Page 4 - HGS Suburb News 145 - March 2021
P. 4

Stobart – the woman                                            Profumo – the Fellowship connection

                           on the black horse                                                                                               awarded the CBE for his
                                                                                                                                            charitable activities in 1975.
           abel St Clair Stobart (1862-  German officers, and after a few   and entering Balkan history as                                    Toynbee  Hall  is  linked  to
      M 1954) came to live in Turners   days in a hotel were on their  ‘the woman on the black horse’.                                      the Suburb by its co-founder,
      Wood when she married barrister   way to the border.     Her wartime experiences left                                                 Henrietta Barnett (what would
      John Greenhalgh in 1911. She   Undaunted, Mrs Stobart (she   Mrs Stobart with what she                                                she have made of Christine?).
      was a feminist and suffragist who   used her first husband’s name)   called “a deep craving to find a                                 Today that link is still celebrated,
      believed that war gave women   was  back  on  the  continent  by   spiritual antidote to the crude                                    for example, by Suburb residents’
      an opportunity to prove their   the end of the year running an   materialism which had been                                           large donation made each year
      worth. When the Red Cross   all-women  hospital  near  responsible for the horrors.”                                                  via the Proms. Up to about 15
      refused to allow her freelance   Cherbourg, and then early in   The beautiful services at St Jude’s                                   years ago, Toynbee would bring
      Women’s Sick and Wounded   1915 she was on her way to   appealed to her aesthetic sense,                                              a group of people up from the
      Convoy Corps to serve in the   organise and  direct  a  hospital   though she soon found herself                                      East End by coach every summer
      First Balkan War in 1912 she   unit for the Serbian Relief Fund.  at odds with the vicar, her                                         for an afternoon of tea, croquet
      went anyway, set up a hospital   When the Serbian army was forced   former fellow prisoner Basil                                      and entertainment laid on at
      in Thrace and became a     to withdraw, she accompanied   Bourchier. She became an early                                              Fellowship House. Profumo would
      Bulgarian heroine.         them on a three-month, 800   proponent of the ordination of                                                lead some of these expeditions
         Two weeks after Britain’s   mile, fighting retreat through   women to the priesthood. When                                        – hence the photo. Two Suburb
      entry into the First World War,  Montenegro and Albania tending   Bourchier argued there were no                                      residents who helped with the
      on 18 August 1914, she set off   the wounded, protecting the   women clergy in the Bible, Mrs                                         teas back then, Irene Colomb
      for Belgium with an all-woman   many refugees who joined them,  S. countered nor was there any                                        and the late Nancy Gilkes,
      team of nurses and doctors,                           boxing, tennis, or French Riviera                                               remembered him as a man of
      accompanied by her husband                            (all close to the vicar’s heart).                                               considerable charm.
      and the vicar of St Jude’s, the                          Mrs Stobart moved further                                                       So, although the Fellowship
      Reverend Basil Bourchier. The                         from ‘crude materialism’ having                                                 connection with Profumo arises
      evening  before,  at a  public                        become convinced “of the truth                                                  from a sad background – the
      meeting, she had been handed                          of  survival [after  death],  the                                               bleak life of the much maligned
      a cheque for £200, raised from                        existence of a spirit world, and                                                and unfairly prosecuted Christine
      residents of the Suburb and a                         the possibility of communication                                                Keeler and the suicide of Stephen
      collection at St Jude’s, in support                   with that world.” She became a                 Eileen Whelan and John Profumo playing croquet  Ward – pride can be taken in the
      of her work.                                          leading proponent of Spiritualism   ast winter’s BBC serial ‘The Trial   service for over 40 years at   fleeting association with someone
         Unfortunately, the three                           and officer of the British College  L  of Christine Keeler’, together   Toynbee Hall. This East End   whose  distinguished  public
      Suburb  residents  arrived  in                        of Psychic Science and turned   with the questioning of politicians’  charity, dedicated to tackling   service career was followed by a
      Brussels  the  day  before  the                       the subject in to a hot topic on   honesty, have been reminders that   poverty, was founded by Samuel   longer period of inspirational
      Germans marched in. Although                          the Suburb in 1924 with lectures   it was time to dust off the 20-year-  and  Henrietta  Barnett  in  1884,   charity work.
      they were given safe conduct                          and debates at the Institute and   old photo of John Profumo and   long before the Suburb had been   Today his picture hangs in
      passes out of the city, all three                     St Jude’s. Arthur Conan-Doyle   Eileen Whelan enjoying a game   thought of. Profumo began his   Fellowship House, along with
      were  subsequently  arrested,                         was a notable speaker.    on Fellowship’s croquet lawn.   voluntary work at Toynbee Hall   those of illustrious chairmen
      accused  of   spying  and                               Although Mrs Stobart seems   Visitors to Fellowship House   shortly after his resignation from   from our charity’s post war
      condemned to be shot at dawn.                         to have brought the vicar,  on  Willifield  Green  may  have   Government. He was a talented   history –  Edward  Parry,  Eileen
      But  then  a miracle  occurred.                       originally hostile,  to  a  more   wondered about the copy hanging   fundraiser and  administrator –  Whelan and John Hewson. One
      Completing the documents                              open-minded  position,  she  in the reception area. A ‘Sliding   ingenious,  charismatic  and  wonders  if  they  shouldn’t  be
      which would have formalised                           decided to leave St Jude’s and   Doors’ moment: if Christine Keeler   compassionate. One of his early   joined by a portrait of Christine
      his  own   execution,  John                           establish (with Conan-Doyle)   hadn’t chosen to go swimming at   achievements  was  greatly  Keeler. After all, no Christine, a
      Greenhalgh gave his address in                        her own ‘church’ known as The   Cliveden on a summer’s day in   enhancing the Toynbee Hall   less effective Toynbee Hall, a
      Hampstead Garden Suburb. It                           Spiritualist Community.   1961, most likely John Profumo   Estate, badly damaged in the Blitz.   poorer East End – and no
      turned out the interrogating                             Mabel Stobart Greenhalgh   wouldn’t have visited our Suburb   He rose to become Chairman   croquet with Eileen.
      officer had visited the Suburb                        seems to have left  the Suburb   nearly 40 years later. Behind   and then President and was   ANDREW BOTTERILL
      the previous year on a town-                          after the death of her husband   that visit is the remarkable story   Christine Keeler
      planning study tour. As a result,                     in 1928 and died in a nursing   of one man’s road to redemption
      the ‘Suburb three’ were released,                     home in Bournemouth in 1954.  – a road that touched the Suburb.
      dined  that night  with  the                                 THE REVD ALAN WALKER  To caricature Profumo as a
                                                                                      sharp-suited Lothario is, well, a
                                                                                      caricature. There’s more to it
                                                                                      than that. Education at Harrow
                                                                                      then Oxford was followed by a
                                                                                      stellar career: youngest MP in
                                                                                      the House in 1940, Army officer
                         PRECIOUS   PAINTINGS/ARTWORK     COSTUME                     in the North Africa, Italy and
                          STONES                          JEWELLERY                   Normandy campaigns, to Brigadier
                           JEWELLERY    PORCELAIN         PROPERTY                    and then a senior staff position
                                                                                      in post-war Japan. Back in the
                         WATCHES                         WINE &                       UK, he rose to become Minister
                         & CLOCKS     MEN’S & LADIES    ALCOHOL                       of War in 1960.
                                     HIGH-END FASHION
                                                              CARS                       One slip, one lie about an
                            QUALITY                                                   affair led to his resignation in
                          NAMED GLASS      SCULPTURE & BRONZES                        1963. How quaint compared to
                                                                                      ministerial standards today. After
                           GOLD     PROBATE VALUATIONS      SILVER
                                                                                      his resignation from Government,
                                                                                      he never uttered one word publicly
                                                                                      about ‘The Keeler Interlude’.
                                                                                         That  slip  however,  led  to
                                                                                      Profumo’s full-time voluntary

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      4                                                                                         SUBURB NEWS IS PRODUCED AND DELIVERED TO YOU BY RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION VOLUNTEERS
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