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September 28, 2014


Amy McKay Core

My husband was employed by Navios and we lived on Dowdeswell Street from 1959 to 1965. I hope to find those two books and relive happy days.

larry smith

The names of those who dropped in on Government House or hosted the Ranfurlys during those three years are fascinating to look up. They included (but were not limited to):

Cyril Forster Garbett, Archbishop of York, who died in 1955.

Princess Radziwill, the younger sister of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who had several marriages including one to a Polish prince.

Sir John Marriot, a celebrated British army officer in both world wars who married the daughter of Otto Herman Khan, the famous German banker and arts patron.

Lady Baden Powell, (who died in 1977 and who had become world chief guide in 1930). The scouts and guides were founded by her husband Robert Baden-Powell who was a Boer War hero.

Sir Victor Sassoon, a celebrated bon vivant from an Iraqi Jewish family which had huge business interests in China and India before WW2. He sold these interests in 1948 and moved to the Bahamas, where he lived on Cable Beach until his death in 1961.

Izaak Walton Killam, one of Canada’s top financiers. He had an estate on Hog Island. Roland Rose's father was brought in from the UK as the estate gardener. Killam died in 1955 and his wife followed in 1964.

Lady Jellicoe wife of WW1 admiral of the fleet and first sea lord Earl Jellicoe.

Henry David Reginald Margesson, 1st Viscount Margesson. A Conservative politician most popularly remembered for his tenure as government chief whip in the 1930s.

Sir Oliver Simmonds, British aviation pioneer, aircraft engineer and Conservative politician.He died in 1985.

The Duke of Windsor, the former king of England who had been the Bahamas' wartime governor. He died in 1972.

Frederick Sigrist, British aviation pioneer and movie producer who died in 1956. His sumptuous Cable Beach mansion was used by the Duke of Windsor when he first arrived in Nassau during the war. Sigrist worked with Thomas Sopwith during WW1 and was one of the founders of Hawker Siddley Group. He moved to Nassau in 1940.

William Astor 2nd, Conservative MP and heir to the Astor estate and title.

Max Aitken, the Anglo-Canadian tycoon, politician, and press baron. Owner of the Daily Express and Evening Standard. British information minister during WW2. He spent the winters in Nassau after the war and died in 1964.

Tex McCrary, an American journalist and public relations specialist who invented the talk show genre for television and radio. He often appeared on radio and TV with his actress wife, Jinx Falkenburg. It was McCrary who helped to convince Eisenhower to run for president in 1952 on the Republican ticket by staging "I Like Ike" rallies.

Alexander Bustamante, Jamaican labour leader and founder of the Jamaica Labour Party. He was chief minister from 1953 to 1955. He died in 1977 and was named a national hero.

Rosita Forbes, a celebrated English travel writer and explorer who in 1939 carved out a 400-acre estate near Governor's Harbour Eleuthera called Unicorn Cay. She wrote a book for the Development Board called A Unicorn in the Bahamas. She left the Bahamas in 1966 and died the following year.

Arthur Vining Davis, the American head of Alcoa, who helped developed commercial aluminium smelting. Before retiring from Alcoa, he began a second career by investing in Bahamian and Florida real estate - including most of South Eleuthera and one-eighth of Dade County. He died in 1962.

jane lloyd

I have just read with great interest your article in regard to Lady Ranfurly and the establishment of the Ranfurly Home for Children.

For my sins, I was the last President of the IODE before we disbanded in 2005. This past year I have been attempting to write the history of the IODE Bahamas, from 1901 to 2005, from all the original minute books and documents which had been left to decay in the IODE archive at the Bahamas Historical Society, the IODE's original headquarters.

I was amused to read in your article the part about Lady Ranfurly encountering "stiff opposition" to the orphanage from the IODE because "most of the children will be coloured!" Whilst I agree that the IODE ladies in those early years were a pretty formidable bunch, I can confirm that the IODE were only opposed to the home being built on the site of a Bahamian landmark i.e. the grounds of Fort Charlotte.

I have found the original entry in the IODE's minutes of 1955 from which you will see the IODE were staunch advocates for preserving historical landmarks, thereby allowing Bahamians to enjoy their heritage. It's also interesting to note from other entries that the IODE greatly
assisted Lady Ranfurly in raising funds for the children's home, and later went on to contribute to the Ranfurly Library so there was most definitely no opposition on their part.

The IODE Bahamas always seems to be given bad press for their history and the fact that they were formed by a group of white and, for the most part, privileged women but, from my experience with the IODE from early 1991 to 2005, I can only state that they were a group of strong women who worked hard to raise much-needed funds for a wide range of Bahamian charities and without seeking any publicity for their actions.

Without the IODE, there would certainly be no Bahamas Red Cross since it was IODE members who were instrumental in forming the Bahamas Branch of the Society and, throughout the years, the IODE regularly raised funds to support the Stapledon School, Sandilands, PMH, Star of the Bahamas Summer Camp, Girl Guides, Family Island schools, Bahamas Branch of the Royal British Legion Veterans, RAF Cemetery, Cancer Society, Salvation Army, Historical Society, Humane Society, Hurricane Relief ..... to name but a few!

The IODE also provided scholarships for a number of Bahamians, including Brent Malone who
received an IODE scholarship to attend art school in England.

When the IODE disbanded in 2005, due mainly to the decrease in membership and the fact that the "daughters of the daughters" had no interest in carrying on the somewhat archaic traditions of the IODE, it was agreed that the IODE funds would be dispersed amongst all the main charities in The Bahamas - including the Ranfurly Children's Home!

larry smith

I am sure you realise that the comment about the IODE was a direct quote from Hermione’s book.

Unfortunately, as you suggest, the IODE Bahamas is tarnished in the contemporary context by its segregationist and arch conservative past. But my impression is that it did gradually change with the times.

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