Table 17 “Finlays, Harrisons, White, Two Students and the Mystery Valentine”


NB the list of names above will be updated, as Miss Phyllis Crossley and Miss Marian Hodson we now know are almost 100% sure are students at Kings College for Women, London.  We now have a possible candidate for Mr. W.B. Valentine so he is becoming an ex-mystery guest, as a stockbroker. 

A table yet to be firmly identified but one with some structure. Four members originate in the Welsh business network: we have the widow of a Welsh engineer, Mrs J.B. Finlay, 55, and her 19 year old daughter Miss Margaret Finlay – a family probably quite close to Margaret Rhondda’s, and we have the Battersea born Albert Edward Harrison, 48, experienced in the newspaper businesses of Wales who by now may well be the general manager of Time and Tide, also accompanied by his young (23 year old) daughter Miss Gwen Harrison. Young Margaret Finlay three years later married the Deputy Medical Officer for Health for Monmouthshire, whilst Gwendolen Rhoda Harrison was a young school teacher.

They are joined by Mrs Jessie White, 67, a headmistress and leading specialist in and pioneer of the Montessori method. Perhaps there is a connection between the young teacher and the headmistress.

Then there are two students at Kings College, London.  Whilst there are others with their names (though not many) it is surely too much of a coincidence that the Miss Phyllis Crossley, graduating in 1935, and Miss Marian Hodson, graduating in 1934, do not make a pair of fellow students.  They may indeed have met Miss Gwen Harrison who at this time studying at Regent’s Park College. Or they may have been encouraged to attend by their College Head Hélène Reynard, on Table 14, or the college science teacher Tess Dillon, on Table 7.  

Finally, Mr W.B. Valentine, has long been a puzzle, but it is quite possible that our guest was a 50 year old stockbroker, with a possible family connection to the Welsh business connections on the table. Ideas still welcome. 

The most obvious logic for this table therefore is one bringing two families of Lady Rhondda’s business network together. If Harrison is already Time and Tide general manager then this may be “his table” (he took over that role for Mrs A.M. Mortimer, Table 19 in 1933). In turn his teacher-training daughter may have brought along the two Kings College students, Miss Phyllis Crossley and Miss Marian Hodson, and she may also have known the former headmistress Mrs Jessie White.

puzzle-piece2-50can you tell us more about Mr W.B. Valentine? Or have another candidate? Can you tell us more about Miss Phyllis Crossley, and Miss Marian Hodson?