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History

There were so many individual contributions vital to Arvon’s survival, but I think no-one would dispute that Ted’s contribution was of an order all of its own. —John Moat

The original Arvon concept of enabling young people to live and work with experienced writers was developed by John Fairfax and John Moat. They started running courses in 1968 in the Beaford Centre in Devon. Ted Hughes was living fifteen miles down the road and one day John Fairfax decided to seek him out and tell him about the idea.

Ted was at first sceptical, but asked that if anything should come of the idea he’d like to be told.
Ted was invited to attend the last night of the first Beaford course and from then was fully supportive of the venture, often holding meetings in his Devonshire home and joining courses as the guest reader, where “his presence would have a magical effect, a contagion of imaginative excitement”.

In 1975, following Ted’s suggestion for a northern centre, Arvon leased Lumb Bank from Ted and Carol Hughes. In 1986, Carol Hughes took up the Chair of Arvon. In 1989, Arvon bought Lumb Bank from The Hughes Trust with help from the Arts Council.