Mr W. B. Valentine has been a mystery guest for a long time, but finally I believe we have a good candidate, Mr William Basil Valentine, 51, (1882-1950), a stockbroker. We shall cover him, his family and his lifetime friend, the musician Charles James Finucane Draper. The only reference in the media that I can find is that in 1939 one W.B. Valentine attended the annual Critics Circle dinner 1939.
Any further insights, or a picture would be most welcome.
WHAT’S ON HIS MIND?
This page probably already has enough speculation for now.
WB’s STORY SO FAR
William Basil “WB” Valentine was born in 1882 at 75 Carleton Road, Tufnell Park, Holloway, and baptised on 26th September at the nearby St George’s Church, still standing as an arts and meeting venue. He was possibly the only child of Charlotte Wilhelmina Elizabeth Valentin (1859-1947) and Alfred Deutsch (1852-1891). His mother was a Kensington born, Austrian, naturalised British on 18th March 1915 (the war was underway), her parents listed as William George and Elise Marie Valentin, nationality noted as French on the naturalisation certificate form. Earlier census forms show that William George Valentin was born in Wurtemburg and her mother born in Berlin as Maria Charlotte Elizabeth Griebel. Diplomatically he seems to have adopted his mother’s surname. He seems to have adopted his mother’s maiden name. By the time of his death he had added a third Christian name of Stanley, and the “e” was generally omitted from Valentine.
William was nine when his father died, and his mother lived with him for the rest of her life. At 19 he was living at 22 Holmdale Road, West Hampstead with his mother and her brother Arthur Valentine.
On the night of the 1911 census he was a visitor, (occupation stockbroker) at 82 Shaftesbury Avenue, the home of one Charles James Finucane Draper, member of a St. Helier, Jersey, artistic family (his grandfather was the James Finucane landscape painter). In 1916 William was serving with the Air Force. From at least 1924 until 1935 her was living at 8 Chichele Mansions, in Cricklewood, with his mother Charlotte Wilhelmina and his friend Charles Finucane Draper. Other members of the Valentin family also lived in the same mansion block at times. Charles was a musician, a violinist, and composed the music and accompanied a number of the hit songs of the day. Assuming they shared a passion for the arts, this might tally with the presence of W.B. Valentine at the annual meeting of the Critics Circle in 1939.
If another W.B. Valentine appears, William Basil Valentin might have to compete for his seat at the table, but there is some supporting evidence as to why he should be at the dinner. The evidence comes from his Valentin family. His mother had three siblings: Basil William Henry, (1862-1916), Helen Constance Bianca (1864 -), and Arthur Augustus William (1866- ), the most importance in this instance being Basil William. By 1900 he was the Managing Director of the Llanelly brewery Buckleys, touted in the advertisements as the brain behind their wonderful brewing technologies. He enjoyed it so much he was divorced by his wife for running off with one Rose Buckley, whom he then married. There is also a record of him painting a Roll of Honour for the Buckley employees who had gone to the Front. Though such Rolls of Honour are nowadays known as being in tribute to those who lost their lives, to begin with such lists were also made to honour those who had volunteered, some displayed in churches. Most were then discarded so only the Rolls of Honour for those who died are generally known today.
Uncle Basil William died of pneumonia in 1916, and his second wife later that year, but so far I am supposing that his nephew William Basil Valentin was known to the other guests from South Wales on his table, notably Mrs. J. Bell Finlay and A.E. Harrison. The link is no stronger than that, and William Basil had died almost two decades earlier, but it is the best we have and is quite credible. Llanelly is to the West of course, near Swansea, the Finlays and Harrisons coming from the Newport/Cardiff side.
WHAT WB DID NEXT
More of whatever he was already doing. At some point he, his mother and Charles Finucane moved to Brighton (Charles’ family at one point lived in Eastbourne) and all lived at Flat 4, 12 Sussex Square. William assigned his estate to his friend Charles, though if he had not survived, to his cousin Lilian Mary Hoar, daughter of his aunt Helen Constance Bianca Hoar née Valentin. He did have two male cousins, Edward Hoar and Deric Valentin (who married three times).
William Basil Stanley Valentin died at the age of 68 on 6th September 1950. I hope we learn more of him. His friend Charles died two years later, on 24th September 1952.
 The Stage 16.3.1939, p9, a W.B. Valentine (no gender indicated) is listed as an attendee at a Critics Circle Dinner