Lenin’s London: 6 Oakley Square & Winifrede Gottschalk Paul

In November 1911 Lenin made one of his last visits to London. The future Soviet leader is believed to have been in town to give a lecture on ‘Stolypin and the Revolution’. The lecture took place at King’s Hall in London’s East End, a venue whose popularity with political exiles meant that it had much in common with the Jubilee Club which had, as detective Edwin T Woodhall put it, become ‘something of an International Parliament for refugees of Europe’ (Edwin.T.Woodhall, Secrets of Scotland Yard, 1936). It was at the same King’s Hall that American-Ukrainian, Naomi (Nellie) Ploschansky and Liverpool syndicalist and teacher, James Hugh Dick, set up their Ferrer-inspired (and Kropotkin endorsed) ‘Anarchist’ Sunday School in 1912.

Lenin rarely came to London without visiting the Library at the British Museum in Bloomsbury and his week-long trip in 1911 was no exception. According to Dr Bob Henderson’s essay, Lenin & the British Museum Library (Solanus, vol.4, 1990) , the library’s Temporary Admissions Register for November 11th 1911 Lenin was admitted under his real name, Vladimir Oulianoff (no.2129) and the address he provided was 6 Oakley Square, St Pancras, a smart four-storey townhouse in a garden square section of one of the more comfortable areas of London near Somers Town, popular with an off-kilter menagerie of radicals, bohemians and literary types. The square had been built piecemeal in the mid-1850s and consisted of an symmetrical terrace of 18 houses with  Reverend Hugh Beard’s Church of St Matthew (Unitarian) dominating the right hand corner of the garden. No.6 Oakley Square stood about one mile north of the British Museum, just across the road from the Working Men’s College and within a few hundred yards of Mornington Crescent Tube Station. *

* Oakley Square had been home to some colourful residents and societies. Transvaal MP and founder of the Communist Party of South Africa, Sidney Bunting spent his early years at No.14 Oakley Square (Sidney, along with his sisters Evelyn & Dora Bunting became active members of St Pancras School for Mothers, as did Winfrede Paul and poet Anna Wickham). Actress and Women’s Suffrage supporter Fanny Holland lived at No.59, Samuel Liddell and MacGregor and Monia Mathers’s 2nd Order of the Golden Dawn had premises at No. 62 and William Heap Bailey, manager of Horatio Bottomley’s infamous, Joint Stock Trust lived at No.28 Oakley Square

Winifrede Paul & 6 Oakley Square, St Pancras

According to the 1911 Census (taken in April of that year) the property owners at the time of Lenin’s visit were Richard and Harriet Bridger, a couple who had married in Southwell, Nottinghamshire in 1870 but settled in London with their 26 year-old daughter, Florence. In an ad for a neighbouring property in Votes for Women a year or so later, the lodgings are being pushed for their proximity to the British Library and the University of London (‘just 10 minutes away’).

But the name on the Census that really grabbed my attention was the name of their lodger, Winifred(e) Gottschalk, Assistant Relieving Officer at the St Pancras Board of Guardians, militant suffragette and one-time sweetheart of visiting Merchant banker, Fritz Joseph Gottschalk of Hanover, Germany (1880-1945). As rumours still persist of Lenin and the Bolsheviks being supported by German money, it was certainly an intriguing find, and made all the more intriguing when you learn that Winifred’s subsequent address — 45 Regent Square St Pancras — had been home for over a year to Russian activist and philosopher Sergey Stepniak-Kravchinsky. According to diary entries Stepniak lived at 45 Regent Square from Autumn 1884 to December 1885. Was it just a coincidence, or had an intricate series of circumstances, mutual interests and associates brought Winifred Gottschalk and Vladimir Lenin into some mysterious shared orbit? In 1912 Winifred married photographer Edward A. Paul and became one of the most diligent and selfless social reformers in London, her devoted service to the St Pancras House Improvements Society and the Professional Union of Trained Nurses extending well into the 1940s. Learning of her death in 1972, the St Pancras Chronicle wrote that Winifred was ‘one of those rare people who evade limelight and who enrich the lives of thousands of their fellow citizens’ (‘Winifrede Paul Dies At 97’, St Pancras Chronicle, March 03rd 1972). Winifred was a die-hard Labour Councillor with a die-hard Labour conscience. As Relieving Officer at the St Pancras Board of Guardians it was Winfred’s duty to receive and review applications for relief and identify those most in need. *

* Interestingly the name Gottschalk carried some weight in Marxist circles in Germany: Andreas Gottschalk was a member of Cologne’s Communist League & the League of the Just & Ellen Gottschalk married M. N. Roy, commissioned by Lenin to create the Mexican Communist Party & the Communist Party of India.

lenin at 6 Oakley Square with the bridgers

winifred-gottschalk

Born in Derbyshire in 1874 to Daniel (b.1851) and Lucy (b.1850) Kent, Winifred had refused to disclose other particulars about her birth as part of Emmeline Pankhurst and the WSPU’s ‘No Vote, No Census‘ campaign. The boycott had little success and the ‘census slinkers’ were largely forgotten.

Not so Winifred Gottschalk. As ‘Winifred Paul’, Winifred Gottschalk went on to become one of the founders of The Professional Union of Trained Nurses and an incendiary figure in Labour politics in St Pancras — a borough regarded by many to be the most radical and progressive in the city. By the late 1950s the London Evening News would be describing St Pancras as the most ‘freakish’ borough in London. One of its most memorable and symbolic incidents was when Trotskyist MP John Lawrence flew the Red Flag on the town hall roof. He was subsequently expelled from the Labour Party.

Was Gottschalk still at 6 Oakley Square during the week that Vladmir Lenin visited in November and if so, did they have friends or interests in common? It’s a reasonable question to ask. Lenin finds himself in London at short notice, giving a lecture at Kings Hall. He asks if anybody can recommend suitable accommodation and his hosts at Kings Hall suggest 6 Oakley Square. Perhaps another nervous exile had stayed there previously and found the smart four-storey townhouse as safe from the prying eyes of Russia’s Secret Police as it was comfortable, clean and cheap.

With New King’s Hall doubling as a refugee centre there was no certainly no shortage of help from Gottchalk’s Board of Guardians. King’s Hall regular Naomi (Nellie) Ploschansky described in the interviews she gave to Jerry Mintz and Paul Avrich in the 1980s, how the hall’s relief efforts were assisted by the East End Federation of the Suffragettes, a radical Socialist splinter-group who parted ways with the WSPU in 1913 (later becoming known as the Worker’s Socialist Federation). There’s little doubting the Suffragettes were familiar with the hall. Sylvia Pankhurst and The International Women’s League were to attend a commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of Russia’s 1905 Revolution, at the same King’s Hall in October 1915 (Daily Herald, 30 October 1915, p.2) And lest we forget; the ‘February Revolution’ in Russia took place on International Women’s Day on March 8th 1917. It view of all this, its entirely possible that Lenin and Winifred Gottschalk had friends or colleagues in common.

international-womens-day-1914
International Women’s Day, Germany 1914

The Census was taken in April 1911, so Lenin’s arrival at 6 Oakley Square in early November was still some way off, but the fact that Gottschalk is down as ‘lodger’ and not ‘boarder’ might provide a clue as to whether she was present or not at the time of Lenin’s arrival. Boarders generally ate and shared facilities and living space with the property owners. Lodgers generally looked after themselves in separate quarters. This suggests that Gottschalk’s stay at 6 Oakley Square may have been more long-term than that of her fellow ‘boarder’, Herbert A. Tapper from Devon. And contrary to what one academic have claimed, Winifred did not give birth to a child in Willesden in June that year. The birth was registered to another Gottschalk family entirely: Isidor (Isider) and Alice Gottschalk (née Durrant). So the assumption that Gottschalk had slumped-off postpartum to nurse the child in more supportive surroundings, has no sound basis.

willesden-gottschalks-1911
A Winifred Gottschalk (no relation) was born to Isidor & Alice Gottschalk in Willesden between October and December 1911. Mother’s maiden name ‘Durrant’

Winifred Gottschalk

So what do we know about Winifred Gottschalk and how, if at all, did her own ‘revolutionary’ pursuits coincide with those of Lenin?

27 Apr 1874 – Daniel and Lucy Kent (née Borrington) marry in the parish of St Peter in Derby. Daniel is a house painter & plumber.

16 Nov 1874 Winifred Francis Catharine Kent is born

1881 – Census shows that Kent family are living in Keele, Staffordshire

April 1891 – Winifred finds employment in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire as servant to Eliza Ann Herring (nee Loveday 1813–1895), widow of Colonel John Herring, C.B of the 37th Bengal Native Infantry H.E.I.C.S. The colonel was murdered by tribesmen near Haidar Khel while escorting army pay to Kabul 3rd September 1839. Eliza was born in Perlang, East Indies.

1891-1901 – According to her 1972 obituary Winifred is enrolled at Cheltenham Ladies College before qualifying as midwife and nurse at University College Hospital (‘Winifrede Paul Dies At 97’, St Pancras Chronicle, March 03rd 1972)

May 1895 – Winifred’s employer Eliza Ann Herring dies in Uttoxeter. It is possible that Winifred found employment with Eliza son John William (East India Company), found employment with one of her daughters or that Winfred may have even left the family’s service prior to Eliza’s death.

April 1901 – For reasons that are not entirely clear, the Census of 1901 records that Winifred is now employed as trained nurse. The name she provides on the Census is Winifred D’Esterre (misspelled Winfred D’Estern on the sheet) and her employer is widow and teacher, Clara Johnson. In a peculiar twist, Winifred lists her place of birth as Cheltenham. We know this is Winifred Gottschalk (Winifred Kent) as the name she provides on her daughter’s birth certificate in 1902 is Patricia Inez D’Esterre Gottschalk and in the 1911 census Patricia Inez D’Esterre Gottschalk is living with Winifred’s parents Daniel and Lucy Kent in Keele, Staffordshire. According to her 1976 memoirs People Need Roots: the Story of the St. Pancras Housing Association Winifred’s friend and colleague, Irene Barclay * claims Winifred (Mrs Winifrede Paul by this time) had been ‘from a privileged home’ and had gone from Cheltenham Ladies College to being a probationer nurse and later midwife’. We know that Winifred had not come from a privileged home, but how she came to be a nurse in the employment of Clara Johnson remains a mystery. Interestingly, the Principal at Cheltenham Ladies College was Dorothea Beale, a prominent education reformer and women’s suffragist.

To date I have not been able to find a record of a marriage between a Winifred Kent and anyone by the name of D’Estern or D’Esterre between the years 1891 to 1901.

Winifred’s London employer, Clara Johnson was widow of the late George Henry Johnson of 10 Addison Crescent Kensington. Upon his death in 1887 George left an estate of over £40,000. Among the beneficiaries were the Chelsea Hospital for Women, the Metropolitan Free Hospital on Commercial Street, Whitechapel, St Mary’s Hospital Paddington, the Home for Incurables in Putney and Frederick Johnson Knight. He appears to have been a Chemical Merchant.

1901-winifred-nurse

* Irene Barclay was a socialist housing reformer who worked alongside Winifred at Housing Association projects in St Pancras district and called her a social worker of ‘rare distinction’ (People Need Roots, p.68). Irene was the sister of Kingsley Martin who embarked on the infamous VOKs/InTourist tour of Russia in 1932 — one of the first such tours behind the Iron Curtain. Martin was one of the first editors of New Stateman magazine. Irene’s husband, John Barfield Barclay was National Group organiser of the Peace Pledge Union. He was charged in 1941 with contravening the Defence of the Realm Act.


1901 – 1902
– Between 1901 and 1902 Winifred Kent (now going by the name of Winifred D’Esterre) meets eccentric German banker, Fritz Joseph Gottschalk in London. According to Thomas Krakauer’s Family Portrait: History and Genealogy of the Gottschalk, Molling, and Benjamin Families (1995) Fritz Gottschalk (1880-1945) was in London to learn the banking business. The son of Louis Gottschalk (b.1839) and Henriette Rothschild Gottschalk (.b.1849) he was here to represent the interests of the family-owned Berend & Gottschalk bank, who owed a considerable part of  their wealth to the Franco-Prussian War.

Charmed by London’s ‘beautiful women’ Fritz entered in a casual relationship with ‘nurse’ Winifred D’Esterre. It’s entirely possible that Winifred becomes Fritz’s mistress and that he helps subsidize her  lodgings at Oakley Square.

06th May 1902Patricia Inze D’Esterre Gottschalk is born in the St Giles district in London to Winifred D’Esterre and Fritz Gottschalk. The child is later told that her father is dead and Winifred has ‘widow’ as status on her 1912 marriage certificate to Edward A. Paul. Thomas Krakauer’s Family Portrait: History and Genealogy of the Gottschalk, Molling, and Benjamin Families is claimed that in 1901 Fritz Gottschalk had placed an obituary of himself in the London newspapers. When his illegitimate daughter visits him in Germany the child is told that Fritz is her father’s brother. The child’s birth certificate lists her father as Fritz Joseph Gottschalk from Hanover, Germany — deceased. It’s believed that Winifred also visited Fritz in Germany during WW1. Fritz is also believed to have visited the child in London at this time.

In Thomas Krakauer’s Family Portrait: History and Genealogy of the Gottschalk, Molling, and Benjamin Families the author claims that the Gottschalk can claim descent from TWO famous families: the Oppenheimers and the Rothschilds.

winifrede-paul
Picture taken at the St Pancras School For Mothers (1912-15)

1907 – According to her 1972 obituary, Winifred becomes co-founder of The St Pancras School For Mothers (also known as ‘Mothers & Babies Welcome’). The charity at this time was chaired by Dr John F.J Sykes and Mrs Alys Russell, wife of the philosopher Bertrand Russell. Winifred’s friend and later marriage witness, Miss Mary Bibby was the first of two female sanitary officers (‘Winifrede Paul Dies At 97’, St Pancras Chronicle, March 03rd 1972/Wellcome Collection)

16th October 1910 – Fritz Gottschalk marries heiress Therese Mölling (1890-1981) in Hanover, Germany.

1902 – 1910 – At some point in the decade Winifred becomes a Relief Officer at the St Pancras Board of Guardians, coordinating relief for the sick, poor and needy. During this time it seems certain that Winifred worked alongside Poor Law Guardian and Women’s Suffrage campaigner Elizabeth Lidgett, born in Whitechapel’s Mile End.  Lidgett was the aunt of Sidney Bunting who went on to be founder of Communist Party of South Africa. Her brother-in-law (and Sidney’s father) was ex-Oakley Square resident Sir Percy William Bunting (Manchester, Owens College/Pembroke College Cambridge), who with his wife Mary, were active social reformers in St Pancras. Mary’s nephew was Unitarian/Nonconformity Minister John Scott Lidgett, an alderman of London City Council, vice-chancellor at the University of London and later counsel to David Lloyd-George (1935).

May 1908 – Winifred and Fritz’s daughter Patricia is enrolled at Keele Church of England School in Staffordshire. She is staying with Winfrid’s parents, Daniel and Lucy Kent. She returns to London for a time in November 1909, before being readmitted.

April 1911 – Suffragette, Winifred D’Esterre (née Kent) is now residing at 6 Oakley Square, St Pancras London at the home of the Bridger family from Nottinghamshire. Future Soviet leader, Vladimir Lenin lodges at the same address in November.

April 1911 – Winifred’s daughter Patricia Inez D’Esterre Gottschalk is still living with her grandparents, Daniel & Lucy Kent in Keele Staffordshire. She is enrolled in the local school until August 1912. It’s not entirely clear why Patricia is with her grandparents in Keele.

patricia gottschalk

January 1912Winifred D’Esterre Gottschalk marries Edward A Paul (b.1868) at Westminster Registry Office. If Winifred’s Oakley Square lodgings had been subsidized by Fritz, it’s likely that Fritz’s marriage to Theresa Mölling the previous year led to this arrangement being terminated and Winifred may have had little option but to marry.

There are several curiosities on the certificate: Winifred is listed as ‘widow’ (Fritz was not dead) and although Winifred lists her father as Daniel Kent, he is down as Retired Estate Agent rather than the ‘house painter’ he was in reality. The first marriage witness, M.E Bibby is Mary Elizabeth Bibby, BA, a medical /sanitary officer at the St Pancras Board of Guardians and board member of Dora and Evelyn Bunting’s St Pancras School for Mothers (see: Report of the Medical Officer of Health for St. Pancras, London, Borough, 1906). The marriage witness Celia Smith was probably Celia Smith, health visitor and sanitary inspector in St Pancras (see: Report of the Medical Officer of Health for St. Pancras, London, Borough, 1910). Lady Adele Meyer, wife of Rothschild/De Beers banking and mining magnate, Carl Meyer (and celebrated NUWSS campaigner) was Vice President St Pancras School for Mothers.

Edward Paul lists his occupation as ‘photographer’ and the address he provides (122 Regent Street) is that of his employer Negretti and Zambra, a prestigious photography studio & ‘Royal producer’ of optical instruments *

Winifred Gottschalk provides the address 9 Grafton Street as ‘residence at the time of marriage’. The address was not residential at all. At this time 9 Grafton Street was the club house of the International Women’s Franchise Club (the only resident at this time was club caretaker Gustav Raimondi — from Paris — and his wife Edith Blanche). According to The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928 these were large premises with an entrance hall and hardly the kind of place you’d park your bags. One of the Club’s most powerful patrons was Sir Thomas Barclay, a client of East Prussian stockbroker, J.W Kolckmann who lived next door to Lenin & Gottschalk at 7 Oakley Square. Another associate of Kolckmann was Baron Alfred de Rothschild. The Kolckmanns acted as brokers to Belwaarde Rubber and Cocoa Plantation Ltd whose directors were under the Chairmanship of Sir Barclay (Dundee Courier 10 June 1910, p.3) The Kolckmanns handled the prospectus and the company was formed with a capital of £75,000, divided into 750,000 shares of two shillings each. The estate stood on the right bank of Surinam River (Lancashire Evening Post 08 June 1910, p.4/Music Hall and Theatre Review 09 June 1910, p.4) The company secretary was Yorkshire’s Arthur Haley Murgatroyd. Another of its director was Sir Brodrick C. D. A. Hartwell who gained notoriety as a whisky and rum smuggler at the height of US Prohibition.

More interestingly perhaps, at the time that Winifred Gottschalk and Vladinir Lenin were at 6 Oakley Square, the Kolckmanns were acting as brokers to the Scottish-Maikop Oil Wells Ltd, a syndicate based around directors Sir Griffith Thomas, Dr. Ernest Hirsch (of Spies Petroleum Ltd  — already operating in Grozy, Russia), Hugh Law Mp (Irish nationalist MP also directing Burmah Native Oil Wells Syndicate), Edward Stanley Ormerod (Manchester Mining Engineer) and Sir Edward Durand. At its conception it was to acquire 5 plots in Russia’s Maikop (Maykop). Significant oil deposits were believed to be in the region. This was a very early phase of Maiop’s distinguished oil history and unsurprisingly, the names of its directors are all over Russia’s 1911 year book. Incidentally, just ahead of making substantial investments in Russian Oil, Hugh Law MP was pressing First Lord of the Admiralty, Reginald McKenna on what plans were currently in place for increasing the storage and use of oil available to the Royal Navy (The Scotsman, The Scotsman 15 March 1910). I would like to think Law had only had the safeguarding and security of the country at heart. But I suspect he didn’t.

* Curiously, Edward Paul’s company, Negretti and Zambra also makes an unusual appearance in Henry Hemming’s book Churchill’s Iceman, which tells the story of suspected communist spy & inventor, Geoffrey Pyke. It is interesting to note that Pyke died in mysterious circumstances whilst working on charter for trained nurses. Given that Edward Paul’s wife Winifred Gottschalk Paul was a key figure at the Professional Union of Trade Nurses, it makes for a sinister footnote. The man who Pyke felt had betrayed him, Dr John Cohen was a powerful voice at the Union.

marriage-gottschalk

1912 – 1914 – At some point during these years Winifred D’Esterre Gottschalk Paul and Edward A Paul move into 45 Regent Square St Pancras. According to diary entries the Russian Revolutionary and Philosopher Sergey Stepniak-Kravchinsky lived at this same address from Autumn 1884 to December 1885. In August 1878 Stepniak had been charged with the assassination of General Nikolai Mezentsov, Chief of Russia’s Secret Police. Snepniak’s arrival at Regent Square is unlikely to have been by accident. Alexander Herzen, the father of Russian Socialism had also been based at that address. Oddly enough, Herzen had a business relationship with the Rothschilds who the Gottschalks were related to. A coincidence? Perhaps.*

* 38 Regent Square had been home to the Polish Central Committee and shared it offices with Alexander Herzen’s Free Russian Press. Herzen’s protege, Mikhail Bakunin would subsequently join the insurrection in Poland. In 1901 it was discovered that 20 Regent Square was being used by Konstantin Tachtarev & Lenin in the exchange of communications in relation to revolutionary journal, Iskra and the revolutionaries. Ad placed in newspaper reads: “RUSSIAN LESSONS — A Russian formerly a student of the University of St Petersburg gives lessons in RUSSIAN, address letters K.T, 20 Regent Square, W.C.” Tachtarev’s wife was Apollinarija Jakubova a powerful figure in the women’s Bolshevik Movement and inspiration to the St Pancras and East End Suffragettes.
st-pancras-homes-or-slums-cpgb-1945
In the 1940s St Pancras was at the centre of a housing campaign organized by the Communist Party of Great Britain. A 15 booklet was produced highlighting the concerns.

1916 – Winifred Gottschalk Paul takes charge of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Society of Holborn & St Pancras. This must have been a key district, as the previous secretary of St Pancras South was educationalist, Philipa Fawcett, daughter of suffragist Millicent Fawcett, leader of The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). Replacing Fawcett as Secretary of the NUWSS suggests Winifrid may have experienced a possible change in attitude toward militant action, as the Suffragette movement was a little at odds with the less boisterous NUWSS.

Dr Jill Liddington wisely points out that Suffragettes like Winifred (Gottschalk) Paul may have moved across to the NUWSS on account of divisions created by the WSPU arson campaign of July 1912.

March 1919 – Mrs Winifred Gottschalk Paul, Suffrage activist, Beatrice Kent and Maud MaCallum become co-founders of the first ever Nurses Union, the Professional Union of Trained Nurses. Winifred serves as Chairman. The first meeting is held in May 1920. Winifrede’s associate Maud MacCallum of the Nurses Cooperation had been at the centre of a serious libel case in which Sir Henry C. Burdett had suggested the nascent trade union was “out to ruin a large body of nurses” on account of her “untruthfulness” & “dishonesty”. There was some suggestion that Burdett thought the Union would be a front for Bolshevik activity.

1920 -1930 – Winifrid continues to campaign tirelessly for Labour in the St Pancras borough and maintains her position as Chairman of the Professional Union of Trained Nurses.

October 1925 – Winifred stands as candidate in St Pancras town council election (source, ‘Vote’, 30.10.25, p.5).

September 1930 – Winifred’s daughter Patricia Inez Gottschalk marries Edgar Alfred Pudney in St Pancras (she dies in 1970)

1939 St Pancras – Winifrid Gottschalk Paul and Edward Paul continue to live at Stepniak’s old address, 45 Regent Square, St Pancras. They have been there for some 25 years. Their enighbour was actor, author & playwright Sutton Vane, whose ‘Outward Bound’ was one of the biggest West End and Broadway hits of the 1920s.

April 1969 St PancrasWinifrede Paul House at 1 York Rise, Kentish Town is opened by the Minister of Health. It originally consisted of 18 2-bedroomed flats.

March 1972 – Winifred Paul dies aged 97. The St Pancras Chronicle describes her as ‘one of those rare people who evade limelight and who enrich the lives of thousands of their fellow citizens’. Winifrede ran the Oakley Square Old People’s Hostel and governor at several schools in the area well into her 70s (‘Winifrede Paul Dies At 97’, St Pancras Chronicle, March 03rd 1972).

Edward Albert Paul

So who was the man Winifred Gottschalk married in 1912? Well for the most part I have no idea. His marriage certificate suggests he was a photographer and the address he provides as his home residence — 122 Regent Street — was the address of his employers, Negretti and Zambra. In addition to their photography studio, Negretti and Zambra sold scientific and optical instruments (by Royal Command, no less). The Greenwich Observatory, the British Admiralty and the Ministry of Munitions (during WW1) were among their clients. I’ve already mentioned how Negretti and Zambra makes a fairly enigmatic appearance in Henry Hemming’s book, Churchill’s Iceman (which tells the story of suspected communist journalist & inventor, Geoffrey Pyke) but the company also appeared in several other daring-do adventures (it is claimed they commissioned the photographer Pierre Rossier to travel to China to record the events of the Second Opium War — The Photo Historian, Issues 137-147, 2002).

It’s difficult to pinpoint Edward Paul in any census prior to 1939, not least because I think Edward may have provided a false name for his father on his 1912 marriage certificate (Johan Paul). My feeling is that the man married Winifred is Edward Albert Paul born 1870 who in appears in the 1911 Census living with his mother Sarah Paul (née Knight, b.1845) at 6 Alpha Place in St Pancras (like Winifred’s Edward Albert, this man is born in the 4th quarter). His mother had spent 45 years at the same property but her deceased husband’s name was James not Johan. Although a notorious red light district Alpha Place had at one time been home to the Free Russia Press. In fact, the godfather of Russian Socialism, Alexander Herzen had lived at 10 Alpha Place on his arrival in exile from Russia.

If this is true, and in light of Winifred Suffrage’s activities, it’s possible that Edward Albert Paul may have been related (through marriage) to East End Suffragette, and later Communist, Adelaide Eliza Knight. Intriguingly, Adelaide names the daughter she gives birth to in 1910: Winnefred Theresa. Winifred’s sometime sweetheart Fritz Gottschalk had married a Theresa that same year. Coincidence? Perhaps, but during the period in which Winnifred Gottschalk Paul is on the Board of Guardians at St Pancras, Adelaide Knight is sitting on the Board of Guardians at West Ham. But this is really clasping at straws, with the evidence little more than circumstantial. The only other possible explanation is that Edward Albert Paul arrived in Britain sometime after the census of April 1911 and after a heady, whirlwind romance married the 37 year old Winifred D’Esterre Gottschalk on January 12th 1912.

In the 1939 Census Winifred and Edward are still living at 45 Regent Square. Edward’s occupation is listed as ‘Commercial Photographer’, born 24th October 1868.

Edward A Paul and 45 Regent Square

Strangely, we have a little bit more information about Edward’s friend and photography colleague Stanley Walter Kenyon who used Edward and Winifred’s 45 Regent Square address to launch the British Photographic Fellowship in January 1934. The couple appear to have lived at this address from 1914 though to the early 1940s (if not later in Winifred’s case), so all three individuals, including Kenyon, were based here at this time. Interestingly, the address also appears in an edition of The British Journal of Photography dated September 1st 1911 as the new address of Jacob Rudochoff (b.1881), Russian photographer (and former proprietor of Rembrandt Enlarging) who was living at Stepniak’s former address, 45 Regent Square, with his wife Mine and daughter Debora. However, a few months previously in April 1911, the Rudochoffs were living at 37 Coram Street, St Pancras. Rudochoff’s fellow boarders here included Italian Francesco Sangiorgi and Mafioso ‘diamond dealer’ Ernesto Corvaja.

Given the diamond interests of Gottschalk’s St Pancras patrons, Adele and Carl Meyer this could prove an interesting link as Corvaja’s son-in-law, the journalist and travel writer, Norman Lewis, was another photographer who ended up spying for Britain and the CIA (in Yemen & Cuba). Norman had married Ernesto’s feminist daughter, Ernestina (b.1909), in an alliance “steeped in the free-love doctrines of Russell” and the anti-fascist conventions of the time (Semi-Invisible Man: The Life of Norman Lewis, 2008, Julian Evans). In the 1930s Lewis and his father Richard owned and managed a camera shop that specialized in selling and developing miniature cameras at 202 High Holborn, St Pancras. It was Norman’s relationship with his father-in-law, Ernesto Corvaja — exiled mysteriously from Italy — that would later bring Lewis into contact with ‘Suave Communist’  Marcello Cimino, a writer with the Left-Wing newspaper L’Ora who would later become Secretary of the Italian Communist Party (PCI).

By 1915 Jacob Rudochoff is out of Regent Square and moves his enlargement business across to Weston Super Mare. But Bloomsbury must have still possessed some pulling power, because by 1939 he is back living at 37 Coram Street*

* Is it a coincidence that Sicilian Anarchist and Stepniak associate, Ericco Malatesta arrived in London from Sicily at much the same time as Ernesto? Like Corvaja, the fiercely pro-Communist Malatesta claimed descent from a noble family. And in view of Corvaja’s diamond interests, it seems curious that Malatesta shared his home in Islington London with jewel thief, George Gardstein Both Malatesta & Corvaja trained as electrical engineers.
kenyon-photographic-fellowship
Amateur Photographer magazine, January 31 1934

Stanley Walter Kenyon & 45 Regent Square

Stanley Walter Kenyon, or Walter Stanley Kenyon depending on his mood at the time, also had keen interests in Russia. Here is what we know about him:

1871 – Kenyon’s father James Walter Kenyon born in Rochdale, Lancashire. Not sure if he is related to pioneer cinematographer, James Kenyon (born 1851, in nearby Blackburn) but plausible. J.W Kenyon’s family move to Chorlton in Manchester.

1901 – Stanley’s father James Walter (b.1871) is living as a science teacher in Sculcoates near Hull (where Edwin T Woodhall’s wife Olive and mother-in-law Ada started life, before they too moved to Chorlton in Manchester). James taught at Hull Municipal Technical School before earning a BSc at London University. In the 1901 census James Kenyon’s brother Edward H Kenyon (b.1875) is listed as ‘Foreign Correspondent’. Not sure what newspaper it was, but the Manchester Guardian is a strong possibility.

1904 – James Walter Kenyon marries Ethel Dora Headland (b.1877, Leeds) in Hull.

October 1905 – Stanley Walter Kenyon is born in Maidstone Kent.

1932 – According to a report in the Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser dated October 31st 1936, 1932 was the year that Kenyon embarked on a photography tour of Russia after responding to a newspaper advertisement for a ‘marine photographer’. There is some doubt about the story Kenyon tells in the press as his tour of the Soviet Union coincided with that of several other pro-Communist figures who arrived in Russia in 1932 as part of a tour organized by the State-controlled cultural exchange programme VOKs (headed by Trotsky’s sister, Olga Kameneva) and its associated tour company, InTourist. Also on the 1932 trip were Whitechapel educationalist (and communist) Beatrice King, Margaret Watkins, Helen Muspratt (who married Communist Party organizer, Jack Dunman), Lattice Ramsey, cartoonist David Low and Kingsley Martin, brother of Irene Barclay who worked alongside Winifred Gottschalk Paul at the St Pancras Housing Association.

Kenyon, Muspratt, Watkins and Ramsay were all members of the Royal Photographic Society (as was their friend, Peter Le Neve Foster who embarked on a similar tour to Russia in 1933). Helen Muspratt, who started a Cambridge studio with Ramsay, has the distinction of being the only person to have photographed all three Cambridge Spies: Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, & Anthony Blunt: *

* Peter Le Neve Foster was an associate of Kenyon at the Royal Photographic Society. During his VOKs sponsored tour of the Soviet in 1933 Manchester’s Foster met with Soviet director, Vsevolod Pudovkin. Pudovkin was head of Stalin’s state-run Sovkino film studios. As a result of his trip, Le Never Foster produced ‘A Movie Maker in Moscow’ premiered at the Royal Photographic Society on Friday 23rd February 1934. Born in 1903 to Reginald Le Neve Foster (1847) Peter’s grandfather (also called Peter) had been Secretary to the Society of Arts (b.1809). By 1911 he was prep school & then Magdalen College, Cambridge University. At Cambridge, he founded the Cambridge Kinema Club (1923) with heir to banking dynasty, Ivor Montagu. Montagu subsequently became a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain & for a brief spell, a Soviet spy helping Britain in the war against Nazi Germany. That another associate of the Royal Photographic Society, Charles Eschborn (also of Chorlton in Manchester) should spy for Britain in much the same capacity leaves you with the impression that the Society had become the seat of espionage and counter-espionage in the British Arts. Jay Leyda, who accompanied Foster on his 1933 trip to the Soviet. The avant-garde filmmaker went to study with ‘Battleship Potemkin’ director, Sergei Eisenstein at the state-controlled Sovkino studios.

Cedric Belfrage, who’d co-founded the Cambridge Kinema Club with Montagu & Le Neve Foster is also believed to have worked as a Double Agent for Britain & the Soviet Union. The greater likelihood is that like Eschborn & Montagu, he was acting in a more personal, anti-Nazi capacity.

May 1933 – Kenyon announces a trip to Canterbury for the Central London Group Kodak Fellowship in Amateur Photographer & Cinematographer. He uses the 45 Regent Square address. As Snowdonia Ltd the group also announces a tour of North Wales.

January 1934 – Kenyon formally launches the British Photographic Fellowship at Winifrid and Edward’s 45 Regent Square address. Kenyon’s previous club, the Central London Group Kodak Fellowship, of which he was founder and former organizing president, provided facilities to the Women Citizen’s Association which had taken the reins of the suffrage struggle. *

Dedicated to organizing photographic holidays at home and abroad, one of the first events organised by Kenyon and the British Photographic Fellowship is a 2,000-mile tour through France across the Vosges Mountains to Germany (Black Forest), and across the Austrian Tyrol (Wheels of Industry, 7th September 1934). Another trip through Germany using three specially commissioned Ford V-8 saloons was scheduled for July 1935. Kenyon served as the club’s President.

* Esther Kenyon was a suffragette who went to school with the daughters of Emmeline Pankhurst. Like Stanley’s family, Esther Kenyon was from Manchester and provided support in the Salford slums.


January 1935
– Kenyon leaves for New York in America for an indefinite period (Amateur Photographer, January 1935). The Fellowship’s HQ is moved to 7 Aberdeen Mansions Kenton Street in Russell Square London. The Fellowship organizes the first exhibition for miniature cameras that same year.

March 1937 – Kenyon marries Miss Celina Adams at St James Church, Clapham in a ceremony performed by Vicar of Wellington (Somerset) Rev. John Harrison Duphoy Grinter. Grinter was later made Canon of Southwell Minster by Winston Churchill. Curisouly, the property owners of Lenin and Gottschalk’s 6 Oakley Square — Richard and Harriet Bridger — were married in Southwell. Mr James A. Milne of Finsbury Park was Kenyon’s best man. The wedding was largely attended by members of the British Photographic Fellowship (Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser 20 March 1937)

1937 – Kenyon is charged with offences relating to National Health and Insurance contributions as employer of P.H Venning. Over the course of the years he will add several speeding and customs charges to his list of offences.

1938 – Kenyon is awarded an Associateship of the Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society

July 1938 – Kenyon tells Rotary Club in Taunton that ‘Commercial Photography’ in the United States is 50 years ahead of Britain. As his fellow Soviet traveller, Margaret Watkins (another member of the Royal Photographic Society) was a pioneer in Commercial Photography in New York in the US, it’s possible that Watkins is the inspiration for his talk (and perhaps even behind his trip to New York in 1934).

1939 – Mi5 and Special Branch place several men of Messrs Kenyon Ltd in Manchester under surveillance. All the men were thought to be active Communist Party members. One of the men claimed to have fought with the International Brigades in Spain. It is not known if there is a family connection.

1938 – 1946 – Kenyon is recruited by the UK Ministry of Defence to record the progress of the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes in Belgium France and Germany. According to the Taunton Courier Kenyon was given ‘a battle wagon, temporary official status as public relations officer and temporary rank in the British Army so as to be able to enter any establishment without question and use officer’s clubs and hotels (Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser 13 April 1946)

1946 – Kenyon is stopped at Croydon Airport and refuses to sign documents relating to a Rollieflex camera he had purchased in Brussels (Taunton Courier, 16 February 1946). Kenyon is charged and the case is tried at Croydon Magistrates Court. Three customs officials had stopped Kenyon as he was about to embark on further duties for the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes.


you may also like reading:

7 Oakley Square — Lenin’s Banking Neighbours

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30 Holford Square, St Pancras — 1902

Lenin stayed at 30 Holford Square on his first trip to London in April 1902. As Bob Henderson’s seminal article, Lenin and the British Museum points out, it was from this address that Lenin, posing as Jacob Richter, first wrote to the Director of the British Museum asking permission to study in the library. The house could be found10 minutes east of St Pancras and Kings Street Station close to Percy Circus.

In the 1901 Census, the property is occupied by Solicitor’s Clerk, Samuel Deering and his wife Sarah. Deering subsequently features in the mysterious tale of Frederick Case, an old man found starving in his room in Bishopsgate and taken in by the Whitechapel Board of Guardians. It is subsequently found that the old man is the son of a former ‘Ward Beadle’ and has amassed a fortune of over £14,000 (about £850,000 in today’s money).

read in full


16 Percy Circus, St Pancras — 1905

16 Percy Circus was the address that Lenin used whilst in London for the 3rd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, hosted in London between April and May 1905. The property was located minutes around the corner from Holford Square where Lenin stayed during his first visit in 1902. Today you’ll find it across the road from the Travelodge Royal Scot.

Curiously the property at this time was occupied by Westmorland journalist and MP, Philip Whitwell Wilson who ran successfully for St Pancras South in 1906 (the same borough in which Winifred Gottschalk ran as councillor).

read in full


21 Tavistock Place, St Pancras London — 1908

Lenin arrives in London in May 1908 and carries a written recommendation from J.J Terret for entry into the British Museum Library. The recommendation is not deemed valid, and Lenin secures another recommendation from Harry Quelch (founding member of the Communist Party of Great Britain). This new recommendation does the trick and Lenin is issued with a three-month pass to the library. During his stay he writes to Camille Huysmans, a German-educated Belgian and member of the Belgische Werkliedenpartij (Belgian Labour Party).So far I have been unable to find just who was registered to this address in May 1908. Kate Lee and Joseph Jenner appear at 22 and 23 Tavistock Place, whilst Emily Biller was at No.24.

Several years previously, the property was a lodging house managed by French resident, Albin Audibert and his family. The family and the house have an interesting tale to tell and it may prove relevant to Lenin’s subsequent time in Paris.

read in full


Notes on Anglo-German spy, Carl (Charles) Eshborn of Chorlton Manchester

Prior to the war, Carl (Charles) Eshborn was employed by Blakely & Beving Limited, a cotton printing company in Manchester started by West Africa cotton trader, Charles Beving born 1858 in Baden, Germany. He was subsequently conscripted into the First World War. Prior to conscription Eshborn had mailed a letter to the Manchester Guardian (25/11/1914) ridiculing narrow-minded people who had the banned the playing of Beethoven & Mendelssohn. There’s no shortage of entries relating to Eshborn’s War photography & letters in the National Archives. One also relates to an illegal firearm he is alleged to have brought back from the first war (see HF/LEEWW: 2000.270.2 & HF/LEEWW: 2000.270.1) During the war, Eschborn had served in a special non-combat unit known as the ‘Kaiser’s Own’ (Middlesex Regiment 30th and 31st battalions)

In the 1891 Census Charles’ father Wilhelm Eschborn (1871) was living on Parkfield Street in Chorlton. He was a fellow boarder with Carl Beving, the African cotton trader who founded Blakeley & Beving Ltd in Manchester and who Charles works for prior to the war.

Looking at John Bryden account of Charles Eschborn and Arthur Owens’s decision to approach British Authorities, it certainly seems plausible that the pair’s incentives may have had a more radical basis. The story he told the Brits about ‘remorse’ sounds dubious. Can a link be drawn between Charles E and Jakob Eschborn – member of the National Committee for a Free Germany in Moscow? It’s founder Wilhelm Pieck was a close associate of Rosa Luxemburg who’d attended the 5th Congress of the RSDLP in London 1905. Could this explain Charles Eschborn offer to help Britain in their anti-Nazi efforts?


Additional references:

Lenin and the British Museum Library, Solanus Volume 4, p.3, Bob Henderson

The Modern School Movement: Anarchism and Education in the United States, Paul Avrich

The Texture of Politics: London’s Anarchist Clubs, 1884 – 1914, Jonathan Moses, Royal Holloway University London

Vanishing for the Vote: Suffrage, Citizenship and the Battle for the Census, Jill Liddington (MUP, 2014)

The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928, Elizabeth Crawford

Conspirator: Lenin in Exile, Helen Rappaport, 2009

Between Empire and Revolution: A Life of Sidney Bunting, 1873-1936, Allison Drew

Semi-Invisible Man: The Life of Norman Lewis, Julian Evans

Russians in London, Dr Sarah Young

 

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