WH Auden's poem recorded for radio programme at Blanchland hotel

Show highlighting In Praise of Limestone was recorded for a BBC Radio 4 programme during an evening at the Lord Crewe Arms in Blanchland

Richard at the Lord Crewe reading Auden's words
Richard at the Lord Crewe reading Auden's words

Words from one of the world’s best known poets were brought to life at an historic Northumberland hotel.

WH Auden’s In Praise of Limestone was read and recorded for a special BBC Radio 4 programme by broadcaster Ian McMillan during an evening at the Lord Crewe Arms in Blanchland.

Director Andrew Carter also invited staff to take part in the recording to capture local voices and put the North on the map.

Reservations manager Linda Geddes, who has lived in the village for most of her life, said: “I read lines from the poem and I loved it.

“The experience was a bit nerve racking at first but both Andrew and Ian made it easy and I hope they liked my Northumbrian accent.”

Receptionist Richard O’Connor also took part but listeners will have to wait until early 2015 until the programme is aired.

In 1930 Auden, then 23, visited the hotel with a friend and it is said he played Brahms on the hotel’s clapped out piano having drunk Champagne in the bar.

Later, when writing a play together with novelist Christopher Isherwood, he named the hero Crewe, reputedly after the Lord Crewe Arms.

The BBC Radio 4 programme by Andrew Carter is scheduled for early 2015.

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