Tag Archives: Harold Murray

Some anecdotes from Harold Murray’s Kaleidoscope

Oscar_Browning_(crop)Joe and Arthur Rank


“The richest man I ever knew was Joseph Rank, the flour miller whose quiet son, Arthur Rank, the film magnate, is so much in the news today. There were only three lines about ‘Joe Rank’ in Who’s Who. He was said at one time to be worth twenty millions. No one knows how many millions he gave away. Again and again I heard him say he stayed in business as an octogenarian in order to make money to give away. He refused titles and honours except the freedom if the city of Hull…This remarkable man had his little eccentricities, as millionaires generally do have. He told me he couldn’t stand journalists; they were always telling lies about him…In the ’14-18 war he handed over, it was said, a few million pounds to a Board of Trustees for the extension of Methodism. One of the last occasions on which I met Mr Arthur Rank was at the opening of a Methodist milk bar in Battersea, when he, with his wife, served behind the counter. His interest in films began when he warmly supported a campaign for religious films …”


Oscar Browning


“One of the most interesting men I then met at Bexhill was Oscar Browning (above right)  the famous “ O.B.” of Cambridge, a plump, bald-headed, Pickwickian little man, who, when over eighty years of age, would go down to the sea very early in the morning and bathe, whatever the weather. Continue reading

J.R. Ogden of Harrogate—-the antiquarian who worked on Tutankhamen’s  treasures

Ogden by Murray 001Found in Kaleidoscope (1947), that miscellany of anecdotes and opinions by veteran journalist Harold Murray from which one Jot has already been created, is a pen portrait of J. R. Ogden, the keen amateur archaeologist and collector.


James Roberts Ogden owned a high class jewellery shop in Harrogate , which he had founded in 1893 . According to his friend Murray, Ogden had a passion for collecting ‘ anything that would tend to prove the authenticity of Bible stories’, though Murray doesn’t elaborate on that. Murray, himself an evangelist and bible scholar, would have taken to this industrious human jackdaw, and as a journalist he would have been  impressed by Ogden’s voluminous archive of press cuttings.


‘I don’t think he wrote a line for the Press himself. For years he took in scores of newspapers and magazines. At breakfast he would quickly scan them, marking with a blue pencil whatever interested him. One of his servants received a fee for cutting out the items; sometimes unemployed men were called in to place them neatly onto sheets which were transferred to neatly bound little files, of which Ogden must have bought many hundreds. Ask him for any information about explorations at Ur, about Roman customs, ancient burials, mummies, all the familiar Bible characters—it would be supplied in an instant. Ask for such detailed records of film stars, sportsmen and the like—nothing doing…’  Continue reading