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Charles Llewelyn Davies

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Charles Llewelyn Davies (1860-1927), known as Charley, was born on 29 June 1860, nine months after his parents' marriage (and 6 weeks after one J.M. Barrie). He was followed by Margaret the following year, and Arthur the year after that, with Maurice, Harry, Crompton and Theodore arriving in 1864, 1866, 1868 and 1870. Like all his siblings, he was highly intelligent, and led the way in achieving outstanding success both at Marlborough and Cambridge. All the boys were known for their wit, but Charley excelled in recounting jokes and funny stories.

Having failed to obtain the position of Chair of Latin at Liverpool University, he joined the Treasury, becoming Assistant Postmaster General in 1910, and was awarded the CBE on his retirement in 1919. In an early volume of the Morgue, his nephew Peter Llewelyn Davies wrote:

In spite of his inordinate love of heat … I seem to remember that in his latter years he always wore a thick overcoat and muffler in London, in the height of summer. So bewrapped, he would wander up and down Charing Cross Road, scrutinising the twopenny and threepenny shelves mostly, I think; and so home to his gloomy little house in Lupus Street, Pimlico – “Leprous Street“ as Crompton and probably himself called it, not inaptly. … Was he a melancholy or contented old bachelor, I wonder? There was a dry, humorous twist to his mouth, a twinkle in his blue eyes, and, despite his rather terrifying love of accuracy which found an outlet in reading the proofs of the London library catalogue, as well as in totting up the pay of HM forces [“Accuracy, my dear boy, accuracy!“ was a favourite rebuke], there was a kindness about his expression which I associate with all his family.“

Charley never married, and died at home on 30 November 1927, aged 67. A few months earlier he suffered a minor stroke. The effect of this was, according to Peter, "to enhance his most sensitive, gentle, kindly expression“, as his face was then “framed in fine silvery hair owing to his being unable to shave.“

[My thanks to Charley's great niece, Jane Wynne Willson, for quoting from her book, "The Chain of Love".]


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