Tuesday, March 07, 2006

(14) Robin Hood

In late January 1986, Angela Julian-Day and I decided, out of curiosity, to visit 29 Campden Hill Road in Kensington, London, this being the house where the poet and naval historian Sir Henry Newbolt had died in 1938.

I had obtained the address from a volume of his collected letters that I was reading.

In the 1990s a blue plaque was mounted there to commemorate his residence.


At the time Angela (seen central in this photograph)

was very enthusiastic about getting a musical which she had written off the ground. It was about Robin Hood.
She had just arrived in this country from Toronto and spoke constantly of her dream.
She even hoped to interest Tim Rice
in cooperating with her on the project, and indeed later that year they met and he was to express interest in it.
This picture shows Sir Tim in conversation with GM Ray Keene and was taken at the same dinner at The Ritz as was the one above -
We found 29 Campden Hill Road and saw a light at the top of the house.
After a few minutes’ nervous deliberation we rather sheepishly rang the bell, with no clear idea as to who might answer or what we were going to say when they did.

The door was answered by a young man, also Canadian, who said his name was Paul and introduced himself as a Benedictine monk. It turned out that the house was being converted by a religious group who intended to make it into a Christian Meditation Centre.
Nobody there had heard of Sir Henry Newbolt and they were startled when I showed them the reference to their address in the book.
I knew that at the time of Newbolt’s death the house belonged to a woman called Ella Coltman.

(Later researches by journalists and biographers revealed that Sir Henry´s life was not quite so staid as it appeared.
Not only was Coltman his lover; she was his wife´s cousin and also had a long term lesbian fling with her - which commenced before Newbolt married - and she even accompanied them on their honeymoon!)
I myself had thought something might have been going on between Newbolt and her after I read a poem of his entitled "To E.C" , which ends with the lines -
Dearest when to you I seem
Such a dull, unlovely stream
Read and think that even I
May at times reflect the sky
Calling this E.C. "Dearest" sounded a bit suspicious to me.)

"Who was the last owner", I asked.
"A man called Hood," replied Brother Paul.
"His name wasn’t Robin, by any chance, was it?", I asked jokingly.
"Yes it was actually: Robin Hood."
... ... ...
Further to the Robin Hood theme, in early 2007 there were investigations of a Mr Keith Burgess concerning claims that he had funded many strong quizzers to get on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
It was not clear to me that, if so, anybody had done anything wrong.
On Mar 27th 2007, 12:31 p.m. I was just thinking about how, if money won through entry to a quiz - even dodgy entry - led to some of it being given to charity, then maybe that was not such a bad thing anyway, and did not merit criminal investigation.
I then turned back to the thread at quizzing.co.uk where the allegations and the newspaper articles about them were being discussed and saw that this had just been posted -

Posted by bully no mates

"... Sun Mirror has revealed he is the mastermind behind a system aimed at getting other quiz champions in the hot seat.... Mr Burgess, who lived in Robin Hood Lane before moving to Northern Ireland, claims to have helped more than 200 contestants win a total of at least �5m, with him taking a percentage." Robin Hood Lane? Brilliant!
27 Mar 2007 11:27

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