This is Vera aged 16 in 1922, one year before she joined the Hastings Chess Club. Vera had come from Russia the year before, to live in St Leonard’s on Sea with her mother and sister. Vera could not speak English at the time, and so threw herself into playing chess.
A few years ago, I started making a piece of typewriter art. I am so grateful to the editors of the final edition of Cold Hard Type for selecting that work for inclusion in Margin Releases. It feels like the perfect place for the artwork after years of not being able to decide how to get the pieces out into the world.
I don’t want to give too much away, because I hope that people will buy the book and enjoy all the contributions fresh, with no big spoilers.
And so I will just share some photos of the machine I used to make the artworks.
A week of cleaning and tinkering. This one stank to high heaven, as the Letteras often do. I scrubbed the case inside and out. Its case linings had come loose so this made cleaning easier and also revealed the flimsy nature of these soft cases: the linings are merely cardboard and cloth. I used stain remover made into a paste and applied with a toothbrush in small sections, allowing each cleaned part to dry off in the sun. I was worried the cardboard would disintegrate! I fixed the linings back into place with strong wood glue. Irene’s name sticker also gave me worries but actually it just peeled off easily, and the remaining gummy parts cleaned off with washing up liquid. The felt inside the base of the machine was treated to anti-bac foot spray, which neutralises the deep aroma coming from inside the typewriter.