06 June 2019, The Tablet

Word from the Cloisters: Wherever he lays his hat…

Word from the Cloisters: Wherever he lays his hat…


“AN ADVENTURE is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” You know without me telling you that this is G. K. Chesterton. It’s from his essay, “On Running After One’s Hat”, an invitation to reimagine an annoying and vaguely humiliating activity as romantic and wonderful.

You can see Chesterton’s own hat – less battered than you might expect – together with several walking sticks, a pince-nez, a well-bashed Corona typewriter, his rosary and a toy-theatre he designed himself in the Chesterton Library. Since 2013 this has been housed at the Oxford Oratory. The Oratory doesn’t have a full-time librarian or archivist to act as a tour guide, and has relied on volunteers to help out. Now the collection has been acquired by the University of Notre Dame, and is being transferred to its London outpost, round the corner from Trafalgar Square, where it will be fully accessible.

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