Switch to English Switch to French

The Open University  |   Study at the OU  |   About the OU  |   Research at the OU  |   Search the OU

Listen to this page  |   Accessibility

the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

Reading Experience Database UK Historical image of readers
  RED International Logo

RED Australia logo

RED Canada logo
RED Netherlands logo
RED New Zealand logo

Listings for Author:  

Charles E. Stansfield


Click here to select all entries:



Charles E. Stansfield : [essay on a Swiss holiday]

'A Meeting held at 70 Northcourt Avenue 25th September 1929 C. E Stansfield in the chair

Min 1. Minutes of last time read and approved

2 Mrs T C Elliott was wellcomed to the club in a felicitous speech by the chairman

3 The Secretary read a letter of resignation of Membership from Muriel Bowman Smith he was directed unanimously to ask her to reconsider the matter.


7 Holiday Essays were read R H Robson a family holiday at Mort[?] Geo Burrow The Jamboree & thoughts thereon C. E. Stansfield on a Swiss Holiday whilst H M Wallis chatted on some aspects of Bordighera.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Charles E. Stansfield      Manuscript: Unknown


Charles E. Stansfield : [a paper on Goethe]

Meeting held at Reckitt House, Leighton Park: 22.6.32

Reginald H. Robson in the Chair.

1. Minutes of the last read. It was felt that Minute 6 needed some amplification, & Charles Stansfield was asked to do this. His more than kind amplification is appended.


8. After adjournment for supper, the Goethe evening was begun by Mary E Robson. She sang the song "Knowst thou the land". The music is by Beethoven. In this and her other songs Mary Robson was kindly accompanied by Caroline Pollard.

9. A Reading from Goethe was next given by Mary S. W. Pollard.

10. Reginald H. Robson read a paper on the life of Goethe. If there were any who had thought of Goethe exclusively as a poet, they must have been amazed at his vesitality. Philosopher, poet, statesman, scientist, he seems to have been "everything by turns and nothing long", except indeed a lover [...].

11. We had been much intrigued with Mrs Robson's description of the Sorrows of Werther, especially when our friend warned us that those who came under the spell of this book usually commited suicide after reading it. We felt accordingly grateful to Mrs. Robson who had read it on our behalf, and flirted with death for our sakes, and not a little apprehensive when Janet Rawlings read us an extract from it. All passed off well, however. [...]

12. George Burrow read a song from Goethe's Gefunden.

13. Mary Robson sang "My peace is o'er" from Faust.

14. A Reading from the same play was given by Elisabeth & Victor Alexander

15. Another song "Little wild rose, wild rose red." was sung by Mary Robson.

16. Finally Charles E. Stansfield gave us his paper on Goethe. He referred to the lack of the political sense in the German people of those days, & showed Goethe as quite content to acquiesce in the paternal government of his small state. He described the influence of Herde[,] Klopstock, Lessing, Shakespeare, &, quaintly enough, of Goldsmith on Goethe. In speaking of the poet's scientific interests he told us of his discovery of the intermaxillary bone & of Goethe's ceaseless efforts to acquire truth.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Charles E. Stansfield      Manuscript: Unknown


Charles E. Stansfield : [Safety First]

Meeting held at Fairlight, Denmark Rd.: 21.iii.33

Francis E. Pollard in the Chair.

1. Minutes of last read & approved.

5. Eight anonymous essays were then read. In some of these the subject treated or the style of the author made recognition comparatively easy, but others were provocative of much ingenious speculation. A paper on English Justice proved to be the most discussed during the interval. Rival tipsters gave in confidence the names of Mrs. Stansfield & Robert Pollard as the author, one of them purporting to recognize - or coming perilously close to so doing - Mrs. Stansfield’s opinion of her fellow magistrates, while the other detected just that ingenious combination of Fascism and Bolshevism that Robert Pollard would enjoy putting up for the Club’s mystification. Further conflicting theories attributed the authorship to Henry Marriage Wallis or Howard Smith, & this last proved correct[....]

Another essay which stirred debate told of a medium, a photograph, a Twentieth Century Officer & a suit of medieval armour. It was told with that precision of detail that marks either the experienced writer of fiction or the worshipper of truth. And as if to darken counsel there was an open allusion to Bordighera. Suspicious though we were, & in spite of every appearance of our being right, we adhered to the view that the author must be H. M. Wallis.

Time & space do not allow adequate record of all the papers, but it must be mentioned that three of the eight came from the Rawlings family: a thoughtful essay by Alfred Rawlings needed a second reading if it were to be seriously discussed, some interesting reminiscences by Helen Rawlings made very good hearing, & Moroccan memories by Janet helped to make a most varied programme.

Other essays were "Safety First" by Charles E. Stansfield, and "The English - are they modest? " by Edgar Castle, both of which added some humorous touches to the evening.

A list of essayists, & their readers, follows.

Mrs Castle read a paper by Alfred Rawlings
Janet Rawlings read a paper by Helen Rawlings
Charles Stansfield read a paper by Henry M. Wallis
Reginald Robson read a paper by Howard Smith
George Burrow read a paper by Reginald Robson
Alfred Rawlings read a paper by Edgar Castle
Howard Smith read a paper by Janet Rawlings
Mrs Pollard read a paper by Charles E. Stansfield.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      Manuscript: Unknown


Charles E. Stansfield : [an introduction to 'Sumer Is Icumen In']

Meeting held at 70 Northcourt Avenue 28/4/1933

C. E. Stansfield in the chair

1 Minutes of last read and approved

2 For the Next Meeting's subject "The Jew in Literature" was chosen with Geo Burrow H. R. & E. B. Smith as committee


4 The evening's subject of Berkshire in Literature was then opened up by Charles E. Stansfield reading from Tom Browns School days a description of the Vale of the White Horse[.] He carried us into a quietude of time & space where a great lover of the Vale tells of the great open downs & the vale to the north of them.

Dorothy Brain told us something of Old Berkshire Ballads surprising us with their number & variety & read an amusing Ballad about a lad who died of eating custard, & the Lay of the Hunted Pig.

C. E. Stansfield read an introduction to "Summer is a Cumen In"which was then played and sung on the Gramophone.

H. R. Smith read a description of "Reading a Hundred Years Ago" from "Some Worthies of Reading"

F. E. Pollard introduced Mary Russell Mitford to the Club giving a short account of her life and Work quoting with approval a description of her as "A prose Crabbe in the Sun"

M. S. W. Pollard read "The Gypsy" from "Our Village"

Geo Burrows gave us a short Reading from Mathew Arnolds "Scholar Gypsy" and a longer one from "Thyrsis"[.] During this the Stansfield "Mackie" put in a striking piece of synchronization.

E. B. Castle read an interesting account of the Bucklebury Bowl Turner from H. V. Mortons "In Search of England".

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Charles E. Stansfield      Manuscript: Unknown


Charles E. Stansfield : Canaries

Meeting held at Oakdene, Northcourt Av, 20.3.34.

Sylvanus A. Reynolds in the Chair.

1. Minutes of last read and approved, in the teeth of one dissident.


5. We then proceeded to the anonymous essays and members felt on excellent terms with themselves at the prospect of hearing some attractive reading and of eluding or inflicting a good hoax or two.

The first essay opened discreetly without title on the theme of “Newcomers to Reading”, going on to a description of the neighbourhood, its beauties its quaint place names and historical associations. […]

6. Next came a paper on “Uniforms”. The writer was considered by one or two to show the observation of the masculine mind and the style of the feminine. […]

7. Then came a letter to "My dear Twelve" written with the unmistakeable touch of the practised writer. […]

8. We listened, too, with equal interest to a paper called “Canaries”, telling us something of the progress and perambulations of our latest migrant members. Moreover two or three of our number were able to follow their doings with particular appreciation, having mad much the same trip themselves. […]

9. All of us were a good deal non plussed by “Hors d’Oeuvres”, an essay not inappropriately named, for it contained a perplexing mixture of fare, and certainly stimulated our appetite. […]

10. Hardly less difficult was “Glastonbury”. Many of us had visited it, and so were able to follow closely the author’s points. But few of us knew enough of its history and legend to be sure whether or no our one professional historian had set his wits before us. So we gave up reasoning and just guessed. […]

11. Finally we heard “Spoonbill”. It was a noteworthy paper, combining the love of the naturalist for the birds he watches with the craft of the writer in the language he uses. […]

12. Here is the complete list. —

“Newcomers to Reading” by H. R. Smith, read by F. E. Pollard
“Uniforms” by Janet Rawlings, read by Elizabeth Alexander
“My dear Twelve” by H. M. Wallis, read by S. A. Reynolds
“Canaries” by C. E. Stansfield, read by Dorothy Brain
“Hors d’Oeuvres” by Dorothy Brain, read by R. H. Robson
“Glastonbury” by Mrs Goadby, read by H. R. Smith
“The Spoonbill” by W. Russell Brain, read by Mrs. Robson

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Dorothy Brain      Manuscript: Unknown, Notebook


Charles E. Stansfield : [a biographical sketch of Percy Bysshe Shelley with an estimate of his views and character]

Meeting held at School House, L.P. :- 28. v. 37.

  C. E. Stanfield in the Chair.

1. Minutes of last read & approved


4. Charles Stansfield then read a biographical sketch of Shelley, followed by an estimate of Shelley’s views and character.

5. Readings were then given by the following
Hymn to Intellectual Beauty by Mary Pollard
Prometheus Unbound by Reginald Robson
Ode to the West Wind by Elizabeth Alexander
Adonaïs by Victor Alexander.

These were all discussed; and a further short reading, from William Watson’s poetry, was given by Alfred Rawlings.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Charles E. Stansfield      Manuscript: Unknown


Charles E. Stansfield : [A detailed biographical sketch of Æ (AE, or George William Russell)]

Meeting held at St. Margaret’s, Shinfield Road: 20. 1. 38.

F. E. Pollard in the chair

1. Minutes of last read and approved


6. C. E. Stansfield opened the proceedings on Æ [A-E ligature, the name adopted by George William Russell] by a detailed biographical sketch of some length, in the course of which we gained some idea of the contradictions and complexities of A. E.’s character. [...] An interesting personal touch was added to the sketch by F. E. Pollard who had been present at one of Æ’s “salon” receptions.

7. Extracts from A. E’s prose were then read by Mary S. W. Pollard on “Gandhi,” and by F. E. Pollard on “The one dimensional mind”.

8. Finally F. E. Pollard and V. W. Alexander read three of A.E.’s poems.

9. By this time most of us were more than ready for a little lighter matter, and we thoroughly appreciated some delightful touches from The Tinker’s Wedding by Synge which Rosamund Wallis gave with evident relish.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Charles E. Stansfield      Manuscript: Unknown


Click here to select all entries:


Green Turtle Web Design