Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Harry Deverson

Another Swift Annual author...

Harry [Henry James] Deverson was born in Bromley in 1908, the son of Arthur Charles Deverson (a house painter) and his wife Kate Norah O'Malley (nee Dinnie). Raised in Sidcup, he was the one-time picture editor of Picture Post, the famous Hulton weekly (which, I would suppose was his connection with Swift Annual, to which he contributed in 1957). Deverson worked with the Photographic Division of the Ministry of Information during the war and was effectively the chief censor as most war pictures passed through his hands. He subsequently became picture editor for The Sunday Times before becoming managing editor of Wolfe Publishing. His other comic credits include 'Joanna of Bitter Creek' for Junior Express (1955).

Deverson died in Hampstead, London, at the age of 63 on 18 September 1972 after a long illness. His obituary in The Times (21 September 1972) claimed "He deservedly earned the profound respect of all printers with whom he dealt, both for his marvellous layouts and for his ability to anticipate any difficulty that might arise. During his time in Fleet Street he was a kind and helpful advisor of young photographers, including Lord Snowdon. Many owe their subsequent success to his encouragement... A warm and kind person, interested in everyone he met, he won the affection of all who knew him and he will be greatly missed."

He was married to Evelyn Ruby Simons in 1938 with whom he had one child.

The Map That Came to Life, illus. Ronald Lampitt. London, Oxford University Press, 1948.
The Open Road, illus. Ronald Lampitt. London, Oxford University Press, 1962.

The Long Path, with Jo Bass. Bournville, Cadbury, 1957.
The Story of Bread, illus. Ronald Lampitt. Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, in association with Ranks Hovis McDougall (Puffin Picture Book 119), 1964.
The London Walkabout Vol.1, with Guy Gravett. London, Wolfe Publishing, 1966.
Poodles, illus. Sheila Harrison with additional poodle portfolio by Wolfgang Suschitzky. London, Wolfe Publishing, 1966.

Mainly for Children, ed. H. J. Deverson. London, Sunday Times, 2 vols., 1960-62.
Journey Into Night, ed. H. J. Deverson. London, Leslie Frewin, 1966.
Michael Bentine's Book of Square Games, by Michael Bentine; illus. Derek Alder; designed by H. J. Deverson. London, Wolfe Publishing, Jun 1966.


  1. Soehow I ended up with a bunch of books presented to Harry...he seems to have been known as "Dev' and they are from photographers, novelists etc., Some to 'Dev' , some to Harry Deveson and some to 'Harry and Ruby' (presumably his wife.) Nothing valuable but he was obviously much liked as you point out..good bibliographical work by the way. Nigel of

  2. He was known as 'Dev' to his colleagues and as 'Harry' to the family. Ruby was his wife, and she lived to the age of about 97, dying fairly recently. I think the valuable books would have stayed in the family of which I am a distant member.

  3. Hi Anonymous,

    The only recent death I can trace is for Evelyn Ruby Deverson, who died in Kent in 2005, aged an astonishing 102. Perhaps that's her?

  4. Evelyn Ruby was Harry's wife, but she wasn't quite that old when she died she was born in 1903.

  5. Thanks for the additional information.

    The Evelyn Ruby Deverson registered in 2005 was born 6 February 1903. Perhaps there's an error in the registration and the 2005 date refers to a correction and the age (102) is implied from the year. Even official records can be wrong sometimes.

  6. Hello

    Ruby Deverson did live to a long age and died in Kent at the age of 102. I was at her 100th birthday party.
    Dev and Ruby had two children - Jane Deverson the writer and Anna Deverson.



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