BID & PRE-CONVENTION MATERIAL
Reporting in the August 1955 issue of his fanzine SCIENCE FANTASY NEWS on
the departure of TAFF winner Ken Bulmer and wife Pamela for the US and the
Worldcon, held that year in Cleveland, Ohio, editor Vince Clarke wrote:
New York's in the running for bidding for the site of the 14th World Con.; a possible London bid is held up by lack of volunteers for a Committee so far in the future, but it's possible that an International Con will be held here next year in any case."In the event the decision was been taken to bid for the 1957 Worldcon, at which point it became necessary to get the word out. Ken Bulmer was put in charge of publicity and the first (full page) ad appeared on the back cover of The Journal #1 (Feb '56), the first Progress Report for the 1956 Worldcon, edited by Larry Shaw and Sam Smith. It was pretty basic (see opposite) but it put a marker down and let everyone know that London would be bidding for the following year's Worldcon. Either at the same time or later the first convention flyer was distributed.
Here, taken from his convention report in NEW WORLDS #54 (Dec 1956), is Ted's account of the bidding session:
....The Biltmore Hotel, New York, Sept. 3rd.
The faction who opposed the London bid on nationalistic grounds, and whose presence at the earlier business session he mentioned in passing, were more determined than Ted Carnell reported, as Ted White recalls:
I remember the foofaraw that surrounded the bidding at NyCon2 -- there was a fiercely xenophobic movement which was determined to keep the Worldcon in North America, because "If we let them have it they'll never give it back."Nor was this the end of the matter. There was an attempt to torpedo the bid later. Soon after the con Vince and Joy Clarke received a telegram from New York for the Bulmers (who were away) that read:
SUGGEST LONDON WITHDRAW BID TO PREVENT SPLIT IN FANDOM. PUBLISHERS GUARANTEE LONDON IN '58. - ARTHUR CLARKE.Fast and costly exchanges of telegrams between Arthur C., the Clarkes, and New York fan Dick Ellington quickly revealed the telegram to be a hoax and initial suspicion rested on Mike Wilson as the probable culprit. However, detective work by Ellington revealed the true culprit as Bob Chazin, an Ohio fan then a student at Harvard, and also a leader of those who had campaigned against the London bid at NYCON 2. He was warned not to show his face around New York fan circles as a result.
Ted gave out his first press release before returning to the UK. This appeared in FANTASY TIMES, link below. In it he stated that it was planned to hold the con in the Royal Hotel (site of conventions in 1951, 1952, and 1970), with extra accomodation in the adjacent Tavistock Hotel for those who wanted baths in their rooms.
Had London lost the bid, tentative plans had been made to hold the Second International Science Fiction Convention in its place.