Truck Stop: A tribute to Cassandra.


Sir William Neil Connor (26th April, 1909 - 6th April, 1967)

A few days ago I was looking for some more information or simply a tribute to William Connor, the columnist who wrote as Cassandra on the Daily Mirror newspaper from July the 27th, 1935 until the 1st of February, 1967. He died on the 6th of April 1967 having documented in his own wonderful writing style a good part of the 20th Century.

I inherited my book of Cassandra's finest columns from my Grandfather, Bill Thompson, who worked with him on the Mirror for a while before going on to the BBC and then on to found Park Pictures. Although my original copy is literally moulding to bits it is one of the few books I have ever kept from my youth, I have a few more now but they are getting harder and harder to get hold of.

Over time, I will try to add some more to this page but resources aren't very easy to find and I suspect I will have to be careful of copyright issues. For now, I will collect a few links, and later I will add more of my own.

Cassandra Writings:

Due to copyright restrictions, I am avoiding posting any Cassandra articles here directly - If the Mirror would give me permission (hint hint) I would! One I am posting though is the one used in the page background, which a couple of people have asked about.

I gave in and scanned the book Cassandra at his finest and funniest (updated link, March 2018 - Sort by name if it's a mess!). I don't know what the current copyright issues are but I am more than sure that Connor would have wanted his writings to be available to the world in general so; here they are. If anyone has any issues with this, just just tell me and I will remove the book but for now, enjoy it. I have the permission of his son to put all Bill's writings up now (Thanks Frank!) so I don't think there will be any problems now.

The sleeve notes on the hardback edition of this book are as follows:

For thirty-two years -- with time off to go to war -- William Neil
Connor wrote his famous column in the London Daily Mirror under the
pseudonym of Cassandra.

Its crisp and trenchant sentences set a new standard for columnists,
copied everywhere but never bettered. Cassandra's rivals envived him
many things, but most of all, the cut and thrust of his style, so
devestating in chopping opponents down to size.

Three decades is a long time to occupy a pulpit in public print.
Cassandra did it brilliantly, with never a yawn from his daily
congregation of fifteen million. But he observed in his first column
after four years away on active service: "As I was saying when I was
interrupted, it is a powerful hard thing to please all of the people all
of the time...."

To satisfy Cassandra's fans -- and the more literate of his enemies --
in one book is a powerful problem indeed. These pages can only skim the
cream of his genius. Included is some of his finest and best remembered
writing side by side with certain jocular items (Much relished by Mirror
readers) such as the saga of the Goose-Egg Man, the Fourteen Day Soup,
and Cassandra's private collection of Square-Wheel English.

This is a book for all occasions and all moods, a delight for those who
love to see their own language used stylishly, a primer fot young
writers who are willing to learn from a master of words.

(The book is priced at 18 shillings for the hardback and 5 shillings for the paperback in 1967)

Cassandra the cat lover:

By popular demand: Cassandra's Cats. Enjoy!

Photos of Cassandra:

Bill's son, Frank, has sent me a few old photos. Please don't steal these:

Links about Cassandra:

I can't find much, in fact as a general pages about Cassandra go there is only really one.

Cassandra and Liberace:

Cassandra didn't seem to like Liberace at all and with his usual tact and diplomacy he made his feelings known in a colourful little column in 1956. Alas (or maybe not in terms of publicity and support) for him, Liberace sued the Mirror but luckily for us, it has immortalised some of his writings.

Cassandra and PG Wodehouse:

For various reasons, PG Wodehouse was accused of being a traitor to Britain during World War 2. Churchill asked Connor to make a broadcast on the BBC denouncing him as such. After the war, it became apparent that Wodehouse wasn't an actual traitor and Connor was one of the few (if not the only) to apologize. There are lots of articles about this on the net (Wodehouse appears to be a lot more popular than Cassandra) but here are just a few.

Other links:

It would be interesting to know where people have come from, so please
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