Rose Mary Howard Swain was initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn on 2 December 1891 at its Isis-Urania temple in London. She chose the Latin motto ‘Non in tenebris’. Two other people were initiated at the same ceremony: Ada Alice, wife of A E Waite; and James Webber or Webber Smith; though I’m not sure Rose Mary knew either of them before that evening.


Rose Mary’s grandson David Robinson has contacted me with extra information on her husband Arthur and her life after her marriage; and on his father, Edward Howard Robinson, whose working life encompassed radio, wireless and radar. David also warned me that one of my sources for Edward’s life had been hacked and was unreadable and unsafe now. Thanks are due to David, then, on several counts.


This is one of my short biographies. As I have found with so many GD members, especially the women, there isn’t much information specifically on Rose Mary’s life. However, there is quite a bit on her complex family background - more, in fact, than I originally turned up. This is a rewrite of my original biography of February 2016; made necessary, and easy to do, by Roger Mace, a descendant of the Whitmore family from Rose Mary’s father’s side. In August 2016, Roger read my original work on Rose Mary and contacted me to make several comments on it. Since then he has sent explanations, speculations, copies of documents and a family tree. The section on the Swain family, is now a joint effort between Roger Mace and me.

Sally Davis

September 2016

This is what Roger Mace and I have found on ROSE MARY HOWARD SWAIN, married surname Robinson.


Based on information I found at the Theosophical Society - see the next section for more details - I’d say Rose Mary Swain was invited to join the GD by one or other of its founders. This is pure speculation but I wonder whether Rose Mary’s father and William Wynn Westcott had been acquainted as fellow doctors.

Rose Mary did start to work her way through the texts new initiates were encouraged to study as part of their progress towards the GD’s inner, 2nd Order. When she married in 1893, she did let the GD know her new surname so I think she was still a fairly active member then. However, she and her husband went to live in the London suburbs, and over the next few years had quite a large family. It’s likely, too, that her husband viewed her interest in the occult with apprehension, if not alarm. For one reason or another, Rose Mary let her GD membership lapse.


Yes. About a year before her initiation as a GD member, Rose Mary had applied to join the Theosophical Society. At that time, all applicants had to be sponsored by two people who were already members. Rose Mary’s sponsors were William Wynn Westcott and his fellow GD founder Samuel Liddell Mathers and I’m sure it must have been one or both of them who told Rose Mary about the GD’s existence and asked if she’d like to join.

There was a period in the early 1890s when Rose Mary was involved with both the TS and the GD. In January 1892 Rose Mary acted as a sponsor herself, when her teacher friend Edith Lanchester applied to join the TS. However, she resigned from the TS in March 1895.

Sources for TS membership:

Theosophical Society Membership Register January 1889-September 1891 p158 application of Rose M H Swain.

Theosophical Society Membership Register September 1891-January 1893 p45 January 1892 application of Edith Lanchester.

For more on the socialist and feminist Edith Lanchester, see ODNB, wikipedia and In 1895 the Lanchester family arranged for Edith to be detained under the 1890 Lunacy Act when she announced her intention of setting up home, unmarried, with an Irish labourer, James Sullivan. The case caused a national outcry; I hope Rose Mary did what she could to get her friend released. Edith was let go after a week, when doctors not selected by the Lanchesters declared her sane. She did set up home with Sullivan and they stayed together until his death in 1945. In 1897 Edith became secretary to Eleanor Marx.

Roger Mace in his emails of August 2016 told me a bit more about the Lanchester family: first, that they owned the Lanchester car-making firm; and secondly that the Bride of Frankenstein, Elsa Lanchester, was a member of the family.




Both Rose Mary’s parents’ families - the Swains and the Rays - have their bewildering aspects. Both families had a trend towards men and women dying young; and to non-nuclear-family households with much coming and going of personnel. Both families contained people called by exactly or more or less exactly the same name. There are several men called ‘Isaac Swain’, and the name-set ‘Isaac Howard Swain’ occurs many times in the extended family of Rose Mary’s father. And on the other side, Rose Mary’s grandmother and mother were both called ‘Rose’ and she herself then named one of her own daughters ‘Rosemary’.


The Swains were one of a group of staunch Non-Conformist families living in and around Stockport in Cheshire, in the late 18th century. Roger Mace has found that the Swain, Willis, Wilson, Whitmore and Spensley families were connected by marriages and by joint business ventures; and also by bankruptcy and legal proceedings in the Chancery Courts, when things went wrong!

The direct line of descent of Rose Mary’s father from Swain family members living in Stockport begins with the man Roger and Sally will call Isaac Swain 1. Isaac Swain 1 was born in 1716 and married Sarah Willis. A son of theirs, Isaac Swain 2 (born 1755) made a fortune as a pawnbroker and cotton waste spinner, and from property and other investments in Stockport. He married a woman called Jane Howard, usually known as Jenny, and her surname was taken up by their descendants as a forename. Isaac Swain 2 and Jane had eight children, five of whom survived infancy. They included a son, born in 1803, who was the first to be named Isaac Howard Swain. We’ll call him 3/1 - third ‘isaac swain’, first ‘isaac howard swain’. The four surviving daughters were: Sarah Willis, who married a Whitmore; Jenny, who married a Spensley; Hannah; and Mary Ann, who married a Wilson. The sons-in-law were involved in a variety of businesses: pawnbroking; auctioneering; silk manufacture; silk trading and newspaper ownership. The businesses were not always successful and Whitmore went bankrupt in 1843 when the Illustrated Weekly Times failed. Through these marriages, the name-set ‘isaac howard swain’ passed into the Whitmore family and the forename-set ‘isaac howard’ passed into the Spensley family. And Isaac Howard Swain 3/1 (Rose Mary’s grandfather) passed the forename-set on through his family.

Isaac Swain 2 died in February 1837, and his widow in 1839. His Will was disputed, and legal cases concerning it were still continuing in 1852; a lot of the money and property that Isaac Swain 2 had amassed, was lost in the process.

Isaac Howard Swain 3/1 married Mary Ann Blake at St Mary Stockport, in September 1837. They are Rose Mary’s grandparents on her father’s side. They had two sons. The first, Isaac Howard Swain 4/2, was born in 1838/9. No official record of the death of Rose Mary’s grandfather Isaac Howard Swain 3/1 has been traced. However, Roger Mace has found a manuscript note written by his Whitmore brother-in-law (Sarah Willis Swain’s husband) in a book of memoranda relating to the death of Jenny Swain. According to that note, Isaac Howard Swain 3/1 died in Dieppe, France, on 8 February 1841. A court case was in progress against him at that time, by a judgement creditor. The 1841 census shows his widow, Mary Swain aged 20, living in Macclesfield with her son “Isaac Swain” - that is, Isaac Howard Swain 4/2, Rose Mary’s father - aged 2. On census day, Mary Ann was pregnant for a second time. Her son John Wilson Swain was christened in Stockport on 15 November 1841, but died the following year.

The widowed Mary Ann Swain may have spent the next few years living with her relations-by-marriage, the Wilson family. In 1848 she married again, in Kendal Westmoreland. Her son Isaac Howard Swain 4/2 went with her and her new husband, to London.

Mary Ann Swain’s second husband was Rev Alfred Povah, born in 1824 and thus six years her junior. Legal documents from the 1840s suggest that he had been a friend of the family for many years. At the time of the marriage he was curate of St James Westminster. In the 1850s he ran a school in Southwark. By the early 1860s he’d been appointed vicar of St Olave Hart Street in the City of London. He remained in post there for many years and later wrote a book about the parish. Rose Mary’s father, Isaac Howard Swain 4/2, grew up living with the Povah family and had at least two half-brothers, Alfred and John Povah.

Isaac Howard Swain 4/2 studied medicine at St Andrew’s University and Guy’s Hospital in London. On the day of the 1861 census the Povahs were abroad so Isaac, doing a spell on the wards at Guy’s, was staying at 280 Tudor Road Battersea, with his aunt Mary Ann (daughter of Isaac Swain 2) and her husband John Hewetson Wilson. Wilson, who had been born in Knutsford in Cheshire, didn’t need to work but lived off the income from property in Sussex, Westmorland and Stockport, and from shares in the Kendal and Windermere Railway. He wasn’t an extravagant man - he and Mary Ann had were employing only two women servants, a cook and a general servant. However, a coachman was also living in on that census day. At the back of the Wilsons’ house must have been some stables, with the groom or grooms sleeping above the horses. Keeping a carriage was an expensive business - this was a wealthy household.

Rose Mary’s father Isaac Howard Swain 4/2 gained his license to practice surgery, medicine and midwifery in 1862. John Hewetson Wilson died in August of that year. Amongst many other bequests, he left £1000 to Mary Ann Povah; and £1000 to Isaac Howard Swain 4/2 which - unlike the bequests left to the other beneficiaries - was in cash with no strings attached. Isaac Howard Swain 4/2 used the inheritance to move to Shaftesbury, Dorset and start up a practice as a GP. In 1866 he was appointed deputy coroner there, to cover the usual coroner’s illnesses and absence. The appointment might have led to Isaac Howard Swain 4/2 becoming the coroner for Shaftesbury himself in due course. However, he chose instead to move to Cheshire, nearer to where his extended family - many of them still comfortably off despite the trouble over Isaac Swain 2's Will - could bring him more patients. By the mid-1870s he was in practice in the village of Brindley Ford, a few miles south of Congleton. And then, like his father, he died young - in February 1875 aged only 36 - and his widow moved to London.


Rose Mary’s mother was also from a medical family. Rose Stammers Ray (born 1841) was the eldest child of Edward Ray and his wife Rose, née Mann, who had married in 1840. Edward Ray was a surgeon and GP with a practice in Dulwich; as was his eldest son Edward Reynolds Ray who probably inherited his father’s patients.

Rose Ray grew up in a wealthier household than that of Isaac Howard Swain 4/2's step-father, Rev Povah: on the day of the 1851 census, her parents were employing a cook, a housemaid, two nurses, a groom; and possibly a governess although the census entry is a bit vague on that point. The two nurses had the care of Rose Stammers Ray and her six siblings - Edward Reynolds, Alice, Charles, Herbert, Julia and Katherine. Rose Stammers Ray’s father Edward died in 1868, when his wife was in her late 40s.


Isaac Howard Swain 4/2 and Rose Stammers Ray were married in 1863. Rose Mary Howard Swain was the eldest of their three children, born on 1 December 1864 in Shaftesbury. She had a sister, Florence Emily Howard Swain, born 1866 (also in Shaftesbury); and a brother, Isaac Howard Swain the 5th and 3rd (and I think the last, in this line of descent), born in 1867 in Stockport, after the family had moved to Cheshire.

By 1871, Rose Mary’s parents were at their last address together, 45 Brindley Ford. With Isaac Howard Swain 4/2 still in the process of building up his practice, their household on census day 1871 was a very modest one, with no live-in servants, not even one (a groom or an apprentice) helping Isaac with his work as a GP. The household was also lacking one of its family members on census day: Florence Swain, the younger daughter, was already living with her uncle Edward Reynolds Ray and his wife Alice, in Dulwich.


After the death of Rose Mary’s father Isaac Howard Swain 4/2 - probably very soon after - Rose Stammers Swain returned to London, to live with her mother, Rose Ray. The two widows, mother and daughter, stayed living together until the mid-1890s. Rose Mary the GD member lived with them until her marriage. The other two permanent members of the household for that long period were also women: Rose Ray’s daughter Julia, who never married; and Rose Ray’s grand-daughter Alice Ray Simon, the only surviving child of her daughter Alice, who had died two days after the birth. Other family members came and went: George John Simon, the widower father of Alice Ray Simon, had lived with his mother-in-law in the 1870s; Rose Mary’s brother Isaac Howard Swain 5/3 lived with the two widows during the school holidays and until he went to work in the East; on census day 1881 the household had a lodger, Blanche Eagle, a 14-year-old schoolgirl; and by 1891 Rose Ray’s youngest daughter Katherine Hazeldine had come to live with them after she too had been widowed. One person who didn’t ever live in the household as far as I can see was Rose Mary’s sister Florence: she continued to live with her uncle and aunt and their daughter Eliza Ray, until she married.

In the 1870s Rose Ray had been living in Brixton but by 1881 she and her daughter had moved to 9 The Grange, Shepherd’s Bush. I haven’t been able to identify this street and by 1891 the Post Office might have given the house a new address - 45 Shepherd’s Bush Green. Whether or not it was the same house as in 1881, 45 Shepherd’s Bush Green was where Rose Mary Swain and her relations were living on the day of the 1891 census. Alice Ray Simon was away that day, perhaps staying with her father in Essex. I’m not sure what income Julia Ray had - possibly none at all until her mother died - but the widow’s portions of Rose Ray, Rose Stammers Swain and Katherine Hazeldine enabled them to employ the same number of servants that Rose Ray had been able to afford in the early 1870s: a cook, housemaid and parlourmaid. None of the older women ever did any paid work and would probably have thought it beneath them; but Rose Mary was working in the early 1890s.

Between 1891 and 1893, the household moved out of Shepherd’s Bush to a house nearer to Hammersmith, in Girdlers Road; and it was from there that Rose Mary was married.

Sources for this family section:

Information and copies of original documents sent me by Roger Mace, a descendant of the Whitmore family; from - inter alia - documents he has inherited relating to the Whitmores, Swains and other families living in 18th-century Stockport. They included a neat summary of the Will of Isaac Swain of Stockport - Rose Mary’s great-grandfather - whose death in February 1837 unleashed so many legal cases. In the Will Rose Mary’s grandfather (Isaac Howard Swain 3/2) was left his father’s silk mill and the property surrounding it.

Familysearch England-VR GS film number 1751723 had a baptism record for Rose Mary’s father Isaac Howard Swain 2 though he was not baptised with the name ‘howard’. 1839 at Stockport Cheshire. Father Isaac Howard Swain (3/2). Mother Mary Ann.

Death of Isaac Howard Swain (3/2): handwritten memorandum written by his brother-in-law Whitmore in a book of items relating to the death of Jane Howard Swain. Copy sent by Roger Mace, by email September 2016.

Problems caused by the early death of Isaac Howard Swain 3/2: The Jurist volume 5 1842 p886 mentions a case being brought against the infant Isaac Howard Swain (that’s 4/3, Rose Mary’s father) by his father’s creditors.

Second marriage of Mary Ann Swain: Gentleman’s Magazine 1848 p423.

Rev Alfred Povah:

Calendar of King’s College London issue of 1850 p215 Povah is in a list of graduates in classics; 1847.

Census 1851, 1861

The Annals of the Parishes of St Olave Hart Street and Allhallows Staining in the City of London published London: Blades East and Blades 1894. Seen at

Probate Registry 1901.

Announcement of Isaac Howard Swain 4/3’s licence to practice medicine: Lancet 1862 part 1 January to June p559 issue of 24 May 1862 I H Swain. His address is given as St Olive’s Rectory Hart Street, in the Mark Lane district of the City of London.

For Isaac Howard Swain 4/3's inheritance from his uncle: Will and probate grant of John Hewetson Wilson who died 9 August 1862; obtained from the Public Record Office by Roger Mace September 2016.

GMC Registers for 1862 to 1875.

His appointment as a deputy coroner: Dorset Quarter Sessions Order Book. Confirmation of Isaac Howard Swain’s appointment, to cover when necessary for the coroner’s illness and absence. Issued by the coroner, William Henry Rennie Bennett 25 August 1866. Copy of this item sent by Roger Mace; email August 2016.

Death announcement: Lancet 1875 part 1 January-June p357 issue of 6 March 1875. There was no obituary.

Birth of Rose Mary Howard Swain (though she isn’t named): via genesreunited Dorset County Chronicle issue of 7 December 1864.

Rose Mary’s baptism (by her step-grandfather Rev Alfred Povah) at St Olave in London on 18 January 1865: Familysearch England-ODM GS film number 55703.

Florence Emily Howard Swain: Familysearch England-ODM GS film number 55703. Florence was also baptised at St Olave, on 11 May 1866; she was born 6 January 1866.

Rose Ray’s households of widows and orphans: census 1871, 1881, 1891.

Isaac Howard Swain 5/4, Rose Mary’s brother:

Epsom College Register from October 1855 to July 1905. Published London: Richard Clay and Sons 1905: pxi, pxii, p108, p121. He played football and cricket for the school; and left it in 1883.

His employment with the Bombay and Burmah Trading Corporation: probate registry entry 1896 for Rose Stammers Swain. See wikipedia for the Corporation; and also other websites as the company still exists, as a member of the Wadia Group. BBTC was founded in 1863 to manage the tea plantations of William Wallace; but moved into Burma and Thailand in the 1870s in search of teak. That’s where Isaac Howard Swain 3 comes in: in the probate register 1896 he’s described as a “forester”.

His being in British Columbia in 1910. Familysearch British Columbia Marriage Registrations GS film number 1983703: marriage of Isaac Howard Swain to Winnifred Mary Gunson in Vancouver BC on 30 November 1910.

Isaac Howard Swain’s wife had also been born in England and they came back to live in London eventually. Isaac Howard Swain died in March 1949 in Hampstead.

Death of Isaac Howard Swain 5/4: probate registry 1949.

Alice Ray Simon:

Freebmd and see pages on the Ingham family, managed by Ronald Goose and with a photo (in old age) of Alice Ray’s daughter. Alice Ray Simon married Charles Patrick Ingham in 1896. Her daughter Rose Mary Julia Ingham was born in 1900.

Back to Rose Mary Howard Swain:


A complete unknown. No governess was ever listed on census day in any household Rose Mary lived in while she was growing up; though one might have been employed who came each day to give lessons. Another possibility was that there was money enough in the Ray and Swain families to pay for Rose Mary to go to a private day school: that wouldn’t show up on the census and it seems to be in the nature of such schools that their records are not on the web. It’s just possible that she went to a National school; but these were looked down on by the middle-classes who preferred to pay for their children’s education if they could afford it (or let the girls do more or less without if they couldn’t).


Rose Mary did have a job in the early 1890s - the 1891 census official was told that she was

working as a day-governess: that is, she was employed to give lessons in other households while still living at home. She was not working in a school; which probably meant that she had no teaching qualifications. Rose Mary’s employers will all have had to be wealthy enough to afford to pay her to teach their daughters. There will have been plenty of those in the Shepherd’s Bush and Hammersmith area.



ANY PUBLIC LIFE/EVIDENCE FOR LEISURE TIME? Bearing in mind, of course, that most leisure activities leave no trace behind them.

Apart from the TS, nothing that has left many records, though David Robinson, Rose Mary’s grandson, tells me she was a suffragist though never a suffragette.


Born: Shaftesbury Dorset

?1871-75: 45 Brindley Ford, Wedgewood

1881: 9 The Grange Hammersmith; which might be the same house as

1890, 1891: 45 Shepherd’s Bush Green

1893: 13 Girdlers Road Kensington which is just round the corner from Blythe Road where the GD’s 2nd Order had its offices and ritual room in the late 1890s.

Immediately after her marriage, to at least early 1895: Greenway Bank, 32 London Road, Chalk Hill Bushey

By 1901 and still in 1913: Aysgarth, Upton Road Watford.

At death 1937: Darbys, Church Road Cookham Berkshire.


Rose Mary married a solicitor, Alfred Robinson. Alfred was born around 1860 in Croydon into a family of committed and active Quakers. He qualified as a solicitor in 1880 and may always have worked for Jesse Hind. He was taken into partnership by Jesse Hind in 1897, and they continued in business as Hind and Robinson, with offices at 8 Stone Buildings Lincoln’s Inn, 6 Bishopsgate in the City of London, and in Nottingham, until Hind’s retirement around 1905. It was probably at this point that the offices in Bishopsgate and Nottingham were let go and there were a couple of years in which Alfred Robinson was the only partner. By 1908 Alfred had taken Henry George Barrett into partnership, and that partnership continued, at 8 Stone Buildings only, until Alfred’s own death in 1913.

I couldn’t find any direct evidence that Alfred Robinson had been at London University but he did have a law degree and in 1891 he was one of the boarders at University Hall Gordon Square, a lodging house where young professional men could have board and lodging in return for giving lessons to working people in the evenings. The Hall had been founded by dissenters and was closely associated with University College.

Sources for Alfred Robinson as a solicitor:

Law Lists: 1897 p538; 1904 p548; 1905 p522; 1906 p560; 1908 p393 and p570; 1913 p605; 1914 p625 though with Barrett as the only partner; and 1918 p463 when the partnership doesn’t appear at all.

At items catalogued as Pl E12/6/8/8/13-83 all dated 1898-99 show Hind and Robinson involved in a conveyance of land at Clipstone Nottinghamshire. Jesse Hind died in Nottingham in 1906 and had probably come from there originally.

University Hall: 1891 census and page on University Hall and the Passmore Edwards Settlement.


Rose Mary Howard Swain married Alfred Robinson at St James Norlands in Kensington on 12 August 1893. They had six children: Beatrice Howard Robinson born 1894; Rosemary Howard Robinson born 1896; Jessica Howard Robinson born 1897; Dorothea Howard Robinson born 1899; son Edward Howard Robinson born late in 1900; and a second son, Oswald Howard Robinson, who was born in 1903 but died of scarlet fever in 1910.

The household that Rose Mary had grown up in was wiped out by the deaths of its three senior members around the time of the birth of Rose Mary’s second daughter. Rose Ray died in December 1895; Rose Stammers Swain died in January 1896; and Julia Ray died in June 1896, just before Alice Ray Simon was due to get married. Rose Mary’s grandmother Mary Ann Povah also died, about four days after Rose Ray. A hard time for both Rose Mary and Alice. Alice’s marriage did go ahead, though.

On census day 1901 the Robinsons were living at the house called Aysgarth, on Upton Road in Watford; with a nurse and two other servants (probably a cook and a housemaid) to help run a household with so many small children. The family were all still there on the day of the 1911 census. The children were all at school so the nurse had been dispensed with; though the Robinsons could still afford the cook and housemaid. They had visitors on census day - Rose Mary’s sister Florence Winser (she had married Frederick Winser in 1899) and her daughter Florence Frederika, aged 10.

It seems to have been the fate of women in Rose Mary’s family to be left widowed at a relatively young age. Alfred Robinson died in March 1913, perhaps rather suddenly (he died in central London rather than nearer home); Rose Mary was 49.

Sources: freebmd for births of Rose Mary’s children; marriage of Alice Ray Simon; marriage of Florence Emily Howard Swain and birth of Florence Frederika Winser. Probate Registry entries 1896 for Rose Ray, Rose Stammers Swain and Julia Maria Ray; 1913 for Alfred Robinson.

Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica published Hamilton Adams and Co 1917; p193 for the death of Mary Ann Povah.


Rose Mary Howard Robinson died early in 1937 in a nursing home in Marlow, though her normal address was Darbys, a five-bedroom detached house on Church Road Cookham. Of course I can’t tell whether she was living at Darbys on her own or with one of her children.

Sources: probate registry entries 1937; and zoopla February 2016.


Rose Mary’s son Edward Howard Robinson became an electrical engineer. He worked for Radio Communications Ltd in the 1920s and later for Gambrell Brothers. He wrote for Wireless World and, both with work colleagues and on his own, held several patents in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. During World War 2 he was employed by EMI working on radar. He married and had two children – my 2024 correspondent David in 1932, and Helen in 1939. He died in 1987.

Dorothea Howard Robinson qualified as a secretary and was personal assistant to the deans of St Thomas’s Hospital from 1941 to her retirement in 1961. She then went to live with her sisters Beatrice and Rosemary.

Beatrice Howard Robinson and Rosemary Howard Robinson were living together at 13a Osmond Gardens Hove in the mid-1960s; Dorothea had joined them there in 1961. In a partial repeat of what had happened to their great-grandmother and grandmother, they all died within 18 months of each other: Beatrice in April 1965, Dorothea in March 1966; and Rosemary in the autumn of 1966. None of them had married.

Rose Mary’s youngest daughter Jessica – known as Poppy - was the odd one out. She went to university, studying chemistry at Bedford College London. She graduated in 1920 and married 2nd Lieutenant Leslie Grayburn Barry of the Army Service Corps. I think Jessica may have had a daughter, Cynthia Grayburn Field. Jessica Barry bucked the general trend of her family by living until she was nearly 100: she died in 1994.


In 2016 I found details of five patents held by Edward or by Edward and fellow-workers, at website That site has been hacked but in January 2024 David Robinson was able to find all five using Espacenet: //

Via google to Official Gazette of the US Patent Office volume 627 1949 p401 patent number 2,484,120.

Radio Communications Co Ltd:

At there was a long article on the setting up of the BBC. On p6 the firm was in a list of the original shareholders, contributing one person to the BBC’s board.

The connection with the BBC was also in A Chronological History of Electrical Development from 600BC published New York 1946 by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and available on See p90.

There were articles on the firm in a couple of BVWS bulletins:

volume 23 number 3 Autumn 1928 p4


volume 23 number 2 p16

Gambrell Brothers whose firm went under a lot of different names at different times, and/or had a lot of subsidiary companies with slightly different names.

At there was an entry for them as Gambrell Bros Ltd giving these addresses:

- 1899 17 Giltspur Street London

- 1923 76 Victoria Street London with works at Merton Road Southfields.

I also saw references in 1932 and 1937 to Gambrell Radio Ltd; and in 1956 to Gambrell Bros and Co Ltd.

One company was wound up. At issue of the London Gazette of 4 October 1940 p5873 published a legal notice as part of the liquidation process in the case of Gambrell Radio Communications Ltd of Broomhill Road Wandsworth.

Dorothea and Jessica:

St Thomas’s Hospital Gazette volume 64 1966 p80.

Probate registry entries 1965, 1966.

University of London Calendar issue of 1920 p498.

At, item catalogued as LIDDLEWW1/009 which has Jessica Howard Robinson’s name on it and some information on her life; though the contents seem mostly to be records of her husband’s family, the Barrys.

BASIC SOURCES I USED for all Golden Dawn members.

Membership of the Golden Dawn: The Golden Dawn Companion by R A Gilbert. Northampton: The Aquarian Press 1986. Between pages 125 and 175, Gilbert lists the names, initiation dates and addresses of all those people who became members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or its many daughter Orders between 1888 and 1914. The list is based on the Golden Dawn’s administrative records and its Members’ Roll - the large piece of parchment on which all new members signed their name at their initiation. All this information had been inherited by Gilbert but it’s now in the Freemasons’ Library at the United Grand Lodge of England building on Great Queen Street Covent Garden. Please note, though, that the records of the Amen-Ra Temple in Edinburgh were destroyed in 1900/01. I have recently (July 2014) discovered that some records of the Horus Temple at Bradford have survived, though most have not; however those that have survived are not yet accessible to the public.

For the history of the GD during the 1890s I usually use Ellic Howe’s The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order 1887-1923. Published Routledge and Kegan Paul 1972. Foreword by Gerald Yorke. Howe is a historian of printing rather than of magic; he also makes no claims to be a magician himself, or even an occultist. He has no axe to grind.

Family history: freebmd; (census and probate);; familysearch; Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage; Burke’s Landed Gentry; Armorial Families;; and a wide variety of family trees on the web.

Famous-people sources: mostly about men, of course, but very useful even for the female members of GD. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Who Was Who. Times Digital Archive.

Useful source for business and legal information: London Gazette and its Scottish counterpart Edinburgh Gazette. Now easy to find (with the right search information) on the web.

Catalogues: British Library; Freemasons’ Library.

Wikipedia; Google; Google Books - my three best resources. I also used other web pages, but with some caution, as - from the historian’s point of view - they vary in quality a great deal.


13 September 2016

January 2024

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