‘We arrived at Dumfries on Thursday morning, and were met by George Blake, our Glasgow friend’ (7 April 1937); George Blake in Kirkcudbright, 1 April 1937.
© T. S. Eliot Estate; Emily Hale Letters from T. S. Eliot, 1895–1965, Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

George Blake


George Blake (1893–1961), novelist, journalist, publisher – author of The Shipbuilders (1935) – co-founded the Porpoise Press in hopes of refashioning a national publishing industry in Scotland. The Press was taken over by F&F in the 1930s. Geoffrey Faber to H. M. Cohen, 14 Oct. 1930:

We recently acquired the stock and good will of a small private business in Edinburgh called the Porpoise Press. The Porpoise Press exists for the purpose of publishing pamphlets, books and poems of Scottish national interest. It has hitherto been run in a very haphazard way by a single individual, and has just about paid its way. There are, however, considerable possibilities in it; and we are now working it up, with the assistance of two Scotchmen, named Blake and Thomson. Blake is one of our directors. Thomson is not. The arrangement with them is that they each take 25% of any net profits there may be arising from the Porpoise Press; and the management of the Press is entrusted to a sort of joint Committee consisting of Blake, Thomson and three of our own people. The whole of the business organisation is provided by us, and we put up all the money and collect all the income. (See further Alistair McCleery, The Porpoise Press 1922–39 [1988].)

Blake was editor for four years of John O’ London’s Weekly; for two years of Strand Magazine. On 20 June 1930 Faber wrote to offer him a Principal Directorship at F&F, starting on 1 Jan. 1931; but in the event he worked for F&F from 1 Aug. 1930.

On 10 Oct. 1930 Frank Morley told Henry S. Canby (editor of the Saturday Review of Literature) that ‘my very good friend’ was ‘the recently appointed Fiction Editor to Faber and Faber … The fact that we have been able to snaffle him for Faber and Faber, shows the happy reputation which we have been establishing … There is a very interesting Scottish nationalistic movement; and it is really producing some brilliant writers.’ Morley, in a letter to John Livingston Lowes, 12 Dec. 1930, wrote of the Porpoise Press as ‘our new and lively subsidiary’. Blake was to take leave of F&F in 1932. TSE to Harry Levin, 22 Dec. 1951, of ‘my old friend’: ‘George Blake’s great-grandfather emigrated from Somerset to Scotland, and the Blakes have married Scotch [sic] wives ever since; and George Blake is about as Lowland-Scots as anyone can be.’