The surname GATLIFF is a very uncommon one, though in one form familiar to readers of C P Snow’s Corridors of Power novels. The subject of this sketch was an equally uncommon person. The existence of the Gatliff Trust heightens the interest in the name and often prompts questions about its origin.

Herbert Gatliff was a truly English eccentric never likely to be forgotten by anyone who= met him. This sketch of his life, activities and thought, supplemented by some of his own writings and anecdotal impressions of a number of people who knew him well, may help to bridge a gap between the generations, especially for young people spending an evening in a remote hostel common room after a long day’s journey, and looking through the hostel bookshelves.

Most of Gatliff’s papers are stored in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, and may be of considerable interest to research students. They include fascinating comments on controversies of the period amongst enthusiastic countrygoers, amenity societies and government departments. Rather than drawing on these in detail this booklet attempts merely to give an outline of a remarkable character who had a special genius for expressing profound thoughts in simple but effective English. Since his death the environmental arguments have moved on to highly sophisticated levels and sometimes complex jargon. One wonders what he would have made of all that – suffice to say he would not have remained silent.

June 1995

Len Clark

© Gatliff Trust

ISBN 0 9515339 l 6