Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Adding Antarctica!

Sometimes, while working on this George Mills project, I wonder what actually gets read and what doesn't. Do my hits from Uzbekistan or Benin really mean anything? Probably not. Still, who knows? I just click "Publish," and whatever I've written whirls out into the world via broadband, and I often never know what comes of it.

But sometimes a reaction from a reader arrives, and it's simply… Brilliant!

Just a few hours after I posted my tongue-in-cheek request for information that might tie my research to Antarctica, I received this anonymous message:

Keith's mum says that Ernest Shackleton spent time in Eastbourne...

Of course, I was completely unaware of Shackleton's Eastbourne connection. And what a timely response!

First, here’s a brief description of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton from the Encyclopædia Britannica:

(Born , Feb. 15, 1874, Kilkea, County Kildare, Ireland—died Jan. 5, 1922, Grytviken, South Georgia) British explorer. In 1901 he joined Robert Falcon Scott's expedition to the Antarctic. He returned to Antarctica in 1908 and led a sledging party to within 97 mi (156 km) of the pole. In 1914 he led the British Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which planned to cross Antarctica via the South Pole. His expedition ship Endurance was caught in pack ice and drifted for 10 months before being crushed. Shackleton and his crew drifted on ice floes for another five months until they reached Elephant Island. He and five others sailed 800 mi (1,300 km) to South Georgia Island to get help, then he led four relief expeditions to rescue his men. Shackleton died on South Georgia at the outset of another Antarctic expedition.

Regarding his residence in Eastbourne, here's information from a site entitled Low-Latitude Antarctic Gazetteer Database Index.

Site No 258

House No 11 — The Eastbourne house.

14 Milnthorpe Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK.

In later years the Shackletons, certainly Emily and the children, seemed to be living at Eastbourne on the Sussex coast. Sir Ernest was there between April and December, 1919, from June to December 1920 and April to August, 1921 (according to James and Margery Fisher's Shackleton).

My visit of 1/30/98: The house is located perhaps a mile west (I believe) from the center of Eastbourne. It is in a very interesting section of the town called The Meads and only a block or two from the seafront.

I also visited the house with Jonathan Shackleton on 1 November 2007, and had tea with the current residents. (The house was reconfigured into four flats about 20 years before.)

When information on the Eastbourne house appeared as a 'Low-Latitude episode," Judith Faulkner in Surrey wrote to say that she had visited the Eastbourne house in June 1994 and that it had, shortly thereafter, been honored by a ceramic blue plaque placed on the ground floor facade by the Eastbourne Civic Society and the Eastbourne Borough Council. The accompanying newspaper cutting (East Sussex Eastbourne Evening Argus) notes that Shackleton lived at 14 Milnthorpe Road "...for the last five years of his life before he died in 1922." The unveiling, on the 23rd of November 1994, was overseen by Shackleton's granddaughter, Alexandra Bergel. The photographs accompanying Ms Faulkner's letter show a 2-1/2 story semi-detached brick house on a tree-lined street.

Emily lived on at this address for sometime after Shackleton's death. Her correspondence with Hugh Robert Mill while the latter was writing his Life of Sir Ernest Shackleton (1923) is from this address.

This additional information was found on a site called China Rhyming:

Weekend Deviation – Emily Shackleton

Posted: April 10th, 2010

A rather weird but potentially interesting deviation this weekend. While back visiting the UK a few weeks ago I happened to be exploring villages around West Sussex. One, Coldwaltham, is an interesting little place – picturesque. Wandering around I happened to notice that the local churchyard, St Giles, contains the grave of the wife of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer. Shackleton’s daughter, Cicely, is also buried there.

Shackleton himself died while exploring and was buried in South Georgia in the South Atlantic in 1922 (how and why he was not shipped home for burial is apparently the subject of some controversy) while Emily, at home in Coldwaltham, died in 1936.

Google Maps shows that Shackleton's home at 14 Milnethorpe Road was a mere 1200 feet away from Warren Hill School, as the idiomatic crow flies, and it's highly unlikely that the boys were unaware of that the great polar explorer was so near. He must have been their hero, and quite a 'real' one at that!

Also, given sometime Head Master Joshua Goodland's standing as a Fellow in the Royal Geographical Society and lifelong love of travel and adventure, he at the very least is likely to have heard Shackleton speak in Kensington or elsewhere. For all we know, it may have been Shackleton's residence in Eastbourne that eventually drew Goodland to seek a place there as well!

It seems that Shackleton's celebrity would have made him a popular guest at local parties, and his charm is apparent in the accompanying photograph.

Anyway, many thanks to "Keith's mum" for linking Antarctica to my research here!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Locating the Head Masters of Warren Hill

Here's one last "quick hit" regarding Warren Hill School (1885-1936) in Meads, Eastbourne. It may not seem like much, but it does help verify a couple of matters.

Over the past year we have received some photographs courtesy of the Eastbourne Local History Association, and those images have divulged much about Warren Hill. Today we'll look at the specific images of the Head Masters (or at least business partners), Joshua Goodland (referred to on at least one image as "Jim") and F. R. Ebden, Goodland's partner at the time, circa 1930.

First let's look once again at an enlargement of the southeast corner of the main building [above left]. We can see a low, one-story addition that is not in the pre-1900 image from the same angle. We can also see an embankment behind parents watching the cricket game that's occurring outside of the frame.

Warren Hill rested on the south side of Beachy Head Road between Darley Road to the west and Coltstocks Roads to the east. As one traveled westward toward the school, one would have been rising uphill. The above image of the school, however, shows a perfectly level field behind the building—hence the embankment to the left (west) in the photograph.

Let's now take a look at the image taken of "Jim" Goodland around the same time [below].

Goodland appears to be standing, facing southeast by judging the position of the morning sun, on a level concrete slab of some large dimension—a playground.

Behind him we can see what is obviously a retaining wall and steps upward, off the playground, to the west-northwest. And that's just where we would expect a retaining wall next to a level area, given the uphill rise to the school's west.

The Goodland photograph gives us an idea of how developed the playground area was, including some very nicely conceived brickwork rising at about a 45° angle behind him.

We also have an image of Ebden taken the same day, and have every reason to believe it was taken nearby. In the image at the top of the entry, we can make note of its light-colored roof of the lower building, its large windows, and distinctive wide, white corners at each end of the wall.

Let's take a look at the circa 1930 photograph of Ebden [below], quite probably captured the same day as the image of Goodland.

Ebden faces directly into the morning sun, revealing behind him a background to the northwest. We see foliage and the ground rising slightly as the image proceeds to the left—the west. Also behind the one time Head Master is a low-slung, light roofed building with large glazed windows of panes and muntins. Finishing off the image and disappearing behind Ebden's dated double-breasted suit is the white-coloured corner of the building finishing the brick façade.

This building clearly is built too low in the roof to have been an adequate gymnasium for a boys' preparatory school, reinforcing our notion that the large windows provided fine light for reading in the school's library/reading room, which had been a built as a memorial to alumni lost in the First World War.

We can see on the area map below where Goodland [red] and Ebden [blue] must have been standing when those photographs were taken, giving us some better idea of what the grounds looked like there to the west of the school. Each man is represented by the 'dot' in the center of a circle representing the possible area photographed.

Incidentally, also behind Ebden there appears to be a fenced in patch of ground that may have served as the garden of one of the boys. Perhaps students were not welcome to plant in the glass-walled greenhouse to the east, but were welcome to tend small plots in the southern exposure near the new library.

Your thoughts on my speculation, your memories, and your ephemera would be most welcome, and thank you!

Searching for the Residence of the Masters

Today's "quick hit" on Warren Hill School (1885-1936) focuses on the words "just below," and is not so "quick."

How much land did the school actually possess? We know from Joshua Goodland's freehold listing in a 1931 London Gazette, he held "Warren Hill, Beachy Head Road, and land in Carlisle Road, Eastbourne."

So how do references to a "master's residence" or "house for masters" figure into all of this? Is it possible that, despite owning the land mentioned above, the school rented a home in which the masters could live during the terms?

Let's take a look at some references to the house that we've had already.

From the Eastbourne Local History Society came this description of the post card image we see above, left: "[This image] is probably from a postcard and shows the view looking up what is now Beachy Head Road with the school on the left. It's hard to date precisely but one can suppose that it is pre 1900. The masters' residence must be the house on the right. The girls walking down the hill are almost level with a group of flint cottages which still stand. One of these was rented during various summers by Arthur Conan Doyle."

Here's a close-up of that house, across from Warren Hill [above]. We've seen it today in a street view from the front, its southern side [click HERE to view the image]. Let's see if we can espy that same side as above by 'driving' down the side street, Denton Road, via Google Street View and peering behind the foliage to get a peek at the eastern wall.

Take a look:

It appears that the same structure is still standing today, with some modifications having been made. If this was, indeed, the master's residence, and the small homes behind it are the "flint cottages" to which the ELHS refers, then it's very possible that the school (and Goodland in 1931) had possession of all of the land across from the school to the north, possibly all the way through to Upper Carlisle Road—some fine acreage!

On the 1930 map we have of the area, there are no structures on either of the two tracts of land below, or east of, the structure discussed above. Arthur Conan Doyle passed away in Sussex in 1930, and if cottages on those parcels are standing today, they must have been standing then. One wonders where the cottages mentioned actually might be.

One other bit of evidence for that large edifice having been the residence of the schoolmasters comes from the writing of George Mills.

In Chapter 6 of Meredith and Co. (1933; the dust jacket of the 1950 Oxford University Press edition is depicted below, right), several of the boys sneak out during the wee hours of the night to retrieve a troublesome lost envelope from the desk in the common-room of the master's residence. Here's the text: "Three perfectly noiseless figures crept down the corridor, a big door at the end was slightly unbarred, and the figures walked across the playground towards the master's cottage."

It appears from photographs and the map that the 'playground' at Warren Hill would have been on the west side of the building [far below], in an area between two outlying buildings. If Mills is referring to the landscape of Warren Hill, and not Windlesham House School which was in Portslade at the time, it seems likely the boys left the building from a corridor leading to the playground in the west and probably would have stolen across the quiet street.

The boys then slip into the cottage through a window with a broken latch, as depicted on the cover shown here. After almost being caught by the obnoxious Mr. Lloyd, we find out the master's cottage in Mills's book has two floors. When Lloyd finally shouts for Mr. Gold, another master, we find: "After a few minutes interval Gold appeared at the top of the stairs. He was in a dressing gown and a bad temper."

While we can't necessarily assume Mills wasn't taking artistic license with this schoolboy yarn and conjuring up everything, we find that, after making the boys had made their way into the larder: "Luck was with them. The window yielded to a little persuasion, and two minutes later they were cautiously entering the school building."

While I'm certain nothing was clocked by a stop-watch, two minutes would seem about right for three frightened boys to scurry from the house across the street, back to Warren Hill, jump the low wall [beside the doorway, above], dart through the foliage, cross the playground, and enter the school.

Of course, we don't know the layout of Windlesham while in Portslade, but the escapade in Mills's book does fit neatly with the geography of Warren Hill.

Except for one thing.

In the page we've examined from an ELHS newsletter (No. 104), we find the troubling, yet very confident sentence [above]: "A house for masters was situated on the other side [of Beachy Hill Road] just below the Denton Road junction."

If I am interpreting "just below" correctly, it would mean across the street and down the hill from the school. The 1930 map shows us only two buildings "just below," or downhill, from the junction, across the street near Coltstocks Road, and they're indicated on the map below.

If one of these houses had been, indeed, the house in which the schoolmasters lived, then it may not have been purchased in the same transaction in which the school was, and Goodland's freehold registration may not have encompassed the residence of the masters. It's even possible Goodland owned it as his own home, with master's rooming there while in Meads. Its status as a rental is also a possibility.

In addition, if either of these two lower houses [seen above and below] was in fact the home of the masters, Mills was clearly envisioning the layout of a different school—perhaps Windlesham—in his 1933 text.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Gardens and Sick Wing at Warren Hill

For our last "quick hit" regarding Warren Hill School (1885-1936) in Meads, Eastbourne, we'll take one last look at some of the exterior of the building that's visible but not prominent.

Last time we looked at the difference between a probably-just-before-the-turn-of-the-20th-century image of the school and compared the southwest corner of the building with a photograph taken circa 1930. In addition to providing a possible location of the "new" library, the opposite end of the former photograph mentioned above also seems to provide a location of the school's gardens.

In the promotional leaflet written by Bertram George de Glanville sometime in the mid-1930s, he states: "There is a large kitchen garden which supplies fresh fruit and vegetables for the School. Boys may, if they like, have small gardens of their own."

On the 1930 map and plan [above], the eastern facade of Warren Hill creates a "C" shape with an interior space that is not a part of the main building's foundation.

In the pre-1900 photograph [below], we see what appears to be a large green-house/conservatory structure extending a few yeards eastward of the school itself. This glass structure would have received morning sun entirely, and the portion of it extending past the building's southeast wall would have enjoyed southern exposure for much of the day.

Due to the substantial growth of a tree line, we cannot see it in the circa-1930 image, but according to de Glanville's brochure, this glassed arboretum must have remained.

Does a garden on that eastern side of the school imply it would have been near the kitchen, and the kitchen near the great room in which the boys and masters would have dined? If so, it would relegate the actual gymnasium to the other (west) side of the school as it seems unlikely that it would have been just inside the front door. Indeed, the western wing of Warren Hill is half-again as large as the eastern portion of the main building on the 1930 plan, implying the possibility of ample room for a gymnasium.

We do have another image of part of that eastern façade of Warren Hill [above]. It is taken from a post card (provided by the Eastbourne Local History Society) that was probably captured not long after the school was built in 1885.

The institution towers above seemingly everything from the high ground there, and we can see a slanted roof protruding from the façade to the left. That would mark the southern part of the "C"-shape we see on the 1930 map.

However, there is no corresponding protrusion to the right, the northern corner of the main building, below the turret/tower. Whatever was built there, at the northeast corner of the building was not part of the original structure of the school.

de Glanville's leaflet states: "There is a capacious sick wing which has its own kitchens, bathrooms, etc., and can be completely isolated from the main building in case of need."

Being near what we might assume to be the main kitchen, this addition clearly could have tapped easily into existing plumbing to construct a sick wing kitchen and bath. Given that visions of the epidemic of Spanish influenza less than a dozen years before still were established in the public's consciousness [flu patients receiving treatment, right], the availability of a facility to provide not only a comfortable respite for the ailing, but also protection for those not afflicted, would have been quite a selling point for the school.

The real question about all of this: Is my speculation correct? Time hopefully will tell.

Pieces of the proverbial puzzle continue to metaphorically fall into place regarding Warren Hill. Additional photographs taken on the grounds—whether or not they depict characters in the saga of George Mills—or of a "war memorial" that is distinct from the school's memorial library—would increase our knowledge even more.

Once again, if you have images, memories, or information regarding the history of Warren Hill School in Meads, please don't hesitate to let me know—and thanks!

A. Max Wilkinson's Generous (and Lost) Gift

Here's another "quick hit" on Warren Hill School (1885-1936), once of Meads, Eastbourne.

Last time, we noted that the school had constructed a library/reading room as a memorial [seen, left, the lower building] to the boys of Warren Hill who had lost their lives in the First World War. You may recall, however, that structure was not Warren Hill's only memorial dedicated to the Great War.

In a previous entry, now over 14 months old, we learned that the school had received a "war memorial" donated by Alfred Maximilian "Max" Wilkinson, a Head Master of the school who left Meads in 1918. That memorial was created by noted Edinburgh architect Sir Robert Lorimer. Estimates for the work still exist and were dated March and April 1919. Lorimer's account was settled in August 1920.

Assuming the dedication took place sometime soon after August 1920, it would likely have been planned to coincide with the construction and dedication of the school's new memorial library/reading room. Depending upon the material from which the Wilkinson gift was made, his may have actually been housed inside that edifice.

In an original newsletter of the Eastbourne Local History Society (No. 104) duplicated here [right], it indicates that, after the closing of the school, the memorial may have been "offered to, and placed in, St. John's Church… the only church in Meads." St. John's, however, was bombed during the war, and there is no way right now for us to know if the memorial was inside at the time—or ever.

The newsletter also states, however, that the unnamed person making the enquiry of the Society "has a photograph of the memorial and has sent [the ELHS] a photocopy of it."

Access to the estimates could tell us what from what Lorimer's memorial was made, and if it was intended for indoor or outdoor display at the school. Seeing the photograph of it (or that photocopy mentioned above), we may see it displayed it in its intended setting—perhaps giving us another glimpse of the outside of Warren Hill School, or, as far as my knowledge goes, a first glimpse of the school's interior!

I invite anyone who might have information about the A. Max Wilkinson's generous gift to the school, or an image of it, to share it, please, and thank you in advance!

Warren Hill School and its New Memorial Library

For the next few posts, we'll be making some "quick hits" on various aspects of Warren Hill School, once employer of schoolmaster George Mills, and later the inspirational setting for the books of author George Mills.

First off, it's actually amazing that I am not a thinner fellow with all of the jumping to conclusions that I do!

Recently, we examined a photograph of the school, located in Meads, Eastbourne, and compared it to a map that showed a plan of the school in 1930.

Here is a look at the map plan of Warren Hill and its southern campus, enlarged as well as I can manage without blurring the image:

It was my belief that the building addition at the lower left, just above the "W" in Warren Hill must have been either the sick wing or gymnasium described in the undated leaflet written by Bertram de Glanville sometime between 1933 and 1937.

I think I was completely wrong about it being a gymnasium.

Looking at the photograph of it, enlarged below, next to the main building, it would seem to have far too low a ceiling to have been a right gymnasium—unless 1920s British gyms were much smaller in size than those in the United States.

Below, comparably, is another Victorian era prep gymnasium, this time at a school for girls. It seems gym ceilings must have been high, worldwide, and that the addition above would have been far too low-slung to have served that purpose.

A clue that I'd originally overlooked was actually staring right at me from de Glanville's promotional leaflet, which we looked at once before: "In addition to the big school room, there is a fine library and reading room built as a memorial to those Warren Hill boys who lost their lives in the War."

Wherever that library/reading room may have been, it was built after the end of the First World War—after 1918. It appears that the newer, single story building at the southwest corner of Warren Hill was the "new" library.

The Eastbourne Local History Society's Michael Ockenden once wrote of that addition: "The low structure to the left is probably the house which still stands on the site (50 45 22 95 N and 0 15 52 90 E) - the last vestige of Warren Hill School."

Ground-level access to that exact area via Google Street View is closed off by foliage. It would be interesting to know if that structure does still exist, and if it in fact could have been Warren Hill's library. Behind it, on the 1930 map, we can see another, smaller outbuilding to its north, and one wonders if that one may have survived the school's razing as well!

A pre-1900 photograph provided by the ELHS shows that the area originally was occupied by what appears to have been a garage [above], probably attached somewhere along the west wall of the main building, and ample room for an addition honoring the sacrifice made by the boys of Warren Hill in the First World War.

There's good reason to believe that the library would have been added around 1920, and we'll take a look at that reason next time!

Antarctica , Ceylon, and a Gaggle of de Glanvilles

While Bertram George de Glanville, terminal owner of defunct Warren Hill School in Eastbourne, is not intrinsic to the story of George Mills—there's no reason to believe the men ever even met, for example—there is a bit more to know about him, courtesy of resolute researcher extraordinaire and friend of this site, Barry McAleenan.

This is from a recent message from Barry [with my emphases]:

I thought that you would like scans of the press cutting from The Times of Ceylon for January 31st 1925. You will find a reference to Mr and Mrs BG de Glanville in the G's. What I can't explain is how I remembered the name to link it with your recent citation. My great aunt Ursula Pirrie (nee McAleenan) was mother of the bride. Her sister, Evelyn Masters was an aunt to the bride. To further compound the coincidence, is to add that the bride was widowed in 1929 and, having done a runner from Spain at the beginning of the Civil War, was in Eastbourne in early August 1936 [cutting exists]. She could have met up with the de Glanvilles before Bertie went bust ...

Ascham St Vincents [de Glanville's address during Warren Hill's bankruptcy, seen above, left] was the full formal name of Ascham, a prep school feeder [now demolished] for Eastbourne College.

May Pirrie's father [Norman] was a first cousin of the Titanic's Lord Pirrie. Allegedly, they were brought up together for a short while. Same generation, but the orphaned Lord Pirrie (born 1847) was 17 years older and working when Norman (the last of 12) was born in 1864, so probably not in the same house.

[Throughout this entry, please find the entire clipping from The Ceylon Times regarding the wedding—click the images to enlarge.]

Barry also directs us to this excerpt from a blog, Turtle Bunbury [again, my emphases]:

The younger sister Kathleen Crawford Ievers (Kitty) married B. de Glanville of the Ceylon Civil Service. I believe this was Bertram George de Glanville, born in 1885 and educated at Taylor’s School, Crosby, and Worcester College in Oxford. [viii] He joined the Ceylon Civil Service as a cadet in 1908 and worked his way up the ladder to the offices of magistrate and district judge… In 1909, he marrried Dorothea Frances Allen (1879-1910), daughter of David Bird Allen of the Bengal Civil Service. Sadly she died the following year… In 1929, the year the Silvermugs succeeded as 3rd Baron Rathdonnell, Bertram became Chairman of the Colombo Port Commission (and was till there when “The Dominions Office and Colonial Office List” was released in 1932). The CPC was established in 1913… to administer the affairs of the Port and to collect customs from passing ships.[ix] They were responsible for developing the harbour, dredging the water and extending the warehouses, quays and waterways in the port. Kitty bore B[ertram] four sons (Ranulph[x], Geoffrey[xi], Robert[xii] and John) and two daughters (Joan[xiii] and Moira Dorothea[xiv]). These were also first cousins of The Baron.

According to a family tree at ancestry.com, Kitty was born in Jaffna, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1886, although her death certificate provides her birth year as "about 1885."

On 2 July 1928, she steamed into Plymouth from Colombo aboard the S.S. Herefordshire of the Bibby Bros. & Co. Line. She was alone, and her age is given as 42—hence a speculative birth year of 1886. She was traveling alone to "Eastnor, Exmouth," and intended to make England her "Country of Intended Future Permanent Residence."

The family tree also records 29 May 1931 as the date Mrs. de Glanville sailed into London with her children John and Moira, but there is no attached citation to provide evidence. (I have, however, found the manifest and that data is accurate.)

She passed away in Bishop Stortford in Hertfordshire in the late Spring of 1970.

Bertram George de Glanville, her husband and future principal of Warren Hill School, was born in Ashby Passa, Leicestershire, on 1 July 1885. The 1901 and 1911 U.K. censuses recorded him as living at Formby, Lancashire. On the latter date, Bertram was a 16-year-old "scholar" living with his older sister, Louise.

As above, the tree cites that he was educated at [Merchant] Taylor's School in Crosby, and at Worcester College, Oxford, where we already know he was an "Open Mathematical Scholar".

The tree records him joining the Ceylon Civil Service as a cadet in 1908 at the age of 23, followed soon by a marriage to Dorothea Frances Allen at St. Michael's Church in Colombo, Ceylon, on 21 September 1909.

The marriage did not last long, and the family records his residence in 1911 as having been 14 King's Square, Mitchelstown, Cork, Ireland. He was 26 and already a "widower." Dorothea had passed away in December 1910.

[From RootsWeb, Barry notes a relationship to Cork, Ireland, where Bertram had probably gone to mourn Dorothea's passing:

Father: James DE GLANVILLE b: 16 OCT 1843 in Kinnegad, Co Westmeath, Ireland

Mother: Emily Georgina CREAGH b: 1853 in Doneraile, Co Cork, Ireland

The family tree next lists his promotion to Chairman of the Colombo Port Commission in 1929 at the age of 44.

The 1929 edition of The Dominions Office and Colonial Office List (comprising historical and statistical information respecting the oversea dominions and colonial dependencies of Great Britain) contains the following entry. It has been gleaned through dozens of dubious and often conflicting snippets generated by Google Books, by whom it was read mechanically. I have pieced it together as accurately as possible. Make of it what you will:

"DE. GLANVILLE, Bertram George. — B. 1885 ; ed. Merchant Taylors' sch., Crosby, and Worcester coll., Oxford ; cadet, Ceylon civ. ser., Nov., 1908; asst. coll. of cust. and pol. mag., Trincomalee, Dec, 1909 ; pol. mag., Matale, June, 1911; ag. addtl. comsnr. of requests and addtl. pol. Mag. Kurunegala, Aug., 1911 ; off. asst., to govt agt., W. Prov., Oct., 191 1 ; pol. mag., Panadure, Nov., 1911 ; asst. settmt. offr.. Fek. 1912; pol. mag., Kurunegala, Mar., 1912 ; secocic [sic]; for serv. under the excise comsnr., June, 1912. ag. comsnr. of excise, N. Divn., Jan., 1913: addtl. dist. judge and pol. mag., Ratnapun June, 1915; ditto, Kegalla, June, 1915: dk. judge, Nuwara Elira, May, 1916 ; asst. govt. agt., Mannar, July, 1917 ; ag. chmn., man. coun.; Colombo, Nov., 1920; asst. govt. agt., Kalutara Sept., 1921; dep. collr., cust., Aug., 1922; i prin. collr., cust., Oct.-Nov., 1922, and Dec. 1924 to Jan., 1925 ; asst. govt. agt., Trincomalee…     [missing text]…     gen., 8th Aug. to 3rd [illegible month] 1922 ; ag. atty.-gen., advoc. gen. and ads" [sic] advoc., contr., local clearing office and temp, mem., exec. coun. on various occasions, in 1923, 1924 and 1925; regisr.-gen., 23rd Apr., 1923."

Kathleen Crawford Ievers was de Glanville's second wife, but no date of that marriage is evident anywhere that I can find. Named children of the couple, however, are listed in his on-line family tree as:

Geoffrey Ievers de Glanville (1917 – 1993; moved from Ceylon to England in 1954 and passed away in Cornwall)

Robert de Glanville (1918 – 1942; born in Ceylon, he lived in Sussex at the onset of WWII, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, posted to the Middle east, and was killed in action on 2 June near Bir Harmat leaving behind a wife he had married in 1940; his body was never recovered)

Moira Dorothea de Glanville (1921 – 1975; she arrived from Colombo on the S.S. Chesire in 1931 with her twin brother, John, her mother, and her maternal Grandmother, Cathleen Y. Ievers, aged 78, on their way to "Dr. Glanville, Eastnor, Essex"; she later lived in Sussex and married in 1945; she passed away in Epping Forest, Essex, as Mrs. Moira Dorthea Wait, age 53).

There are three other children, each listed only as "Living de Glanville," although that may or may not be fact. But it is possible that Randulph, John, and Joan may, indeed, be alive.

Bertram pre-deceased Kitty, passing in 1967 at Bishop Stortford, Hertfordshire.

Here are some additional tidbits gleaned from a reference section of Turtle Bunbury:

[ix] The Port of Colombo [left] has existed for many centuries but, due to its vulnerability to the South Western monsoons, was superseded by the Port of Galle as a landing place for passenger ships during the 19th century. In 1874 Governor William Gregory initiated work on the SouthWest breakwater for which he received a knighthood. This major development led to the shift of traffic from Galle to Colombo. The evolution of Colombo as the business centre of Ceylon commenced thereafter and all imports and exports came through the Colombo harbour. The commercial and mercantile sector grew within the Fort of Colombo. The Macan Markar jewellery business, established in Galle in 1860 shifted to Colombo in the early 1870s. From : "The Port of Colombo 1860- 1939", Dr K. Dharmasena (an economist). Published in 1980

[x] Ranulph de Glanville married Daphne Pethides and bore Susan, Sarah and Christopher Michael.

[xi] Geoffrey de Glanville married Angela Benison.

[xii] Robert de Glanville married Joan Davidson and was killed in action in 1941 [sic].

[xiii] Joan de Glanville married Vivian Sauvagny and had a son Philip.

[xiv] Moire Dorothea de Glanville married E.M.C. Wait and had a daughter, Angela Jean, and son, Jonathan.

One last word from Barry:

I'd swapped emails with Lynne Nelson [compiler of the RootsWeb info above] notionally because she mentions Emily Creagh [my grandmother's maiden surname] in her de Glanville listing and I'd been at university with a Tim de Glanville who had links with Ceylon, though I can't claim to have known him very well…

The local family history society have talks occasionally at one of the local schools. One such was by Peter Bailey [of Families in British India Society, including Ceylon, Burma etc; FIBIS.org]. Of the 700,000 names on their database, the 15, including 'de Glanville' [that I looked for] failed to get a single hit except for one - but that was for Johnson!

As time passes, I become more keenly aware of how small a planet we really do live upon. In researching George Mills and his life and times, I've been transported vicariously, via one character or another in this saga, to every continent on Earth, save one.

If someone could link this research to Antarctica, I would be most grateful. I even now can envision the aging-but-athletic Agnes & Violet Mills, clad in tweed-and-Gore-Tex® parkas and mukluks, having wielded their mallets amid penguins during the big Geographic South Pole Croquet Tournament, while George sat inside their Quonset hut, out of the stinging polar breezes, sipping a hot cup of tea, and working the Times crossword…

Well, Barry?

Just kidding. Thanks again for everything!

Friday, May 27, 2011

An Afternoon at Warren Hill with George Mills and Bertram de Glanville

After spending the morning in Meads at the now defunct Warren Hill School, it just feels right to spend the afternoon there as well. It seems I'm not ready to leave as of yet.

In the last entry, we saw that Warren Hill had the use of land to the north of the school, just south of Moira House Girls' School, along Carlisle Road. That land (now part of Eastbourne College), it seems, was owned by the school.

We know that business partners Joshua Goodland and F. R. Ebden dissolved their partnership as of 31 July 1931, with Goodland becoming sole owner of the school. From the 11 August 1931 issue of the London Gazette, we can see an entry in a section, containing the addresses and owners of land about to be registered, entitled "Freehold," which reads: "7. Warren Hill, Beachy Head Road, and land in Carlisle Road, Eastbourne, by Joshua Goodland, Warren Hill, Beachy Head Road, Eastbourne."

This "land in Carlisle Road" is, we now know, where the photograph we examined in depth last time was actually captured.

Although Goodland sold the school sometime thereafter, we can surmise when the sale may have occurred based on this research, shared by friend of this site Michael Ockenden on behalf of the Eastbourne Local History Society: "According to street directories, the principals in 1925 were M A North and F R Ebden; in 1929 they were F R Ebden and J Goodland; in 1932 Joshua Goodland is the sole principal; in 1933 the sole principal is H E Glanville. (I have not seen a directory for 1930 or 1931.)"

We know Glanville's exact name is Bertram G. de Glanville. The ELHS has also graciously provided a promotional leaflet created by de Glanville after assuming the reins at Warren Hill. It contains some interesting information, available nowhere else that I know of. Let's take a look at it!

Initially, we find that Warren Hill was founded in 1885, telling us that its demise came shortly after the celebration of its 50th anniversary. The first page continues, "The school stands on high ground at the edge of the South Downs on the western side of Eastbourne. It is within a few minutes [sic] walk of the sea and from the house and grounds there are fine views of the English Channel and the Downs."

This is noteworthy. In two novels of George Mills, Meredith and Co. (1933) and King Willow (1938), prep school boys venture out onto the nearby Downs to play and sometimes engage in perilous escapades. Wikipedia notes that Brighton and Hove are remarkable in their residential encroachment into the South Downs, and as we are not now exactly sure where Windlesham House School (another school at which Mills taught) was located when it was in Portslade at the time, it would appear that Warren Hill, not Windlesham, would have offered the easily walkable access to the Downs enjoyed by his books' schoolboy characters.

This page of the document also adds that "There is a capacious sick wing which has its own kitchens, bathrooms, etc., and can be completely isolated from the main building in case of need."

Might we assume that sick wing is adjacent to the main building, abutting it at the southwest corner, as seen on the 1930 map [below, left]? Or could it be the outlying rectangular building to the west, near Beachy Head Road?

The second page of the document continues: "In the grounds there is a large concrete playground, a gymnasium, five squash racquet courts, a miniature rifle range and a carpentry workshop."

On the 1930 map, it appears we can see what are likely the squash courts to the left of the main building. It's also likely that the concrete playground is in that area as well. Since the gymnasium is listed above as having been "in the grounds," we can reasonably assume it, too was some sort of outlying structure. Unless either the sick wing or the gymnasium had been constructed after 1930, we may well assume that they are the buildings to the left of the main structure.

In addition, it makes sense to have both the gym and the infirmary close to an area that included athletic pursuits engaged in upon concrete and amid gunfire.

In a private photograph previously provided by the ELHS [click HERE to view it], seemingly from this time, we can see a new building at the left that is not in older photographs of the school taken from the south. A game of cricket is being played on that field, and we can see no signs of squash courts or a rifle range from this angle, again leading us to believe those are enclosed in an area behind that new addition to the school at left.

Regarding the playing field in that image we learn: "The playing fields consist of a large level cricket field of over 2½ acres and two other fields adjoining the school."

The "two other fields" are obviously the ones we see next to Carlisle Road, over which Moira House Girls' School looks. They are divided by a wall that was once covered with ivy, and are now owned by Eastbourne College, as we can see in the image.

In an archival photograph taken from another angle, again provided by the ELHS, we see Warren Hill towering at left [click HERE for the image]. We learned from Ockenden at the time: "[This image] is probably from a postcard and shows the view looking up what is now Beachy Head Road with the school on the left. It's hard to date precisely but one can suppose that it is pre 1900. The masters' residence must be the house on the right. The girls walking down the hill are almost level with a group of flint cottages which still stand. One of these was rented during various summers by Arthur Conan Doyle."

It would be interesting to know on which side of the road that unknown number of "flint cottages" mentioned here actually rests.

Figuring that the building on the right hand side of the postcard image is, indeed, the master's residence, Goodland, we can see, owned quite a bit of land in Meads. If the cottages mentioned face Denton Road, behind the supposed masters' residence on Beach Head [as seen today, above], and it was all in possession of the principal of the school, Goodland was, indeed, quite a landholder. One wonders what that entire tract of land as a whole would be worth today!

I do wonder if the current building across from Warren Hill School's location [above] is the same one referred to above as the "residence" of the schoolmaster's. We can do a drive-by via Google today, but we again notice its adorning ivy is no longer in place. Does the ivy in that postcard image obscure some of what we would need to positively identify the currently standing structure as being the same as the one to the right-hand side of the postcard image from the ELHS?

I don't feel qualified, sitting here half a world away, to discern that.

Another aspect of Warren Hill School that figures into the books of George Mills is related in this excerpt from the third page of de Glanville's leaflet: "Unless parents specially desire it, pocket money is not issued regularly to the boys, as it is felt that this practise tends to lead the boys to spend money for the sake of spending and encouraging waste. Any money sent with, or to, the boys is put in a special boys' bank and they may draw upon it in reasonable amounts. It is suggested that the amount sent with or to a boy in any one term should not ordinarily exceed £1."

Hijinks involving the need, or simply the desire, for money from that "bank" figures in many chapters of the stories told by Mills. Whether or not Windlesham House had a similar arrangement at the time, withdrawals from which could only be made under the watchful and thrifty eye of the Head Master, is unknown, and we may reasonably conclude that the yarns Mills spins regarding it were given rise at Warren Hill.

The last sentence on that third page is pertinent to the novels of George Mills as well: "Accomodation is reserved to take the boys to and from Victoria Station at the end and beginning of term, and boys are met at and conveyed to that station."

Not meaning to imply that Windlesham did not offer a similar service, we have no like ephemera or other evidence to conclude that they did. Warren Hill, however, offered such a convenience, and Mills used it to his advantage in designing his plots. Both Meredith and Co. and King Willow, begin at Victoria Station, and it is mentioned as the locale of the very first sentence Mills ever published in 1933:

"Percy Oliphant Naylor Gathorne Ogilvie, complete with a nurse, red hair, and freckles, stood with his mother on the platform at Victoria Station."

There is every reason to believe that Percy, who would soon be nicknamed "Pongo"—a spoilt, unattractive, sheltered nine-year-old—is autobiographically based on George Ramsay Acland Mills himself. Percy is described in this first lad-to-lad exchange after finally arriving at fictional Leadham House School by the Downs:

When his mother had gone, Percy felt the feeling of utter loneliness and physical emptiness which all new boys experience. He walked sadly into the school, and entered an empty form-room. Finding a convenient desk, he sat thereat and wept. He seemed to have sat there a long time, with his face in his hands, when he suddenly looked up and beheld, standing in front of him, the ugliest small boy on whom he had ever set eyes.

The new-comer was first to speak.

'Are you a new boy?'

Percy, who lisped when he was excited, answered, 'Yeth.'

This tender scene simply may reflect Mills's ability to observe and empathisize with young boys, but it more likely additionally reflects Mills own experience, to some degree, upon leaving home to attend Parkfield School in Haywards Heath around 1905.

Mills, as we know from his WWI records, suffered from a speech impediment, and the brief scene above may describe intimately Mills's first anxious experience talking to another child without the comfort and support of having members of his family nearby.

Small, tender, and genuine observations such as these are truly the strength of Mills's prose. Perhaps it's natural that a child so aware of his own language pathology would have painstakingly studied the oral language used by those around him, allowing him to replicate it in a way completely unique to the genre of children's literature of that era.

Returning to de Glanville's leaflet, we find on the last page a list of costs for boys attending Warren Hill.

A boy whose program included all of the extracurriculars offered would have accumulated a tab of over 70 guineas per term, payable in advance. Riding then cost an additional 8 shillings per lesson.

de Glanville acquired Warren Hill from Goodland around 1933, a year deep within the period known as the Great Depression. Michael O. of the ELHS weighs in with this insight:

The school was still in existence in Beachy Head Road in May 1934 because there's a reference to a scholarship in the Times of 29 May 1934.

The prevailing economic situation in the 1930s meant that private schools were having a hard time. Some were forced to close in Eastbourne and I guess this it could have been the reason for the demise of Warren Hill. However, the owner (headmaster) would have been sitting on some valuable real estate and would have been able to sell for a good sum.


de Glanville's bankruptcy was the second one filed in Eastbourne in 1937, with all petitions entirely settled before the end of the calendar year. Given the value of the land, as mentioned, it seems unlikely that he had lost everything.

With this particular entry having grown to an almost unwieldy length, next time we'll take a look at some additional information on de Glanville gleaned by the ubiquitous Barry McAleenan. Don't miss it…

Spending a Morning in Meads, near Warren Hill and Moira House

It was just curiosity, but a couple of months ago, I wondered where exactly some of those Warren Hill School photographs I'd recently received were taken. There was one in particular, an image of a young woman standing much closer to the camera than was a small boy in uniform [left], which piqued my curiosity for some reason. In the background, one could see a rather large edifice looming over ivy covered walls.

My hunch was that it was taken on the lawn south of the school as described in the image below. Within the red circle would have been the photographer and a woman I finally posited might be Miss Josephine Goodland, daughter of Head Master Joshua "Jim" Goodland, although I had once speculated that it could be his wife. The arrow protruding from the circle indicates the direction in which I had thought the photographer was facing, slightly north of due west. The small, blue arrow indicates the building I had guessed stood behind her.

Enter the indefatiguable Barry McAleenan!

A friend of this site, Barry wrote [my emphasis]: "The building that you surmised to be the backdrop for Goodland's wife is un-towered and now known as Stanton Prior [sic, no 'y']. The janitor/handyman told me that it used to be a school and is now 6 flats. Photos were taken; 1 attached. This mansion is on the Eastern side corner of Beachy Head road and Darley road and is therefore contiguous with the [now] developed Warren Hill site."

Barry attached the following image of Stanton Prior today:

Having demonstrated that is clearly not the building in the photograph above, he continued: "Meads has become very much more developed since the 1930's and many of the Edwardian Mansions (some used as schools) have been taken over by Brighton University for the healthcare degree courses required by the NHS. Lawns and gardens have been taken over by car parks and more buildings. The early 'boulevarded' elegance of Eastbourne was instigated by the then-Duke of Devonshire who lived in Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, which is why so many roads are named after Derbyshire villages or use his family names or titles."

While taking a virtual "drive" around Meads this week, courtesy of Google, I could easily see what he means.

"I'm assuming that the resolution of the original file for the photo is higher than your blog reproduction offers. The school is on the junction between Carlisle Road and Upper Carlisle road - so seems to be in an ambiguous address position. My 1973 Kelly's street directory allows that the property is 42/44 Carlisle road."

The school Barry mentions is the Moira House Girls' School.

"The long shot [above] is from Salisbury road over what are now the Eastbourne College [2011] playing fields, i.e. to the west of Carlisle road. I surmise that these would have been used by Warren Hill in the 1920's or 30's.

The school is on the junction between Carlisle Road and Upper Carlisle road - so seems to be in an ambiguous address position. My 1973 Kelly's street directory allows that the property is 42/44 Carlisle road."

When the two are juxtaposed [above], we can easily see that Barry's position in capturing the above image is not all at all far from the location from which the photograph was taken around 1930.

Barry added: "Moira House Girls' School is actually in Boston House on the 1930 OS map." It's difficult to read on the map scan, but Boston House on the map is located exactly where Moira House Girls' School is plotted on the satellite image.

Let's take a look at the area, both then [circa 1930] and now:

It's easy to see, especially on the well-labeled Google satellite image, where Salisbury Road is located, as well as Moira House to the north [click on any image to enlarge it]. It would seem that whatever event Warren Hill School was enjoying that day, it was clearly being held on those lawns just south of Moira House, west of Carlise Road. The image we see at the top of this page was actually taken while facing almost due north, and looking at the shadows, it was just before noon during the very late spring or early summer.

I "drove" around to Moira House via Google and decided to take a look back at what Miss Goodland (or whomever) would have seen while posing for that photo. Here's a look south from the street just in front of the girls' school:

She'd have been standing on the far side of the distant wall, no longer festooned with ivy, and we can see the hill upon which Warren Hill was built rising in the distance. For someone who has never been to Eastbourne to fully appreciate the undulating terrain of the area of Sussex in which we find Meads, it's instructive to consider a description by Barry: "Warren Hill would have been named after the 'side' hill to the west. My 1973 Kelly's map does not name the road across the hill, but the road is now [2011] called Warren Hill on some maps as seen on the internet. As a very crude image, imagine a splayed right hand: Beachy Head is the back of the hand and the fingers (twisted to the right) are the named side hills that surround the sea level conurbation of Eastbourne."

We can see that the festivities in the 1930 photographs would have been held after children and staff had strolled down to these level fields to the north. It's difficult for a stranger to visualize completely the landscape and its rolling qualities. This final image may give a foreign reader some idea of how uneven the landscape can be [again, click to enlarge].

Above is an image looking a bit west of due north from Beachy Head Road, captured via Google from a location just west of the original site of Warren Hill School. It provides insight as to exactly how much the intervening terrain falls away between that southern roadside location and Moira House!

Readers familiar with Eastbourne will likely find this entry a complete bore: An examination of what would be either obvious to them, or easily ascertainable during a brisk walk or short drive. The fact that I can virtually visit it all with such clarity while sitting here in the sunroom [which my wife, a Brit-com aficionado, has now dubbed the 'con-serve-a-tree'] at the back of my house in Ocala, Florida, however, still amazes me at times.

Much appreciation goes out to my 'guide,' Barry McAleenan, though, for doing the legwork and providing me the details that made possible my trips to Meads this week. Thanks to Barry, we now know that, in addition to lawns to the south of the site of the school, Warren Hill had access to, and used, fields to the north of its campus as well. It would be interesting to discover what else we might learn from other images captured on that morning in Meads, should additional photographs exist.

And, perhaps someday, I'll visit the land of my ancestors and tour England myself, on my own. Until then, I offer thanks to Google and everyone else who has made it possible for me to spend the last year and more in England--sort of!