Sir Howard & Lady Elphinstone
Miss M Muller

John wrote:

I attended the Royal Albert School, Camberley, Surrey. The Duke of Connaught was our Patron and amongst photographs of him dating to the late 1930's is one of him talking to Miss M. Muller and in the same photo is a lady I believe to be Lady Elphinstone.

John passed away some years ago, but I will be plesaed to contine adding materila to this page.

Lady Elphinstone was indeed one of the local "big names". She lived at Pinewood (location) off College Ride. There is a memorial plaque in St Anne's Church, Bagshot, with the following inscription:

"In loving memory of Annie Frances daughter of W H Cole of West Woodhay, Newbury, Berks. Wife of Maj Gen Sir Howard Crauford Elphinstone VC. Lady of Grace of St John of Jerusalem. Born 3rd May 1856 died at Pinewood, Bagshot on 12th November 1938. Dearly loved by her children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren."

A B&W photo of a lady in an elaborate dess and hat, together with an elderly man wearing an overcoat and bowler hat, supporting himself with a walking stick.
Seated is an older lady with a man squatting talking to her. Behind are children sitting on wooden chairs,
at least one wearing Wolf Cub uniform.

This is the picture, taken about 1938, showing the Duke talking to Miss Muller. John thought that Lady Elphinsone is seated, though some doubt has been cast on this by another correspondent. The person squatting is Mr Paget, the Superintendent of the Orphanage. The occasion would have been tea on the Matron's lawn. Photo courtesy Vernon Billows.

Sir Howard Elphinstone was equerry to the Duke of Connaught and was very much older than his wife.  He had been drowned at sea in 1890 at the age of 60. 

I am told that Martyn Downer has written a book entitled "The Queen's Knight" about Sir Howard Elphinstone. 511i07

Silvia Wright has written : "I am one of the great grandaughters of Sir Howard and Lady Elphinstone. They had four daughters, and my grandmother (Mary Howard) was the youngest. She married Robert S. McClintock from Pinewood in 1909. She was only 2 when her father was drowned.

"Sir Howard started life in Riga, Livonia (now Latvia), and was one of the first VC's in the Crimean War.

"After that war he was chosen by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to be the Governor to Prince Arthur, later Duke of Connaught. Their friendship was to last until Sir Howard was drowned. He built his house at Pinewood, College Road shortly after Bagshot Park was finished.

"I am happy to give any other information if anybody is interested."

Sylvia also reports that Pinewood is the house that can be seen in the backgound of one of the Francis Frith Collection photos at  

Of Miss M. Muller, John tells me

"Her property was on the road to Camberley as far as I remember. One of my teachers, Ray Davies, wrote of her recently. 'Miss Muller was kindness itself and contributed most generously towards the Christmas presents and outings. She also used to give the most wonderful tea parties and organise games with the help of her many friends within the grounds of "Crosby Hill", her large house. The boys loved her and the days spent in the house and garden.'

"There you have it. She was absolutely lovely, so kind, thoughtful and gentle. I can even today close my eyes and think of her and remember the smell of her lavender perfume. She was an angel."

a lady wearing a white gown with a large bustleI am indebted to Harry for these two 19C postcards of The Elphinstone family and of Lady Elphinstone at a very much younger age that the one taken in the RAOC grounds.  [143 2001]  

It has always surprised me that the great and the good would allow such portraits to be published - but given the extent to which today's 'celebrities' flood social media with photos of themselves, perhaps I should not be.

Victorian photographic studies had a selection of backdrops painted on cloth and rolled up like blinds to be unfurled behind their subject.  The backdrop behind Lady Elphinstone is clearly such a painted scene, and is typical of many photographs.  I assume that the background behind the family is also a painted one, albeit rather more elaborate and with elaborate furnishings placed in front.  The common tell-tail is sight of crumples in the backdrop at floor level - and I think I can detect these.  Exposures were slow so everyone had to keep still. We can see that the youngest child is being held still by his mother, and Sir Howard is holding on to the chair to steady himself.  What is surprising is that the girl sitting on the floor is apparently unconstrained - unless there is some form of cradle behind her.  Who wears their military decoration for a family portrait?  Sir Howard for one! 

From David Brooks 

"My father (Alex / Syd Brooks) lived in Pinewood Cottage with his parents. My Grandparents looked after Pinewood. They were Reg and Ann Brooks. At some point they moved into Pinewood itself, living on the first floor.  My father died last year but I spoke to him at length in his last year and have quite a lot of information about his time in the lodge and in Pinewood. I had such fun as a boy there I just wish I could turn back the clock. 

"I am very interested in the comments by Christine, and especially Silvia Wright. How amazing there is a connection with Riga / Latvia and Pinewood. I have been there seven times and have several Latvian friends. Every time I get off the plane I feel at home. But Pinewood is perhaps the most special place in my life. How I miss it." [Feb 16]

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The late Lional Parr told us that Lady Elphinstone's head gardener was Mr Southcott. xi08

Thanks to the late Alan Gosden for additional information.

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