Saturday, September 24, 2011
Victor Canning... plural
When I was running names for the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (shortly to appear online) one that I planned to return to was Victor Canning. Although both his birth date (16 June 1911) and death date (21 February 1986) were known, I had failed to turn up a record for his birth. Most frustrating.
Well, there's a reason. The family name was actually Cannings, as if it were a plural. His parents, Frederick Harry Cannings (a taxi driver), and mother, Mabel Jessie Goold, were married in 1910 and Victor, registered as Victor Cannings, was born in Plymouth the following year. A sister, Dorothy, followed in 1914; another sister, Sylvia Jean Cannings, was born in Plymouth in 1918. Sylvia – better known as Jean – married John H. C. Tearle; this excellent website about Canning notes that she died in 2010, aged 92.
Canning's earliest published stories may have appeared in the late 1920s in boys' magazines; the earliest traced was published anonymously in 1932. His first adult story appeared in the Evening News in 1934, the same year his first novel appeared, both credited to Victor Canning.
When the Cannings family changed their name to Canning is perhaps unimportant... at least I've managed to solve the reason why I couldn't find his birth record.