The ‘ordinary’ on which Wilfred Fairclough’s eyes first looked was his native city of Blackburn in Lancashire, where he was born on 13 June 1907. The only son of Herbert Fair-clough and Edith Amy Milton, he had two elder sisters, Ethel and Clara, and two who were younger than himself, Lilian and Gertrude. 3 In 1912, at the age of five, he went to All Saints School in Blackburn. There, when he reached the senior school in 1918, he was fortunate in being taught by Edward Biggs, who recognised his early talent in drawing, from which the path was to lead on to the Blackburn School of Art and Crafts. 4 Biggs, a communist and an atheist, did not force his views on his pupils but encouraged Fairclough to read G B Shaw, H G Wells, Thomas Hardy and W H Hudson.