Dr. Charles F. Grindrod
1847 - 1910
Doctor, photographer, poet and author Charles Grindrod lived in Malvern and was a friend of the composer Edward Elgar. In 1886 he published his one book set in the Forest of Dean. With beautiful descriptions of the Forest landscape and people, this largely forgotten book remains an entertaining and at times fascinating read.
life and career
Charles Frederick Grindrod was born on the Isle of Wight in 1847, to Ralph and Mary (nee Hull). Dr Ralph Grindrod was a physician and keen supporter of the temperance movement (as was Mary, publishing The Nation's Vice. The claims of temperance on the Christian Church in 1884 (edited by Charles).
The family moved to Malvern around 1850 when Ralph set up his medical practice at Charle's Townsend House. Ralph became a prominent member of Malvern society, promoted education of the poor, was geologist, fellow of the Royal historical Society, and founded The Malvern Advertiser Newspaper.
Charles had a role in the erection of All Saints the Wyche, and was church warden there. He was also involved in the Working Men’s Institute there, and it’s said that when he attended their smoking concerts he would present the gathering with pips and tobacco (himself a keen ‘lover of the weed’). He was vice chairman of Malvern Cricket Club, the town’s Cycling Club. He subscribed to the Concert Club and was a Freemason.
The Caves and Rocks of Serk (1885) article in Good Words for 1885 magazine edited by Donald Macleod
The Stranger's Story and his Poem (1883)
Plays from English History (1883)
Tales in the Speech House (1886)
The Shadow of the Raggedstone (1888)
Malvern: What to See and Where to Go (1894)
Songs from the Classics (1906)
Studies in Rhyme and Rhythm (1905)
Three Poems (1909)
As well as being prolific author, Charles also developed a passion for photography becoming recognised as a leader in the field. As a friend to Edward Elgar, who was his neighbour, Grindrod made this remarkable photographic portrait of the composer around 1903 (it was later donated to the National Portrait Gallery).
In 1903 a collection of his work was exhibited at The Royal Photographic Society. At the opening of the exhibition he delivered a paper on his methods, and ideas, and included his strong contention that photography was indeed a creative art. Amongst the pictures on show were, ‘The Woodcutters’, ‘Smoke and Fog’, and ‘Dido Deserted’.
He exhibited at The Rotherham Photographic Society in 1904 winning a silver plaque in the champion class for ‘Hauling Timber,’ and a bronze plaque in the landscape, seascape and river scenery section for, ‘Carting Carp’.
He included photographs in Tales in the Speech House.
Indebted to the website Angus and Rosemary's Miscellany of Malvern for information about Ralph Grindrod.
Have you read Tales in the Speech House or any other of Grindrod's books? Can you tell us any more about him and his time in the Forest? Tell us here...