Friday, 25 November 2011

Constance - Mrs Oscar Wilde and friend of Lucy Russell

James Cholmeley Russell pops up briefly in ‘Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde’ the new biography by Franny Moyle. One of his sisters – Lucy – was a college friend.

Constance and Oscar Wilde were part of a circle whose outrageous behaviour shook the foundations of nineteenth-century society.

Constance is the extraordinary account of their marriage played out under public scrutiny, which crashed and burned as only a celebrity marriage can.

Franny Moyle has radically rewriten accepted opinion about the Wildes from both a personal and a literary perspective. Drawing on Constance’s numerous unpublished letters, she uncovers key revelations about a woman who was the victim of one of the greatest betrayals of all time.

Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde - published in June 2011 by John Murray

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Russell's illness

Mike Bishop the intrepid researcher on all things North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways/Welsh Highland Railway has found in the National Archives, Gowrie Aitchison's offer to the High Court, Chancery Division to become Receiver and General Manager of the NWNGR Company following Russell's death in 1912.
Paragraph 2 says he has been Secretary and Traffic Manager from March 1898 to September 1910, then only Secretary, "and during the illness and incapacity of the late Mr Russell which extended over 6 or 7 years I have done most of the work for him only troubling him when absolutely necessary."
So as has been suspected, Russell was ill as far back as the time when he was negotiating with North Wales Power & Traction Co. Ltd in 1906 over the electrification of the Portmadoc, Beddgelert and South Snowdon Railway. See the background here

The literature on illness and its impact upon decision making is mostly focused on politicians rather than businessmen. David Owen wrote 'In Sickness and in Power' in 2008 ISBN 978-0413-776624 where he also touches on his more recent themes of how hubris gets in the way of rational thinking. An earlier book from 1993 is 'When Illness Strikes the Leader - the dilemma of the captive king' by Jerrold M Post and Robert S Robins ISBN 0-300-05683-4. This is some ways is a better and more rounded book than Owen's and he in fact makes no mention of it at all! Both books underline the role that illness has had on world events and how quite understandably wrong or misjudged decisions can be made whether you are physically and/or mentally ill.   

Gowrie Aitchison's Affadavit to the Court

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Russell as a military man

Russell was gazetted as a Sub-Lieutenant (Supernumerary) in the 23rd Middlesex (Inns of Court) Rifle Volunteer Corps on 28th March 1877.

The modern history of the Regiment begins in 1859 with the formation of the 23rd Middlesex (Inns of Court) Rifle Volunteer Corps; it became the 14th Middlesex in 1889. The Regiment was attached, in its later years, to the Rifle Brigade and also formed part of the 2nd London Volunteer Brigade and the "Grey Brigade". See more here and here

Monday, 6 June 2011

Russell heading South

Russell heading South by Boxbrownie3
Russell heading South, a photo by Boxbrownie3 on Flickr.
The Hunslet built locomotive 'Russell' at Beddgelert. One wonders if the eponymous James Cholmeley Russell ever rode on or behind it in a train?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Eleanor Russell

New information on Eleanor Russell (as Eleanor Broome) including her near involvement in the Anglo Zulu War in the blog section "The 1880s and beyond". See also Russell High School here

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Directors - North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways Company

The table below shows the directors of the NWNGR Company from its inception to Russell's death in 1912. 
Directors North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways Company
North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways Company Directors
Bulkeley Senior was replaced by his son at death in June 1875. He was a prominent Anglesey landowner.

Chaloner William Chute (1838-1890) was a barrister and quarry owner and also director of Moel Tryfan Rolling Stock Company. His family lived on the Vyne Estate in Hampshire

Charles Davison (1822-1908) owned a firebrick company (Ewloe Barn Brick and Tile Works) and was a prominent ship owner based at Connah's Quay, Director of Hawarden & Dist. Water Works, Halkyn District Mines Drainage Co. etc. See here for more information

Ernest Lake was a solicitor; later Chairman NWNGR Co. (following Russell)

James Szlumper ex Director Vale of Rheidol Rly, Civil Engineer to NWNGR and Vale of Rheidol

Menzies was managing director of the Alexandra Slate Company

Sir Llewelyn Turner ( 1823 - 1903 ) was prominent in the municipal life of Caernarvon , of which he was mayor on two occasions; he was knighted in 1870. He was the founder (1846)  of the Royal Welsh Yacht Club so shared an interest with Russell , deputy-constable of Caernarvon castle (and served as sheriff of Caernarvonshire , 1886-7. He married in 1878 , Agnes , daughter of G. Bell. More information - festipedia entry and Welsh Highland Heritage Journal June 2012 and biography by J E Vincent published in 1903 and now available again 

Livingston Thompson (1810-c.1874) was an attorney in Dublin became the largest shareholder in the Festiniog Railway Company and sat on the board until 1874.

James Hewitt Oliver (1823-1902) was a lieutenant-colonel in the Dublin militia and the son of Admiral Robert Dudley Oliver and with his three brothers and a sister, inherited the Goosey Estate, Stanford in the Vale, Berkshire.

Hugh Beaver Roberts was a prominent landowner (including the Croesor Estate) and solicitor in North Wales and was closely involved with the Festiniog Railway and the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways Company. The Croesor Tramway, that later formed part of the Welsh Highland Railway was constructed by Roberts in the 1860s.

Abraham Fitzgibbon (1823 – 1887) a civil engineer, who became the Engineer-in-Chief of the Queensland Railway in 1865. Fitzgibbon served an apprenticeship with a leading civil engineer in Ireland, and had considerable experience in railway surveying and construction in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Ceylon, India and New Zealand. He lived at The Rookery, Stanmore, London and died aged 64 at Moorside, Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire

Most of the above information from 'Narrow Gauge Railways in South Caernarvonshire' by James I. C. Boyd, published by Oakwood Press
Welsh Biography On Line here
History of Berkshire here
More details on Chute, Lake and Szlumper in other parts of this Blog.
Details of the others will be added as information becomes available

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Russell's Steam Yachts

According to Lloyd’s Yacht Register J.C. Russell owned two yachts, Gryffin and later Rona (built in 1900 by Chamber Bros, Cartsdyke, Greenock), although there is no record of him owning Madge despite the evidence of a sailor wearing a jerkin carrying the name 'Madge'. More research required!

Thanks to Mike Porter of the Scottish Maritime Museum

Sunday, 24 April 2011

North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways Company

For more information on the history of the NWNGR company with which J C Russell was so involved see the Festipedia site here

Saturday, 16 April 2011

On Russell's Steam Yacht - Madge

On Russell's Steam Yacht
Originally uploaded by Boxbrownie3

L to R - Miss KW - James Cholmeley Russell and his wife Eleanor. Notice the Box Cameras and of course the hats! Taken on Russell's steam yacht 'Madge' in Scotland

Russell's house - Longdene - Surrey

Rolls the mastiff, Russell
Longdene - Surrey
Originally uploaded by Boxbrownie3

Rolls the mastiff and Margaret, Russell's daughter