Hampstead theatre icon on her 'extraordinary' relationship with father

Léonie Scott-Matthews at Pentameters Theatre in Heath Street

Léonie Scott-Matthews at Pentameters Theatre in Heath Street - Credit: Stefania Di Cio'

The founder of Hampstead's Pentameters Theatre has published a new book highlighting her special - and "extraordinary" - relationship with her father.

Léonie Scott-Matthews told this newspaper how lockdown had allowed her to remind herself how much she likes writing. 

She has now published the short book, called My Father and I, Horses and Lloyds Bank.

“The last year has been the best year of my life as I discovered more about myself and what I really like doing more than anything else," she said. 

Deciding to write an autobiography "in little chunks", her first focus was on her father - Alfred Scott-Matthews. Alfred, who was born in Guernsey in 1893, worked for Lloyds Bank there. 

At the outbreak of the First World War, he asked to be released to fight, but the bank refused. 

Leonie explained: “That’s the number one reason why I owe my life to Lloyd Bank: had he gone to war, no doubt he wouldn’t have come back.”

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He was then temporarily sent to mainland Britain -  and lived with his wife in Mapperley, near Nottingham, where Léonie was born.

Her father took early retirement to bring her up.

“I was with my father all the time because my brother went to boarding school, so I had an extraordinary relationship with a man of that generation," Léonie add

“It was all classical music and poetry, but I felt very different from the neighbouring kids.”

He wrote her several poems including some on horses and a close by hill and taught her to play the piano.

“He bought me a scooter and nobody had a scooter.”

Last year, Léonie published two poetry books - Excelsior and Girl Monologues - while she is also set to release a CD of poems set to music.

Alfred Scott-Matthews as he appears in his daughter Léonie's new book

Alfred Scott-Matthews as he appears in his daughter Léonie's new book - Credit: Léonie Scott-Matthews

During lockdown, Léonie and her partner Godfrey Old, have performed poems and little concerts through the theatre window.

The theatre is due to reopen on July 2 showing with John Keats’ Elephant by Michael Dickinson, and Léonie’s Bedsit Girls, 1963 (And the assassination of President Kennedy).

This year they will celebrate the 50th anniversary of being based above the Horseshoe pub in Heath Street. Email theatre@pentameters.co.uk to buy any of the books.