David McFall R.A. (1919 - 1988)


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1982/6 Plaque to Hugo Manning Poet

19½" diameter x 2½" thick

At 46 Belsize Square, Hampstead, London

Unveiled 19th September 1982 by Suzan Rappoport & Phil Coram

Hugo Manning, poet, journalist, and mystic, has been described as a major poet with a minor reputation. Born Lazarus Perkoff, also known as Hugh Leslie Perkoff, he changed his name in 1943 to Hugo Manning. Lazarus Perkoff was born on July 15, 1913 at 123 Oxford Street in Mile End Road, London, to Jewish parents, Myer Perkoff, a tailor's machinist, and Rosa Perkoff (formerly Green), both born in Russian Poland. In time, Manning's father operated a sweet and tobacco shop in the East End and Manning attended the Stepney Jewish School until he was 14. Under the name Leslie Perkoff, Manning studied violin, viola, and theory from 1926 to 1931 at the Trinity College of Music, London, securing a scholarship in his last three years. In 1929, Manning pursued his violin study with the renowned European teacher Otakar Sevcik in Pisek, Czechoslovakia. For unknown reasons, Manning chose not to pursue a career in music; indeed, he appears to have been reticent about his musical talent, even with his friends. In the early 1930s, Manning (then known as Hugh Leslie Perkoff) returned to London where he wrote weekly newspaper articles for the Sunday Referee and was a member of its editorial staff during 1935-36, among other freelance assignments. By May 1937, Manning was working in Vienna as a correspondent for the Jewish Chronicle and World Film News. From 1939 to1942, Manning lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he was employed in various capacities by several newspapers and magazines. During his stay in Argentina, Manning was acquainted with leading South American literary figures such as Victoria Ocampo, Patricio Gannon with whom he edited the Argentine Anthology of Modern Verse (1942), and Jorge Luis Borges, who became his lifelong friend. In November 1943, Manning volunteered for service in the British Army Intelligence Corps. While stationed in North Africa he suffered a leg injury and was subsequently discharged in August 1944. His injury caused him to walk with a cane for the remainder of his life. In 1946 Manning joined the staff of Reuters, where he served for 19 years on the South American desk, working nights so he could devote his daytime hours to writing. In his last few years with Reuters, Manning became the senior sub-editor and features writer for the UK desk. He retired in 1968 and devoted the remainder of his life to literary pursuits. Although Manning's career as a journalist began in the early 1930s, it wasn't until 1942 that his verse and prose was published privately and by small publishers including Villiers, Enitharmon Press, Village Press, and Trigram Press… A photograph of sculptor David McFall's bust of Manning is also present in the collection of his papers. After Manning's death, McFall designed a memorial plaque which was placed at Manning's residence in Belsize Square, London. (University of Texas at Austin which holds his papers)

McFall’s sketch of Hugo Manning

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