Harry Daley

Harry Daley

Harry Daley (1901-1971) was the son of a Lowestoft fisherman. His family moved to Dorking when he was a teenager. As a youth worked as a delivery boy for Kinghams, delivering to the villages of Abinger and Peaslake between 1916 and 1925.

Daley realised that he was gay from a young age, but, despite the fact that homosexual acts were against the law, he joined the police force in 1925. While stationed in Hammersmith in London Daley met the playwright JR Ackerley, who introduced him to many members of his London literary circle, including Forster. In 1926 Daley had a short relationship with the novelist, who was alarmed by Daley’s indiscretion, which risked getting them both arrested.

Despite his friendships with the Bloomsbury set and his many gay relationships, Daley remained in the police force until his retirement when he was persuaded to write his autobiography, This Small Cloud. He retired to Pixham, and when he died his ashes were scattered on Box Hill.

This Small Cloud was published after his death. Though he records his time as a delivery boy and the characters that he met in the villages and grand houses that surround Dorking, and his time in the police, he writes little about his emotional and sexual life, and nothing about his time with Forster.

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