|Description||Letters in which Grant Robertson (1869-1948), 67 Wellington Road, Birmingham, writes to his mother and sister regarding the day that he gave an Address about Joseph Chamberlain, at Birmingham Town Hall. The letters are not fully signed but end with his first initial 'C'. He also uses initials to refer to Joseph, Neville and Mrs Neville Chamberlain. The Address and Lord Mayor's Reception that followed in the evening took place 8 July, during Grant Robertson's time as Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Birmingham University. |
The events he describes were part of the Joseph Chamberlain Centenary Celebrations.
/40 Letter, dated 8 July, to his mother. He describes the packed audience for the Address including Neville Chamberlain and his wife, and 500 school children following 'everything with rapt attention'. He quotes Neville Chamberlain as saying that it was 'brilliant and searching'. He describes his intention to 'put J. C into a proper historic setting', noting that he 'didn't care twopence whether [the audience]...could appreciate it or not'. Making observations about the relationship between the Chamberlains and their family members who were present on the day, he relates how he slipped away as quickly as he could, having tea instead with Sibylla 'who is not a cold blooded Kenrick or Chamberlain'.
/41 Letter, dated 9 July, in which he writes to his mother about attending the Lord Mayor's Reception on the evening of his Address. He describes having 'many congratulations from all sorts of people, sincere and serious' and notes people's expectations of Neville Chamberlain becoming Prime Minister, with the crowd surrounding him, and Mrs Neville Chamberlain's moving 'as if already the tiara of the P. M's wife was on her brow'. He refers to press coverage in The Birmingham Post and a BBC radio broadcast of his speech the previous evening.
/42 Incomplete letter, dated 10 July, to [Isobel Nevill] enclosing copies of his Address. He mentions the favourable responses but also what an ordeal it was for him to 'pronounce on Chamberlain in the mecca of Chamberlainism and with countless relatives and allies present...'. He concludes on a positive note, 'The University [of Birmingham] I know felt that its V[ice] C[hancellor] had justified them and himself'.