Douglas Anstruther.   Open the Anstruther Guest Book at the beginning ...The Anstruther Guest Book 1901-1952
The Decade of War (1936-1946)

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, came 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.

The Guest Book was started by Henry (Harry) Torrens Anstruther M.P. and Dame Eva (née Hanbury-Tracy) when they took possession of their home, 'The Cottage', Temple Dinsley, near Hitchin, Herts in 1901. They moved into the house in April of that year. Their second child, Joyce - the later writer, Jan Struther - was born at the beginning of June. Their first child, Douglas, had been born in 1893.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt told Jan Struther that her work, Mrs. Miniver, later the Oscar winning film (1942), had considerably hastened America's entry into the war; and Winston Churchill said that Mrs. Miniver had done more for the Allies than a flotilla of battleships.

Harry Anstruther died as the result of an accident in 1926. His estranged wife lived until 1935 and has her own story told elsewhere on this site. After Harry's death, his son, Douglas, continued with the Guest Book at his various family homes. Click on the image of Douglas Anstruther above for further details about the Anstruther Guest Book and for visitors 1901 - October 1915.

This specific section considers the decade 1936-1946 (Greyfriars at Redbourn in Hertfordshire) and comes up with a number of surprises. For example, it reveals:

... the controversial 'spymaster' Kenneth de Courcy in the ominous days of 1940 ...
... and the man whose weather forecast launched the Normandy Invasion on D-Day ... Irving P. Krick.

His visit here is recorded in 1945, with his future wife, Marie. He visited again (alone) on 28th June 1946 and on 5th July of that year. In the same year, he signed the Guest Book for himself and his wife (December 21st) with his wife's name first - and they were both there again on 31st December ...

Marie Krick signed the Guest Book the next day - to be the first visitor of the year ...

... or, perhaps, to prove she had survived the party!

The Kricks were back again at the end of June and Irving P. Krick notes (6th July Hungerford) against an entry for July 5th 1947. They appear again on 18th July and on December 27th. ... but there is no note of a party for New Year. In the following year, Douglas and his wife, Babs (Wormald) Anstruther moved to Tetbury in Gloucestershire and there are no further noted visits from Irving and Marie. The Kricks did, however, send Douglas and Babs, a picture of their house in Denver, Colorado.

January 1936 - December 1938

Greyfriars in the modern era - image courtesy of Bob BoutlandDouglas Anstruther was born in 1893, the eldest child of a Member of Parliament whose wife was the eldest daughter of a Peer of the Realm. His childhood was privileged but his family life was a stormy one with his parents separating in 1912. Babs (Wormald) Anstruther

He had an eye on a career as a writer which did not eventuate but which remained with him as a hobby for most of his life. He joined the army but was not a career soldier. In 1914 he married Enid Campbell, the grand-daughter of the Duke of Argyll and the mother of his first three children. The marriage ended in divorce and Douglas married again in 1925. The eldest child of his first marriage was killed in a riding accident in 1932. Douglas and his second wife, Babs Wormald, took over the Guest Book in 1926, after the death of Douglas' father, Harry Anstruther.

In 1929 - with a young daughter, Jean - they bought the house 'Greyfriars' at Redbourn in Hertfordshire. They took possession on September 3rd of that year, Douglas making a note in the Guest Book, "It was Squirrel's (Jean's) birthday". She was two years old.

Douglas was essentially a businessman working at Lanes, an engineering firm; however, he kept a busy home interest in horses and hunting and was a key Home Guard figure during the War. At that time, much of the home land was turned over to market gardening. By the time the War was over, he held the rank of Major. It has been said that he made a number of business trips into Germany prior to the War and that he used these opportunities to smuggle refugees out of the country in the car, on more than one occasion.

On the European stage, 1936 marked the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. There had, of course, been rumblings for several years prior to that but, when a group of generals (among them, Franco) attempted a coup d'état in mid-July, the event marked the start of the Civil War itself. Volunteers from some fifty five countries (2000 from Britain) joined The International Brigades whilst events in Germany, too, developed in an ominous way. With so much military activity in Europe, fear of Communism from the east and a Royal crisis in Britain (Edward VIII abdicated on December 11th) there must have been a comparatively "highly charged" atmosphere at Greyfriars.

Research to names and backgrounds in progress - all information from readers/researchers welcomed.

(?) after a name implies difficulty in reading signature.
Initials only, indicates an immediate family member.
Italics = matching dates of visit.
Greyfriars - Redbourn - Hertfordshire
Visitors for 1936
Scan Page for 1936 not shown: 3 visitors
Alick Lawrence 3/1
J(udy) Brudenell-Bruce 3/1
Eric Barrington 4/1

Page 1/2 - 1936

Betty Cohen 9/1
Muriel Stephens 20/1
Jean Walker 16/2
(?) Wm Cohen (?) 17/2
G.M. Thomas 1/3
Arthur Sassoon 13/3
Alexander (Alick) Lawrence 13/3
John T. Bett (?) 14/3
E.M.W. 26/3
Joan Wyatt-Foulger 10/4
(?) R. Wyatt-Foulger 10/4
B 10/4
Hanna Luikes 14/5
A.M.G. 19/5
Charles McGrigor 25/5
Eva Travers (child) 29/5
Daphne Travers (child) 5/5 (added at later date)

Page 2/2 - 1936

Alick Lawrence 19-21/6
Vera Wootten 3/7
Humphrey B. Hichens 13/7

Tom Shorland 7/9
Jean Walker 7/9
Jane Buckland (child) 8/9
Peter Workman 8/9
Betty Cohen 14/9
Aileen Broadbent 28/9
H. Misa (?) 3/10 12/10 16/10
J.M.G. 21/10
Belinda Marten 23/10 (Martin)
S.J. Peacey 24/10
Eric Barrington 21/11
Richard J. C. 20/12 (noted in pencil)
E.M.W. 23/12 (noted in pencil)


Judy Brudenell-Bruce - The Brudenell family - Northampton - Judy had visited twice before - in August 1935. See also - John Richard Delap Halliday, son of John Delap Halliday and Jane Tollemache - The Lords Cardigan and the family Tollemache ...

Visitors for 1937

Page 1/4 - 1937

John Hollis 9/1
Dorothy Lennard [pencil brackets - (Doodles!)] 16/1
(?) P.Fairfield 18/1
Ruth Birley (& Mrs. T.) 29/1
Victor M. Seruya 30/1 (Engineering, Portugal ?)
John Tyler (?) 30/1
Guy Oliver 6/2
Prue Wootten 20/2
Wanks Cooper 13/3
H. Hannan 18/3
Eric Barrington 18/3
(?) P. Fairfield 25/3
H. Hannan 29/3
Aileen Broadbent 29/3
Norah Andreae 29/3

Page 2/4 - 1937

William S. King 3/4
Tom Shorland 2/4 (date order as written)
Margaret F. Lennard 17/4
(?) P. Fairfield 27/4
John Town Brett (?) 9/5
Franz Workman 16-17/5
Lilla Workman 16-17/5
(née [or formerly] Lilla M. Chevalier) as noted AGB 7/11/34
Charles McGrigor 30/5
John Town Bett (?) 1-2/6
Signe Gully 12-13/6
Alan Wilson 12-13/6
(?) P. Fairfield 15/6
Beryl E (?) Gilmour 15-17/6
M. Slater (pencil addition by EMA) July 8

Page 3/4 - 1937

"Ivor 1928" (aka - IGG) -source, Anstruther Horse BookTom Shorland 9/7
Alan Wilson 18/7
Brian T. Plunket 21/7
I or P. Fairfield 22-23/7
H.M.McNeill 24-25/7
Dorothy Fox 23-25/7 (dates as written)
Bertie V. Growcock 28/7

Summer Break

There is a note on the left hand page as follows:
Abercynrig House Llanfrynach Brecon "Lent us by Ivor Guest."
This is probably Ivor Guest connected with a piece of Walton music dedicated to him and to the Lady Mabel Fox-Strangways on the occasion of their marriage, Nov. 22nd 1938. Ivor Grosvenor Guest - (Ivor, 2nd Viscount Wimborne 1903 - 1967)
Abercynrig House Llanfrynach Brecon
Douglas Anstruther 30/7
Babs Anstruther 30/7
Jean Anstruther 30/7
W.H. Cooper 31/7
Derrick Miller (?) 31/7
Signe Gully 31-vii - 5-viii
Rosemary Barnett 6/7
Eric Barrington 6/7
E.M.W. 9/12
(three pencil exclamation marks follow the date.)
William S. King 14/8
Betzy Corbett 14/8
Jean Walker 15/8

Page 4/4 - 1937

Mollie Slater 29/8
Brian Plunket 3/9
Baldwin P. Walker (child?) 7/9
Belinda Marten 7/9
Mollie Slater 13/9
I (?) Fairfield 15-16/9
E. Fairfield 15-16/9
I.F.C.A. (Sept/9/37)
Betzy Corbett 1/10
Brian Plunket 1/10
Mollie Slater 2/10
Eileen Stephenson 6/10
H.M. McNeill 9/10
Betty (?) Travers 22/10
Betzy Corbett 24/10
John Town Bett (?) 29-30/10
Belinda Marten 5/11
Baldwin P. Walker (child?) 6/11
Noted on left hand page at base (in pencil)
"Nov. 12 Babs to Egypt"
Helen McLatter (?) 20/11
Tom Shorland 27/11
December 1937 - three names not scanned appearing on the first page of 1938
Mollie Slater 4/12
Alan Wilson 18/12
Christina H.Travers (child) 30/12
Savoy Hotel prior to Babs sailing for Egypt.
Visitors for 1938
Page 1/3 - 1938
R. C. Bruce Gardner 12/1
(?) ...frid van d? Grogen (?) 12/1
Mary Darrington (?) Bangay 5/2
Margaret Adamson 1/3
Mary Darrington (?) Bangay 11/3
Max Brandenstein 26/3
Signe Gully 26/3
Wulsdan (?) 3/4
Robert F. Workman 11/4
Patricia Purdey 11/4
Christina H. Travers (child) 14/4
Ilse Roberts (?) 16/43
Mary Darrington (?) Bangay 2/5
O.C.A. Slocock 8/5
Elizabeth Tatham (child?) 3/6

Page 2/3 - 1938

Signe Gully 4/6
Ve Wootten 18th (pencil)
Anne Wootten (" pencil)
Harry Price 8/6
Mirror written name 25/6
Harry Price 2/7
O. C. A. Slocock 15/7
(Sylvia Gibsone mentioned left page)
(15/7/38. 9/7 ..> Sylvia Gibsone July 22)
O.C.A. Slocock 4/8
P. Purdey (pencilled in) "
R. Haddon (pencilled in ) "
Seagull - Aug 6 ? (text as written)
Mirror writing - Rosemary Barnett August 17th
O.C.A.Slocock " "
C. F. (?) Bush "Roving"
E. M. W. 23/8
Lolita (? Edita) Delfosse (? Deefosse) 2/9
O. C. A. Slocock 23/9

Page 3/3 - 1938

Belinda Martin 24/9 (letter i is clear)
C. F. (?) Bush 3/10
H. E. Whitcomb 3/10
Rosemary Barnett 15/10
Patricia Purdey 22/10
Ida M. Price 8/11
Harry Price 8/11
Robert Workman 14/11
H. W. Moncrieff 28/11
Mary Bangay 2/12 (sans middle name)
James Purdey 2/12
O.C. A. Slocock 2/12
J. R. (?) Fradgley 2/12
Dianna Tyrwhitt Drake 2/12
Dianna Tyrwhitt Drake - see below.
Slocock - This family name appears to have garden/horticultural links.
R. C. Bruce Gardner - Robert Cotton Bruce Gardner. The guest signature below his name - of equal date - is very unclear. Dutch perhaps, or German?
Max Brandenstein and Signe Gully are "linked" by a symbol that seems to have been used in the Anstruther Guest Book to suggest a romantic link or marriage.
It is perhaps circumstantial that the names Strangway, Gully and Brandenstein make appearances in single genealogies - especially if the Ivor Guest who owned the house in Llanfrynach, Brecon is the one linked to the family "Fox- Strangway". The Max Brandenstein mentioned may be Dr. Max Brandenstein, a Jewish doctor, known to have had a practice in Hamburg.

Dianna Tyrwhitt Drake - Dianna Evelyn Venice Tyrwhitt Drake. (b.Andover, 21st July 1916. Died 6th February 1980.)

Married Lt. Arthur William Michael Blake (born 20th May 1918, died HMS Belmont, 31st January 1942).

Married secondly (also his second wife) Robert Wilson Gordon - b.3rd March 1915, died 13th January 1993.

Dianna was the daughter of Captain Edward Thomas Tyrwhitt Drake. (b. 7th April 1887. Died Gibraltar, 31st August 1933) who married 21st May 1910, Venice Marguerite Corbett. (born ca. 1886, died Westminster 7th June 1944).

Convoy NA2 escort from St. John's, Newfoundland, H.M.S. Belmont was torpedoed by U-81 on 31st January, 1942 and sank with the loss of her entire company.

"Shardeloes Estate.  Shardeloes House was an early work of Robert Adam. The smaller lower house was also one of his works. 

Shardeloes is the ancestral home of the Tyrwhitt Drake family.  History has it that a curse befell the family, stopping any direct heir from inheriting the family wealth. The curse being placed by the family of a boy murdered at sea whilst in the Drake family employ.  The house has now been converted into luxury flats.  During World War II it served as a maternity hospital for Londoners to come to the countryside and have their children, over 5000 children were born here.  Myth has it, if the lake at Shardeloes dries up, then England will fall - though possibly a little out of date nowadays." Source

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