For fifty years there was a Guest Book on the hall table. Created in 1901, this Guest Book records visits made by family, friends and professional colleagues to the houses of Harry and Douglas Anstruther between 1901 and 1952. In the first part, over a period of several years, there are signings by politicians - writers - sporting personalities - cousins, creators and their kith and kin, many of them vital cogs in the then Imperial wheel. In later years, there's Sopwith, the aviation engineer, Buchan and Delafield the writers - there are wheelers and dealers, diarists, agents, translators, inventors, and suffragettes ... and connections to a host of other personalities of the age; this is a fascinating peek at Edwardian society through the social keyhole of an Edwardian country house.
The Guest Book was started by Henry (Harry) Torrens and Dame Eva Anstruther (née Hanbury-Tracy) when they took possession of their home, 'The Cottage', Temple Dinsley, near Hitchin. Herts.
They moved into the house in April 1901. Their second child, Joyce, (the later writer, Jan Struther) was born at the beginning of June in that same year. Their first child, Douglas, had been born in 1893.
Douglas Anstruther and his second wife, Babs Wormald, took over the Guest Book in 1926, after the death of Douglas' father. They also moved into 'The Old Court House', where Harry had been living.
Two years later - now with a young daughter, Jean - they bought the house 'Greyfriars' at Redbourn in Hertfordshire. They took possession of the house on September 3rd 1929, Douglas making a note in the Guest Book, "It was Squirrel's (Jean's) birthday". She was two years old.
Douglas died in 1956. Both Harry Anstruther and Douglas annotated some of the entries. Those private notes are also included in this publication.