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Exhibition – Ripping Yarns and the Tale of the Forgotten Author – The Story of Percy F. Westerman

September 2, 2023 @ 11:30 AM October 29, 2023 @ 4:30 PM

An exhibition charting the life and works of Percy F. Westerman, one of Britain’s most prolific writers of children’s adventure books is coming to Emsworth Museum.  The exhibition, which opens on September 2nd, 2023, includes books and ephemera from the Westerman Yarns Collection, belonging to Nigel Gossop who has been collecting and researching the books and life of the Portsmouth born author for more than thirty years. 

Percy F. Westerman knew Emsworth well; for many years he was a familiar sight out on the water, participating in various sailing regattas and events.  Before he embarked on his career as a writer of books for children, he wrote extensively of his sailing experiences for the popular yachting press and in 1905 was a founder member of the Fareham Sailing Club.

The Ripping Yarns: and the Tale of the Forgotten Author exhibition was last shown at Emsworth Museum in April 2014, but since then there are some additional panels that explore some of the 30 books written by Westerman about the First World War; many written and published while the conflict was still being fought.

During the 1930’s Percy F. Westerman was voted Britain’s most popular children’s writer in a national poll organised through public libraries and was featured in a Pathé Newsreel film and shown in cinemas.  By the time of his death in 1959 he had written more than 170 books and numerous short stories and serials for magazines that included The Boy’s Own Paper and The Scout.   One of the features of the Ripping Yarns exhibition is the range and scope of the cover and dust wrapper illustrations designed to attract generations of young readers to pick the books off the shelves. Famous artists including Terrance Cuneo and Rowland Hilder were among more than 60 artists/illustrators whose work helped to bring Westerman’s words to life.  The exhibition curator, Nigel Gossop of the Westerman Yarns will be in attendance during the opening morning and will happy to meet and discuss any aspect of the exhibition.

Nigel Gossop

Emsworth Museum

10b North Street
Emsworth, Hampshire PO10 7DD United Kingdom
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01243 378091