“Cast a cold eye on life, on death…” (1)

An occasional series of vignettes of the past, drawn from the archives I use.

On 11 October 1963 H J Stamp, Honorary Secretary of the Brentford Philanthropic Society, wrote to the Chairman of the Middlesex County Council to say that on 25 November “This Society is holding its Annual Dinner (Gentlemen only)”.  “We have been honoured,” he went on, “by the presence of past Chairmen of the County Council and we trust that you will be able to accept.  If this is possible we would like you to propose the toast to ‘The Mayor and Corporation of the Borough of Brentford and Chiswick’.”  The Chairman’s secretary replied, deadpan, “I have to inform you that the Chairman now in office is County Alderman Mrs Frances Timpson.”  She had, as it happened, a previous engagement.  The Vice Chairman was County Alderman J W Barter.  “In the circumstances I will not present your letter to the Chairman until I hear further from you.”  Stamp wrote back asking that Mr Barter should be invited instead but he, an MP, was prevented by Parliamentary duties from accepting. I think that served the Brentford Philanthropic Society right don’t you?

(London Metropolitan Archives, MCC/CL/CHAIR/1/57)


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