Sir Victor Sawdon Pritchett CH CBE (16 December 1900 – 20 March 1997), was a British writer and critic. He was particularly known for his short stories, collected in a number of volumes. His most famous nonfiction works are the memoirs A Cab at the Door (1968) and Midnight Oil (1971), and his many collections of essays on literary biography and criticism.
Victor Sawdon Pritchett was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, the first of four children of Walter Sawdon Pritchett and Beatrice Helena (née Martin). His father, a London businessman in financial difficulties, had come to Ipswich to start a shop selling newspapers and stationery. The business was struggling and the couple was lodging over a toy shop at 41 St Nicholas Street where Pritchett was born on 16 December 1900. Beatrice had expected a girl, whom she planned to name after the Queen. Pritchett never liked his first name, which is why he always styled himself with his initials and even close friends called him VSP.
Pritchett's father was a steady Christian Scientist and unsteady in all else. Walter and Beatrice had come to Ipswich to be near her sister, who had married money and lived in Warrington Road. Within a year Walter was declared bankrupt, the family moved to Woodford, Essex, then to Derby, and he began selling women's clothing and accessories as a travelling salesman. Pritchett was soon sent with his brother Cyril to live with their paternal grandparents in Sedbergh, where the boys attended their first school. Walter's business failures, his casual attitude to credit and his easy deceitfulness[a] obliged the family to move frequently. The family was reunited, but life was always precarious. They tended to live in London suburbs with members of Beatrice's family, but returned to Ipswich in 1910 to live for a year near Cauldwell Hall Road, trying to evade Walter's creditors. At this time Pritchett attended St John's School. Subsequently he attended Alleyn's School, Dulwich and Dulwich College but he stayed nowhere for very long. When his father went to fight in World War I, Pritchett left school. Later in the war Walter turned his hand to aircraft design, of which he knew nothing, and his later ventures included art needlework, property speculation and faith healing...
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