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Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Monday, 9 November 2009
Gloucester composer fought in WWI

Blue plaque commemorating the Gloucester poet and composer Ivor Gurney
Ivor Gurney was born in 1890, in what was Queen Street, Gloucester

One of Gloucester's most famous sons suffered from bipolar disorder and wrote some of his poetry whilst lying on a damp sandbag in the trenches.

Ivor Gurney, composer and poet, was born in Gloucester in 1892 and was a chorister and student of organist and composer Herbert Brewer at Gloucester Cathedral.

He served in the Gloucestershire Regiment in World War I and is buried at Twigworth, where his gravestone commemorates him as 'poet composer of the Severn and Somme'.

A blue plaque commemorating the life of Ivor Gurney is situated on Eastgate Street in Gloucester after its location was changed in September 2009 to make it more visible.

I was just struck by how astonishing his poems were, even in comparison with the great poets of the first World War.
Andrew Fox

The request to move the plaque was made by Councillor Sebastian Field who noticed that, due to building development, the old plaque was hidden down a dark alleyway.

Speaking of Ivor's passion for Gloucester, Sebastian said: "He particularly loved the Cathedral and the architecture of it and used to refer to it as the Sentinel of the Vale".

"Beyond that he really had a poet's love of the countryside and nature. He would go for long walks around the surrounding countryside, often deep into the night and often disappearing for several days at a time."

Andrew Fox, the museums manager for Gloucester Council, first read Ivor Gurney at university and said: "I was just struck by how astonishing his poems were, even in comparison with the great poets of World War I.

"I just couldn't imagine why he wasn't better known. There's an astonishing insight and maturity in his poems and I always kept my eye on things by Ivor Gurney."

Sebastian Field believes there's something of a need to promote him and be a champion for him "because he's just not that well known, even in his home city."

"It just seems a shame that there's all this fantastic poetry and music that people are missing - but we're collectively trying to do something about that."




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