June Lancelyn Green
The speaker was June Lancelyn Green (right with white rabbit) from Poulton Hall in the Wirral who talked about her husband Roger Lancelyn Green and the memorial garden to his works at Poulton.
Stephen Martin kindly took the role of reporter and sent this account of June’s talk:-
The special guest speaker on 6th October.at the autumn meeting of the Daresbury Lewis Carroll Society was June Lancelyn Green, the widow of Roger Lancelyn Green, the eminent Carrollian scholar and children’s book writer. She began by saying how difficult it would be to talk about someone she loved as a ‘literary figure,’so she googled him on the internet for further information.
Roger was born on 2nd November 1918, towards the close of the first world war, and was a ‘sickly child’ brought up by a nanny and tutored by a governess. He became a weekly boarder at a Liverpool grammer school. He studied English literature at Merton College, Oxford, under C.S. Lewis. He became a part-time professional actor from 1942 to 1945,appearing opposite Michael Redgrave, and met June who was a fellow thespian. He was Deputy Librarian of Merton College from 1945 to 1950, and William Nobel Research Fellow in English Literature at the University of Liverpool from 1950 to 1952. He was later a member of the Council of the University of Liverpool from 1964 to 1971. Roger wrote The Story of Lewis Carroll published by Methuen in 1949, the cover has the Hurbert von Herkomer portrait of Dodgson in profile and three John Tenniel Alice illustrations. This biography led to Roger and June being invited to Leamington Spa to meet Dodgson’s nieces Violet and Menella to edit their ‘dear uncles’ diaries, and under their guidance began the long, time consuming , and ‘boring, process of reading through piles of volumes of hand written journals. June said the sisters, who were the daughters of Wilfred Dodgson, seemed like an hundred in their Victorian manners. Roger ‘s two consuming , and ‘boring, process of reading through piles of volumes of hand written journals. June said the sisters, who were the daughters of Wilfred Dodgson, seemed like a hundred in their Victorian manners. Roger‘s two volume edition of Lewis Carroll’s diaries was published in 1953. He was later a founder and vice president of the Lewis Carroll Society.
The other writers Roger wrote biographies on include Andrew Lang(1946), A.E.Mason(1952), J.M.Barrie(1960), Mrs Molesworth(1961), Rudyard Kipling(1962), and C.S.Lewis(1974). He was editor of the Kipling Journal,1957-79. He was a great admirer of the mystery stories of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and the adventure stories of C. Ride Hagghard and Anthony Hope.
The subjects of his childrens books include Greek, Ancient Egyptian, and norse mythology, King Arthur, and Robin Hood. His children's fantasy novel The Land of the Lord High Tiger(1958) was written very much in the style of C.S. Lewis's Narnia books. His editor at Puffin publications was the tyrannical Kay Webb.
The ancestoral home of the Lancelyn Green family is Poulton Hall in Cheshire, and it has been for 900 years. Roger and June have three children Scirard, Pris(Cilla), and Richard. Roger died in October 1987 at the age of 68, and June has created a memorial garden to him and his writing. There are numerous statues and sculptures that depict his literary creations; including a Jabberwock by Jim Heath. The garden is open to the public on specific dates in April and is part of National Garden Scheme.
In 1973 a spectacular production of Through the Looking Glass was staged in the garden which included a revolving platform on railway tracks as Alice passes through the mirror into looking glass land. Stephen Oliver played the White Knight. She was presented with a 3D model of Alice, the Unicorn, and the Lion created by the designer which she had brought with her and which made a wonderful table ornament.
June told an amusing and touching story of when she met Michael Morpurgo (author of The Wreak of the Zanzibar, Why the Whales Came, War Horse, Private Peaceful) at the Buxton Literature Festival in the summer where he was signing his books for customers. June decided to break the ice by introducing herself as the widow of Roger Lancelyn Green; she was taken back by his reaction, he stood up and embraced her. He told her that her late husband’s books had been an inspiration to him since childhood, he had written books on the legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood.