Tag Archives: Minor Characters

Alfred Charlemagne Lambart (1861-1943)

 I am indebted to John Adlard’s book “Stenbock, Yeats and the Nineties” (Woolf 1969) for information on Lambart and any quotes emanate from him. Lambart was related to the Earls of Cavan and appears not to have followed any particular profession. He was “improvident, intelligent and amusing”. Apparently he thought he was rather like Byron. He seems to have spent most of his time abroad, he had friends in the literary and artistic world and he knew Max Beerbohm who drew a caricature of him. Max says he was always very correctly dressed and one surmises he was part of the Florence ex-pat community, a world depicted in Maugham’s Up at the Villa. This caricature can be seen in Hart-Davis’s “Letters of Max Beerbohm to Reggie Turner” (1964–opposite page 284.)  He was married twice and divorced twice. His second marriage, to Lady Mexborough “seems merely to have been for his own maintenance”. It seems, in the end, that Lady Mexborough settled him in some comfort at her villa near Florence while she instituted costly divorce proceedings. It is known he was a friend of the decadent poet Count Eric Stenbock (1860-1895) who left him £200 in his will. I surmise, as they were both about the same age, that they were at Oxford together. However a preliminary search of Oxford records reveals no Lambart. Stenbock was up at Oxford in 1879 at the same time that Gerard Manley Hopkins was living there. Adlard says “we know that (Lambart) was a crony of Eric’s only from Eric’s will. He was a tireless correspondent and kept almost all his letters; but when he died his daughter burned the lot. It seems a very great pity.”

One wonders why his letters were burnt, although it was and still is a not uncommon practice. His connection with the 1890s decadents may have been deemed shameful. Even  in the 1950s Oscar Wilde was spoken of in hushed tones. Any further information would be appreciated.

A final deep search revealed that Lambart was first married to one Constance Green in June 1897 and married again in June 1920 to  Anne Belcher (Lady Mexborough) who died in 1943. He is also to be found at a website devoted to heirs of William the Conqueror and he was also, presumably, an heir of the Emperor Charlemagne.

Robert Barlow – teacher and athlete

I can find nothing about Robert Barlow apart from this affectionate portrait by his friend and colleague L.R. Reeve* whose archive we acquired. He may have been born in 1897 but that's about it..His obscurity is particularly odd because Reeve rated him 'supreme ...above all' and he had met many famous men and women, some world famous.


In my opinion Robert Barlow, born in Manchester, was the most outstanding Lancastrian of his era, and during the last hundred years Lancashire has been rightly proud of many great men. Moreover, although I spent most of my long life in London persistentIy visiting the House of Commons, colleges of the University of London, conferences, public meetings and lectures in search of and finding really great men and women, supreme above them all stands Robert Barlow.
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J. W. Samuel B.A

From the papers of L.R. Reeve* this record of a remarkable educationalist, mathematician and speaker. He is unknown to  Wikipedia and online research reveals very little.  He contributed some photographs to the Country in Town  exhibition (July 2 to July 16, 1908) at  Whitechapel Art Gallery to illustrate 'Day Educational Rambles' in the education section. He appears to have received a double honours degree at London University in Anglo- Saxon and Early English (1901?.) As with many of Reeve's subjects he was a remarkable speaker...


It was during a conference at the Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street, London, that I first saw J. W. Samuel. He was delivering an address, and I recall vividly the profound impression he made upon me, for I was listening to a man who was one of the most effective speakers in London. He had every attribute required for the highest standard of oratory, and his first essential gift was a perfect delivery. His cultured accent, smoothly expressed, would certainly be my aim if I were to enter a competition in debate, and for some mysterious reason which I could not quite explain, his voice always made me think of Earl Balfour, one of England's greatest statesmen.
  Additionally he was a remarkably handsome man, tallish, with a magnificent head of white wavy hair. He had a truly extensive vocabulary, which made him a most persuasive speaker who could, in a debate, demolish most of an opponent's points and, when he occasionally felt that way, would add a little sarcasm to complete his triumph.
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Harold P. Webber – bowls king

Found in the papers of L.R. Reeve (see A.J. Balfour and many others) a piece, from about 1970, about the life of a bowls champion Harold P.(Percy) Webber. One of Reeve's more minor characters and well beneath the Wikipedia radar but a sort of 'village Hampden' in the world of bowls and the author of a notable book on the subject, written with Dr John William Fisher: Bowls - How to Improve your Game (Pitman, London 1934.) Apart from his sporting skills ('his length bowling was uncanny') Webber was a fine orator…


Harold Webber's recent sudden death, left the members of his club in a state of bewilderment and shock, and had there been a Wailing Wall like the well-known meeting place in Jerusalem, his departure would have caused a record assembly among the mourners. At the time I was very impressed moreover not only by bowlers of other clubs, but by non-players who never went near a club. One acquaintance declared that he couldn't get the deceased celebrity out of his mind. At last his wife said, "It's no use dwelling on his death; it won't bring him back."
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