YP Letters: Ransome’s voyages, from Coniston to Russia

Swallows and Amazons author Arthur Ransome.
Swallows and Amazons author Arthur Ransome.
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From: John Appleyard, Firthcliffe Parade, Liversedge.

THE author and journalist Arthur Ransome died 50 years ago in 1967.

He was born at Ash Grove, Leeds, in 1884 and later moved to Balmoral Terrace in Headingley where he is supposed to have frequented the Skyrack and Original Oak pubs.

He is most famous for his book Swallows and Amazons, set in Windermere and Coniston in the Lake District, a place he loved and where he spent his last years.

He also led a double life. He was a supporter of the Russian Revolution of 1917 having access to its leaders Trotsky and Lenin, but he also had close contact with MI6.

He was arrested in Russia as a spy and faced execution, but Lenin decided to release him.

In 1919 Ransome wrote a pamphlet on his experiences 
Six Weeks in Russia, in an old house in the Chapel Allerton area of Leeds.

He was awarded a doctorate at Leeds University in 1952, five years before the Queen made him a Commander of the British Empire.

Questions are still asked regarding Ransome – was he a double agent or an innocent go-between? We may not have the answers, but one thing we do know is that he was a great writer.