Top Table


The top table, Table A, was most probably a long table of 21 places arranged along the wall of the Rembrandt Rooms, and we will introduce first the top of the top table for whom we do know the seating plan. Lady Rhondda, 49, was seated in front of the garden windows, and to her left the Chair of the Dinner Professor Winifred Cullis C.B.E, 57, the first woman to hold a chair at a medical school, a Director of Time and Tide, and a later sitter for portraitist Alice Burton. Winifred in turn was seated beside The Lord Camrose, 53, Welsh media mogul in the process of reviving the Daily Telegraph, and a speaker at the dinner.

To Lady Rhondda’s right sat Sir Norman Angell, 62, economist, lecturer, journalist, pacifist, writer, MP, “Nobel Peace Prize Laureate-in-Waiting”, whose Foreign Affairs journal was now incorporated into Time and Tide; and also speaker at the dinner. To his right was the French Mauritian Marie Edith Merandon du Plessis, Lady Berry, 45, who as we learn may well have had a greater business head on her than her husband, newspaper proprietor Sir Gomer Berry, 49, younger brother of Lord Camrose. It was pretty likely that he would have been seated to her right.

Top table top 5, trimmed (1).png
Lady Berry, Sir Norman Angell, Lady Rhondda, Winifred Cullis, Lord Camrose ©Mirrorpix [1]

If the evening was still warm the windows may have been open.

Below we then present the other fifteen in simple alphabetical order. Whilst we make suggestions on the other guest pages who might be seated with whom, for the top table, with a few tweaks, this alphabetical line-up might have worked quite well.

Henry Andrews, 38, banker with Schroder’s of Berlin, in his third year of marriage to Rebecca West;

Lilian Baylis, C.H., 58, manager of the Old Vic and much more – “who could manage an opera from A to Z”;

Miss Alice Mary Burton, 40, portraitist of Lady Rhondda and of many more besides;

Miss E.M. Delafield, 42, writer (notably Diary of a Provincial Lady first serialised in Time and Tide), speaker at the dinner, and Time and Tide Board member;

St John Ervine, 49 year old Ulsterman, writer, drama critic of The Observer, playwright, theatre producer, and an important regular contributor to Time and Tide – and with a minor claim to fame for being a close witness of the Derby tragedy when suffragette Emily Wilding Davison died under the hooves of the King’s horse;

Stephen Gwynn, 69, Irish author, journalist and one-time Irish Nationalist MP and frequent contributor to T&T;

Mrs Rose Haig-Thomas, 79, sister of the Dowager Viscountess (Sybil) Rhondda, and aunt of Lady Rhondda (and also sister-in-law to the late Viscount Rhondda), with a strong interest in the natural world, a talent for garden landscaping and a writer. The only member of Lady Rhondda’s family at the dinner;

Elizabeth Haldane, C.H., 70, lifelong liberal, writer, suffragist, social welfare worker, an originator of the Voluntary Aid Detachments, rivalling her distinguished brothers;

Cicely Hamilton, 60, actress, writer, suffragist, lyricist for the suffragette anthem, on the Board of Time and Tide, also painted by Alice Burton;

Winifred Holtby, 34, writer and close friend of many in this circle especially Vera Brittain;

Mrs Elizabeth Lucas, 59, writer, noted for her wartime exploits running an orphanage in France – the only guest on the top table where we have some uncertainty as to her identity;

Harold Macmillan, 29, up-and-coming MP, and publisher of Lady Rhondda’s recent autobiography and future Prime Minister;

Leonard Raven-Hill, 66, speaker at the dinner, cartoonist with Punch and husband of Time and Tide’s Advertising Director, Marion Jean Lyon, on Table 5. 

Arthur Watts, 49, cartoonist and illustrator of the works of fellow guest Miss E.M. Delafield, the regular Time and Tide contributor;

Rebecca West, 40, writer, critic, and journalist, a speaker at the dinner and a Board member of Time and Tide, accompanied by her husband Henry Andrews


[1] Western Mail and South Wales Advertiser, 25th March 1933 ©Mirrorpix, created courtesy of the British Library Board, sourced from The British Newspaper Archive (