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Authority record

Beetham, Bentley (1886-1963), mountaineer, ornithologist and photographer

  • Person
  • 1 May 1886 - 5 April 1963

Bentley Beetham was an English mountaineer, ornithologist and photographer, and a member of the 1924 British Mount Everest expedition.

Bentley Beetham was born in Darlington in 1886, the second son of James Weighell Beetham and his wife Frances. His father was a bank manager and died when Beetham was four years old. Until the age of eight Beetham was educated at Mr Bowman's Preparatory School; he then attended the Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Darlington. From 1899 to 1903 he attended the North Eastern County School where he was a boarder. He left school at the age of sixteen.

Initially he worked in an architect's office in Darlington and then between 1903-1914 he was busy with field research, writing books and articles, photography and giving lectures. In

1914, having established himself as a leading ornithologist, he returned to the North Eastern County School to teach natural history.
Beetham started rock climbing in the Lake District where he used Wasdale Head as a base and became fiends with Howard Somervell. Together they made ascents of the classic Lakeland climbs in the period before the First World War. After the war, Beetham and Somervell started climbing in the Alps. In 1924 they were both chosen to join the 1924 Everest Expedition.

In 1927 he was elected a member of the Royal Geographical Society.

In 1949 he retired and in 1962 he was disabled by a stroke. He spent his last year in a nursing home, where he died on 5 April 1963.

Bennett, Ralph Francis (1911-2002), historian and Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge

  • Person
  • 1911-2002

Matriculated from Magdalene College, 1929. Bye-fellow, 1935-1936; College lecturer in history, 1936-1982; Official Fellow, 1938; Tutor, 1952 - 1980; President, 1979-1982.
During the Second World War, he served at Bletchley Park as an intelligence analyst, translating and evaluating the Ultra decrypts of the German Enigma cipher.
As a historian, he achieved eminence in two unrelated fields: medieval ecclesiastical history and modern military history.

College Magazine
Obituary by R. Hyam, College Magazine, vol. 46 (2001-02) pp 12-17

Benson, Arthur Christopher (1862-1925), poet and Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge

  • Person
  • 24 April 1862 - 17 June 1925

Master of Magdalene College, 1915-1925

Arthur Christopher Benson was born on 24 April 1862 at Wellington College and was the son of Edward White Benson (1829–1896), first Headmaster of Wellington College and later Archbishop of Canterbury, and his wife, Mary, née Sidgwick (1841–1918). In 1874 he won a scholarship to Eton College and in 1881 he went to King's College, Cambridge, where he got a First in the Classical Tripos in 1884. He returned to Eton as a school master in 1885, a post he held for 18 years despite having no real interest in it.

His real ambition was for a literary career. He completed a biography of his father in 1899, and throughout his life he wrote or edited around sixty books. He wrote the words of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ set to Elgar's music, for the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902. He was able to retire from Eton and return to Cambridge on his appointment as joint editor (with the second Viscount Esher) on the first of three volumes of The Letters of Queen Victoria, 1837-1861.

In 1904 he became a fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge and in 1912 he became it's President. In December 1915 he was made Master, a post he held until his death. At the time he joined the College it was at a very low ebb, but his benefactions and energy transformed the College. He was helped by gifts totaling over £60,000 from an American admirer living in Switzerland, Mme de Nottbeck. He encouraged ‘modern’ subjects, not only English and history, but science, archaeology, and music. He also widened the range of school connections. He was friendly and helpful towards a large proportion of the undergraduates but he could also be combative, egotistical, and despotic.

In 1907–8 and again in 1917–22 he suffered from prolonged bouts of depression and withdrew from society.

He was a prolific diarist writing 180 volumes between 1897 and 1925.

He died in the Old Lodge at Magdalene College on 17 June 1925.

Benson, Edward Frederick (1867-1940), novelist and Honorary Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge

  • Person
  • 24 July 1867 - 29 February 1940

E. F. Benson Frederic was born at Wellington College. He was the third son of Edward White Benson (1829–1896), headmaster of Wellington College and subsequently archbishop of Canterbury, and his wife, Mary Sidgwick (1841–1918). He was a younger brother of A. C. Benson (Master of Magdalene College, 1915-1925), Mary Eleanor Benson (1863–1890), and Margaret Benson (1865–1916), and an elder brother of Robert Hugh Benson (1871–1914). He was educated at Temple Grove School, Sheen, at Marlborough College, and at King's College, Cambridge, where he was exhibitioner (1888) and scholar (1890), and secured first classes in both parts of the classical tripos (1890, 1891).

Worked in Athens for the British School of Archaeology (1892–5) and in Egypt for the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies (1895). His first novel, Dodo, was published in 1893. From 1895 to 1918 he lived in London and devoted himself to writing. From 1918 he lived for the greater part of each year at Lamb House, Rye, Sussex, which had been the home of Henry James.

He published at least ninety-three books, excluding collaborations. His writings fall into three groups: novels of social satire, reminiscences, and horror stories.

Benson never married and lived alone in Rye. He was mayor of Rye from 1934 to 1937 and a JP. He was elected an honorary fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, in 1938 and was appointed OBE. He died in University College Hospital, London, on 29 February 1940, and was buried in the Rye cemetery after a funeral conducted by the bishop of Chichester.

The E. F. Benson Society was founded in London in 1984.

Blackett, Patrick Maynard Stuart, Baron Blackett (1897-1974), physicist, internationalist and humanitarian

  • Person
  • 18 November 1897 - 13 July 1974

Matriculated in 1919 after war service. Was made a Bye-Fellow in 1921.
Fellow of King’s College, 1923-1933.
Professor of Physics (Birkbeck/Manchester/Imperial College), 1933-1974.
Fellow Royal Society, 1933 (Royal Medal, 1940; Copley Medal, 1956; President, 1965-1970).
Nobel Prize for Physics, 1948.
Made an Honorary Fellow in 1948. CH, 1965; OM, 1967; Life peer, 1969.
Awarded some twenty honorary degrees.
Scientific adviser to the British Government (from 1964), and to the Government of India (1947; he was a noted internationalist and humanitarian).
‘A man who had achieved distinction in three separate fields of fundamental research, who made invaluable contributions to the war effort, and who exerted a powerful political influence’ (Bernard Lovell).
‘… that mysterious, intense and haunted visage, which later made Epstein count this Nobel Prizewinner’s bust among his greatest challenges. The tragic mask, however, was highly mobile, alive indeed with intelligence, modesty and friendliness’ (I.A. Richards).

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