Lawrence Beesley


K

Kathy Geary

Guest
I am interested in Lawrence Beesley. I have read that he married a second time a few years after the Titanic sank. Did he remain a teacher? Was he still interested in the Titanic? Did he speak about the Titanic publicly in his later years? Is there any printed information about him?
 
Jan 31, 2001
1,190
22
233
Hello Kathy,

I do believe, and am almost certain that, Mr. Beesley did continue teaching after the Titanic disaster. As for printed information, he wrote one of the first books about the sinking entitled "The Loss of the S.S. Titanic". It was published a mere six weeks after the ship sank, and is actaully quite accurate in its description of the sinking, or so I've heard. Have you read it?

-B.W.
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 26, 2000
1,277
6
313
Hi Kathy,

To answer some of your questions, Brandon is quite right. Lawrence Beesley did continue teaching, not only science but also Christian Science. He married a second time in 1919 to Muriel Greenwood (nee Brownjohn). Beesley was called on many times to speak about the Titanic and even acted as an (uncredited) techincal advisor on the movie "A Night To Remember". However, he would not speak of the disaster at home or with his family.

If you're interested, there's an article here on Lawrence Beesley written by a very handsome gentleman - can't recall his name - which will give you a bit more info on him. Go to the main page and look under "Titanica".

Hope this has been of some help,
Cook
 

Mike Herbold

Member
Dec 13, 1999
1,007
8
313
Pat:
It's been awhile since I read that good-looking article. Thanks for the reminder. It gets better with age. Being golf-minded, I was wondering whether you have ever tried to find which years Beeseley played in the British Open and a record of his scores.

All the best,
Mike
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 26, 2000
1,277
6
313
Hey Mike! Always a treat to hear from you, O M. And thanks for the kind words.

I've found out ALL SORTS of goodies about Lawrence - however, nothing more regarding his golf game nor when he entered the British Open. However, we may, at least, set some sort of timeline. He stopped playing in 1934 (I have since found out this was due to his getting a double hernia). Also, since he was 34 when the Titanic went down, my guess would be sometime in the 20's to early 30's. I have a wonderful 1933 photo (gracously sent to me by Dinah, his step-daughter) of Lawrence and his family on the links, with the middle daughter, Waveney, getting a lesson from the golf pro, (I also have a photo of her after she won the Craig Cup at Stoke Poges golf course in 1933. Would you believe I found that one on Ebay?!)

Hope this is of some help, sir.

Best regards,
Cook
 
K

Kathy Geary

Guest
Hi, thanks to all who responded re: Lawrence Beeseley! He always seemed an interesting person to me. Yes, I have read the account he wrote right after the Titanic sank. Since men who survived the Titanic were often maligned when so many women and children died, I wonder if Lawrence had to endure this? He was just fortunate to be at the right place at the right time. I wonder why he was reluctant to talk about his experiences to his family, but yet willing to talk publicly?
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 26, 2000
1,277
6
313
Hi Kathy,

I may have mislead you there. He DID speak publicly but not of his own volition - he didn't want to. In fact, he didn't want to write his book in the first place; like other survivors, he wanted to put the horrific experience behind him. However, as I'm sure you remember from his writing, he felt someone who was there should tell what happened (1) for history's sake and (2) to squelch the more sensational newspaper stories that were running rampant at the time. Personally, I believe he felt it was his 'mission'. However, when called on, later in life, to recall the catastrophe he would 'do his bit' but, in my opinion, he'd rather not have to remember it ever again.

Regarding whether Beesley felt any recriminations about being a male survivor, I have never found any evidence of this. I believe this stigma was hardest on the First Class men who survived rather than the other two classes. Of course, this group also got more press, consequently today we find more written about them.

Best regards,
Cook
 
K

Kathy Geary

Guest
Hi Cook,

Thanks for info. It has been a while since I read Lawrence's account; I need to reread it. I wonder what Lawrence would think about all the interest in the Titanic today, in particular the artifacts being brought up, etc. etc. I'd think he'd find it intriguing, but maybe that's a fanciful thought on my part. As I mentioned before, Lawrence seems an interesting man to me. Where in England did he live?
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 26, 2000
1,277
6
313
Hi Kathy,

These are the addresses I have so far for Lawrence and the dates he was living at same:

1877 - 1901 - Wirksworth.

1903 - 12 Bakeman street, Cambridge.

1906 - 23 Whitman Road, Beckenham

1909 - 8 Manor House, Marylebone Road, London, Telephone number 716.

1911 - 4 Titchfield Terrace, Regents Park, N. W, London, Telephone 5044, P O Hampstead.

1912 - 1915 Pembroke House, 133 Oxford Street, Res. 39 Abbey Road N. W., London, Telephone P O Hamp. 4644. These addresses were either his personal flat or the offices he used to see his Christian Science 'clients'.

1919 - 9 Old Cavendish Street, Marylebone.

Early 1920's - Lawrence lived in Harrow -in-the-Hill, Middlesex and travel 15 miles to his consulting rooms at 10 Nottingham Place, London.

1934 - Bexhill (no address as yet)

1967 - 75 Carew Road, Northwood, Middlesex.

That's all I have so far - probably a little more detailed that you wanted. If anyone out there, by the way, knows any other addresses, please let me know.

Best regards,
Cook
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 26, 2000
1,277
6
313
While we're speaking of Mr. Beesley, I ran across a passage in Chapter VI that I'm trying to corroborate. It reads:

"...when the lookout man saw the iceberg and rang the bell three times, the usual signal from the crow's nest when anything is seen dead-ahead. By telephone he reported to the bridge the presence of an iceberg, but Mr. Murdock had already ordered Quartermaster Hichens at the wheel to starboard the helm..."

It seems as if Beesley is suggesting that Murdoch either ordered the ship over before knowing what the danger was or where it was (via the bridge telephone) OR he saw the berg before the warning bell. My problem is where did Lawrence get THIS piece of info? I'm rereading Hichens, Fleet and Lee's testimonies but so far I can find nothing that suggests Murdoch gave the starboard order prior to the phonecall. The closest I can come up with was Fleet saying he called up the bridge and as he held the phone he could see the ship start to starboard (paraphrasing here) and Beesley, being a scientist, knowing something about the bulk of the ship, speed in the water, etc., was ASSUMING somebody must've seen the berg earlier for the ship to begin turning so quickly after Fleet called it in. Moody and Hichens were in the wheelhouse with the shutters closed, this would only leave Murdoch. It's thin but it's all I can find right now.

I would welcome any suggestions (provided they don't involve any actual physical work).

Best regards,
Cook
 
C

Christine Geyer

Guest
This week I have received a copy of William MacQuitties book "The making of A night to remember". There are two photographs of the "later" Lawrence Beesley inside, that show him when he visited the studios. Obviously he was very mooved to see the actions that took place there. Those were the only photos I have ever seen of him besides that "famous" that is to be seen in each and every book. But you can recognize him immediately.

Many regards
 
C

Christine Geyer

Guest
This week I have received a copy of William MacQuitties book "The making of A night to remember". There are two photographs of the "later" Lawrence Beesley inside, that show him when he visited the studios. Obviously he was very mooved to see the actions that took place there. Those were the only photos I have ever seen of him besides that "famous" that is to be seen in each and every book. But you can recognize him immediately.

Many regards
Christine
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 26, 2000
1,277
6
313
Dear Christine,

I haven't seen this book yet but I can see that I must get it. Can you describe the photos? I know of four in relation to ANTR - one with Beesley sitting in a lifeboat speaking with McQuitty, one with Beesley standing at a railing by himself, a third with Lawrence sitting at a table, holding up a cutaway of the Titanic - also seated with him are Gus Cohen and Violet Jessop - and the fourth shows Lawrence flanked by two pretty cast 'extras'. Or are there other photos other than the ones I described?

Best regards,
Cook
 
C

Christine Geyer

Guest
Dear Cook!

Yes, it's two of the ones you describe. The one shows him sitting in a lifeboat speaking and the other, which I personally find rather touching, shows him standing at the railing alone. In the background you see dozens of extras wearing lifebelts but he is all by himself, even not noticing he gets photographed and his eyes look far far in a distance. Maybe I found those even more touching than the pictures of other survivors because of the intensity of his describing in his book. So we feel somewhat familiar with him. The underlining of this special picture says that Mr. Beesley was deeply moved to see the action taking part there. And you can really see that in his face.

Unfortunately I don't have an own scanner but I will bring the book to the office and make scans of it next monday. Then I'll try if I can publish them here.

The book even shows pictures with Edith Russel (with the pig !!) when she visited the studios and one shows Mr. Boxhall talking to three others. I'll scan them all if you like. By the way I got the book from THS. And the package included even... *psssst* ... my 24 k golden OFFICERS BUTTON REPLICA ! HA !
proud.gif
But that's something completely different...

Many regards
Christine
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 26, 2000
1,277
6
313
Dear Christine,

Thanks for letting me know which photos appear in the book. Have you ever seen the film "The Making of 'A Night to Remember'"? For a few brief moments, you can see moving footage (the only such footage I know of) of Beesley as he smiles for the camera. Apparently, he contributed a bit to the background material for that movie. According to Laurien, during it's filming, Lawrence was persuaded by the director "to sit in a caravan with a tape recorder and try to reproduce the despairing cries which the survivors in the lifeboats heard as the Titanic went down. It is a curious and macabre thought that the cries my father recorded were then used as a basis for part of the film's soundtrack."

One can only wonder what was going through Lawrence's mind as he did this.

Best regards,
Cook
 
C

Christine Geyer

Guest
Dear Cook,

I haven't known that a film about the making of A night to remember existed at all !! I thought I made a rare find with the book already... Hmpf... It sounds absolutely interesting and I would love to see it. But I assume it is even as hard to find ?? Do you have any idea if you buy or order it on video/dvd anywhere ??

I amost couldn't believe my eyes when I just read your posting. They asked him to imitate the screams ?? That doesn't sound quite sensitive, does it ?? I would've never thought that he agreed to do this since he seemed to suffer from the remembrance of those screams. What do you think was his motivation for it ?? The wish to help to make the movie become as authentic as it could be ?? I would've bet that he refused to do so. Makes me become a goose-skin when I imagine that situation... The poor man...

Many regards
Christine
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 26, 2000
1,277
6
313
Dear Christine,

The film version of "The Making of 'A Night To Remember'", I believe, has been out for a few years now. I don't know this for sure but I am lead to believe it was this version that led to the book (if anyone knows differently on this, please let me know). I taped my copy off a cable channel "American Movie Classics". I'll check around but right now I can't tell you where to find a copy.

Regarding the tape recorder episode, I felt much the same way as you did upon first reading it. There is one more episode involving Lawrence and the movie which, possibly, may be connected. As you know, Lawrence and his daughter, Laurien, dressed as passengers, forged passes and got on the 'mock Titanic' during a night shoot to be with those who went down with the ship. They were discovered and removed before the cameras began to toll, however. I don't know which episode came first, this or the tape recorder, but I have often wondered if the director, after removing Beesley from the ship, gave him the tape recorder to allow Beesley to participate more in the project.

It is a chilling story, at any rate, and one can only wonder what became of that tape.

Best regards,
Cook
 

Mike Herbold

Member
Dec 13, 1999
1,007
8
313
The video version of "The Making of a Night To Remember" is available from:
VideoVaudeVille,
65 Tontine Street,
Folkestone
Kent CT20 1JR
England

They are a regular advertiser in the "Atlantic Daily Bulletin." Unfortunately for those of us in the colonies, they don't take credit cards, so they are a bit awkward to deal with. I can't remember if they take American or other checks. I think I sent them cash. The price is 14 lbs 99 ounces or some such, postage paid in England. To get it to the States, it's probably about $29.95.