It has become fashionable in books plays and films to tell the story
backwards from the end to the beginning. Seldom does this seem
justified and successful. But it certainly works in 'The Cobbold
Elliston Affair' by Sandra Berry.
The author's brother found a packet of letters written in 1901 from
Buenos Aires. They concerned a young English widow with five daughters
all under the age of eight who had been left almost penniless. As her
recently dead husband was Frederick Cobbold, she sought help from the
Cobbold family, her wealthiest relations. Amazingly by today's
standards perhaps, she was turned down by amongst others Felix Thornley
Cobbold, one of Ipswich's greatest benefactors, who presented
Christchurch Mansion to the town.
It seems that the reason for this callous treatment was that the
indignant family presented a problem. Frederick's father, Arthur had
"married beneath him" in fact had only married after his partner had
produced ten children in a house in Wykes Bishop Street not far from
Cliff House, the Cobbold family home close to their brewery.
Sandra Berry, great-niece of Frederick's youngest daughter, has explored
all these complications as an engaging detective of family history. Her
book is well illustrated with period photographs from Victorian times
almost up to the present day, and from countries across the world where
the various children settled. It is an intriguing record of the Cobbold
family and of social and moral aspects of English life in which Ipswich
was probably typical.
'The Cobbold Elliston Affair' is produced by No.11 Publishing:
- PO Box 459, New Malden, Surrey, KT3 9DH
- email email@example.com