Mr A. E. Harrison

no-picture-square3Albert Edward Harrison, 48, (1884-1972) newspaper manager in Cardiff for one of Lady Rhondda’s papers, the Journal of Commerce, was shortly to move to London to become General Manager of Time and Tide, where he and his wife would then be able to join their daughter Gwen, herself becoming a teacher (and also at the dinner).  A key player in the business management of Lady Rhondda’s newspaper “empire”.

SEATED BESIDE

Maybe beside his daughter Gwen, depending how she wanted to mingle with the other women on the table I expect. Equally, given his imminent move, this might have been a good time to reflect with Mrs Finlay, who also lived in South Wales. A discussion with retired headteacher Jessie White might have allowed him to find out more about the state of the teaching profession, which his daughter would move into (if she hadn’t already).

WHAT’S ON HIS MIND?

Albert is about to move back to London, the place of his birth, and join Time and Tide. Attending the dinner may have been a first introduction to many people though he was yet to leave Wales for London (that came in July/August). His daughter Gwen had already been in London since 1931.

ALBERT’S STORY SO FAR

Albert Edward Harrison was born in 1884, in Battersea, London, the son of James Harrison, labourer, of 40 Great Suffolk St, and his wife Elizabeth.  Albert was christened on 20th April 1884.  He was at school in Wandsworth (recorded 15th January 1894). In Q3 1907 he married Edith Maria Rhoda Down (born 28th November 1881, Plympton, Devon) in Wandsworth and their daughter Gwendolen Rhoda Harrison was born on 1st March 1910 in Cardiff.

In 1911, at the age of 27, he was a Manager (Printing & Newspaper) in Cardiff (living at 219 Mackintosh Place, Cardiff) and in 1915 he became the Managing Director of Cambrian News Ltd when it was taken over by a new company, with Lord Rhondda as one director.[1] In 1919 he and Lady Rhondda, with a share apiece, took over the South Wales Journal of Commerce, then part of the estate of the late Viscount Rhondda.[2] On 4th March 1920 A.E. Harrison of the Journal of Commerce delivered a lecture on “Blind Optimism and Misleading Leaders” to the Cardiff Business Club. In 1926 he was succeeded as Managing Director of the Club by H. Read, the father of Robert Read the Editor.[3]

Cardiff-business-club
Western Mail, 3rd March 1920[4]
In 1922 he was re-elected the county Hon. Sec. of the Glamorgan branch of the British Red Cross Society.[5] In 1930 his parents-in-law celebrated their golden wedding when his father-in-law Mr Down was still working at the South Wales Printing and Publishing Co. Ltd, of which Albert was joint managing director.[6] But at the time of the dinner he was about to make a move.

WHAT ALBERT DID NEXT

On Sunday 23th July 1933 the Roath Congregational Church in Cardiff made a presentation to A.E. Harrison – “the well-known Cardiff Docksman” who had been “in charge of the South Wales Journal of Commerce for many years” – and his wife “who would be shortly removing to London”.[7] Leaving Cardiff he stayed within the Lady Rhondda business empire and by 1935 (and probably earlier) he was the General Manager of Time and Tide. He was living in Acton from 1934.[8] He was back in his home town, albeit further out in the suburbs. We do get a hint at the wide range of roles a General Manager might play at a paper run by Lady Rhondda: on 17th October 1933 when Lady Rhondda is travelling with Theodora Bosanquet and working out how to set up home with her without causing unwanted attention, she wrote to Winifred Holtby “We aren’t proposing to broadcast our plan just yet” but she had contacted her agent to look for a large house or flat.  If somewhere suitable materialised before their return, “I shall say to everyone that Harrison has found me a home that is perfect but is too big for me so I’ve persuaded T. to take a couple of rooms in it”.[9]

Albert died on 13th January 1972, Ruislip, Hillingdon, and his ashes were interred at the Breakspear Crematorium.

BACK TO TABLE 17


[1] Wikipedia The Cambrian News

[2] Western Mail, 14.8.1919 p8

[3] W.J. Lewis, Born on a Perilous Rock, p118, Cambrian News (Aberystwyth) Ltd 1980 2nd Ed.

[4] Western Mail, 3rd March 1920, page 6 ©Mirrorpix Image courtesy of The British Library Board supplied by British Newspaper Archive

[5] Western Mail, 9.6.1922, p7

[6] Western Mail, 6.11.1930 p11

[7] Western Mail, 24.7.1933 p9

[8] Attending funeral of Winifred Holtby, The Times, 2.10. 1935, p17

[9] Thank you to Angela John for that story: Angela V. John, Turning the Tide, pp365-366, Parthian, 2013

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