Letter from Lucy Russell to Anne Russell



Letter from Lucy Russell to Anne Russell


Lucy’s summary of her parents’ marital breakdown and the issues in her family.


Lucy Russell


1 August 1961


Lucy Russell fonds, Box 18, File 17


Carn Voel ek [sic.]
August 1st, ‘61

Dear Anne,

We’ve just had a long conversation with Granma: at least, she did all the talking. She told us a lot none of us knew before (I don’t think anyway). She said when Edith married Granpa, mummy walked out because she couldn’t get on. We already knew that, but then Daddy followed her & they went & lived in Bloomsbury. She said they were practically starving because before they’d always depended on Granpa’s money since he said ‘get on & write & don’t worry about money.’ He & Granma E. didn’t like them walking out, ‘cos they said they were deserting us. Daddy had left what money he had to pay for Griff [The children’s nanny]. Then they bought a cottage in Wales, (Tyddya Heilyn), and were living there for a while preparing to take us there. But then Mummy met Christopher Wordsworth, and said she didn’t want Daddy in the cottage anymore. So he came to Cornwall, (I think) and then she asked for a divorce, and he began to have a breakdown. He gave her the cottage in Somerset, which no one now knows what’s happened to. Then he wanted to go back to Richmond, but they wouldn’t have him & put him in a home. He went to five different ones after that, but always got out by climbing over the wall etc. Dora says the atmosphere in them was awful, and in one he was in there was a woman who kept trying to commit suicide. All he could say when she went to visit him was ‘get me out of here! Get me out of here!’ So she get him to see a doctor & magistrate because she knew they couldn’t certify him & lock him up. So they said he was alright, & she asked where he was going. They rang up Granpa, but he wouldn’t have him, so she said she would. She also said she was in ‘an awful state.’

He went to Manor Mansions with her, & whenever anyone came to the door he’d jump & say, ‘Who is it? Who is it’ ‘cos he always thought it was doctors coming to lock him up. He got over that, and in the end agreed to see Dr. Morgan, who he liked. Before this he heard that Granpa was selling his home at Richmond [. . .] [page may be missing] at all. So it was arranged that Edith’s our legal guardian when Granpa dies, if we aren’t all 16 by then. Meanwhile we see them for 2 weeks in the summer & 6 [?] days in Christmas & Easer, & spend Xmas’s alternately; this with them & the rest at home. I think that’s all.

Lucy Russell
1st August 1961