ISSUE 21, April 2007
Editorial
Historic: Philanthropist and scientist: Sir Henry Wellcome
Travel: In Darwin's footsteps
Grand Secretary: Interview with Nigel Brown
Quarterly Communication: Speech by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Faith and Freemasonry: A Salvationist and the Craft
Young Mason: Keep up the tradition
Freemasons' Hall: Refurbishment
Ladies Groups: Cheshire Ladies Circle
   Library and Museum: Masonry and music - the role of the organ
Specialist Lodge: A new Lodge for showmen is consecrated
Serving the community: Two Masons win major rescue awards
Spain: How a Cleveland Mason found his Spanish roots
Wales: Welsh Mason lands national sporting award
Hospices: The Craft's historic links with hospices
Ancient Craft: Herefordshire's ancient boat builder
Education: Forthcoming events and Andrew Prescott and Own free will and accord and First Universities Scheme Initiate
Masonic Charities: Latest from the four main Masonic charities
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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‘Queenie’ Wellcome, pictured with her son Henry
It was in Khartoum in 1901 that Henry Wellcome met the beautiful, if somewhat impulsive, Gwendoline Maud Syrie and almost immediately fell in love with her. She was travelling with her father, Dr Thomas Barnardo (see MQ, issue 20), the famous founder of homes for orphan children and an old friend of Henry’s. Queenie, as she later became popularly known, was 21 and 27 years Henry’s junior. They married very soon thereafter and had one child, Henry Mounteney.
    Initially all was well but their interests, emphasised by the difference in age, were at opposite ends of the social spectrum. Henry was energetic and enjoyed sport and travel, whilst Syrie preferred sedentary socialising in London’s sophisticated parlours and drawing-rooms. Their son, who lived into his eighties, was born with mild brain-damage and had a learning disability that kept him apart from his family from the age of three for most of his childhood.
    Unable to identify with her husband’s work and activities and unhappy travelling with him, Syrie was soon having affairs, which included, though with scant evidence, the American-born magnate of the department store fame, Harry G Selfridge. In 1909, following a major quarrel, Henry and Syrie decided to separate. Syrie left for New York and they never saw each other again.
    In an attempt to keep scandal out of the press, Henry agreed to a generous financial settlement. He was, however, outraged by Syrie’s relationship with the homosexual writer William Somerset Maugham. Syrie bore Maugham’s child in Rome, named Mary Elizabeth and nicknamed Liza, after Liza of Lambeth, the heroine of Maugham’s first book, written before she was born, giving her Wellcome’s surname.
    Henry commenced proceedings, culminating in a divorce in February 1916, citing Maugham as co-respondent. The case was uncontested and Syrie gained custody of the child. Within three months she was secretly married to Somerset Maugham in New Jersey on 16 May 1916. They divorced in 1928.
    A great deal of publicity brought intimate details into public attention. Syrie had claimed that Henry treated her with brutality, neglecting her with his endless travelling and his excessive Masonic activities. It was not surprisng that he left her nothing in his estate, although he gave £500 to Dr. Barnardo’s homes for children.


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