He thought nothing of walking from London to Gloucester.
He left college in 1921 but was not capable of holding down a job. He complained that his headaches were caused by electrical waves from the radio. After a suicide attempt he was committed to Barnwood House asylum. He eventually died from tuberculosis in 1937. He is buried in Twigworth,Gloucester.
Other Famous Gloucester People
Edward Massey Governor of Gloucester and Jamaica
Robert Raikes Founder of the Sunday School Movement
John Stafford Smith Composer of the Star Spangled Banner
John Taylor The water poet
Charles Wheatstone Physicist
George Whitefield Preacher
James Wood Banker
Frank Whittle inventor of the Jet engine
Wilfred George Carter OBE Aircraft Designer
Howard Blackburn An incredible transatlantic voyage
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