- 7 Downloads
RRalph Chirnside 1 described Robert as a ‘kindly man, with a simple uncomplicated philosophy of life …’. Unsurprisingly then, and with seemingly scant regard for his own historical importance, Robert left little of himself behind, and without close family able to account intimately for the man, a trip to Penn was in order to speak to the very few people who still remembered Robert and Emily before these memories too were lost. Having spent most of the previous four years researching Robert’s background and early academic work, the time was right for this change of direction. A further motivation for the visit was the receipt of a copy of Robert’s Will which recorded a gift of £200 to the Council of Penn Parish Church.2 I was soon able to reach Mr. Miles Green—Clerk of the Council at the time and a significant local historian—and through him I learnt of the existence of Penn Mead Flatlets. Subsequently I was able to speak to Mr. Christopher White, former Chairman of the Penn-Pennsylvania Fellowship, together with a family friend of his, both of whom remembered Robert when they were much younger. Over a number of telephone conversations, it became clear that there were now very few residents left that had any memories of Robert and Emily but significantly, one of Robert’s beneficiaries viz, Dr. Raymond Sims—a former Trustee of Penn Mead and a neighbour of Robert—still lived on Penn Road. A few more telephone calls and together we were able to arrange a meeting for the 13 February 2012.