Sunday, 16 February 2014

A brewer's domestic woes

A nice, juicy, acrimonious divorce. Evreyone likes them. Or at least reading about them. Except for the participants.

This is a weird story that has nothing to do with beer, other than the fact that one of the parties belonged to the Charrington family and had been a director of the brewery

Brewery Director's Petition for Divorce.

The hearing was begun the Divorce Court to-day of the petition of Mr Ernest Charles Charrington, formerly a director of a brewery company, for the dissolution of his marriage with his wife, Mildred, on the ground her alleged adultery with Lieut. Richard John Harrison, R.N.

The respondent and co-respondent denied the allegations, and it was alleged that the husband had been guilty of gross cruelty towards her, and admitted adultery With women, whose names were unknown. These charges the petitioner denied.

The petitioner is 48 years of age, his wife 45, and the co-respondent 23. The parties met during the South African war, the husband having served with distinction in that campaign. They were married on January 8, 1902. I here were two children. Mrs Charrington had not been blessed with a great amount of this world's goods, and she was anxious to have a settlement made upon Her. That was the cause of the first trouble. Carrington would not consent, and from that time — 1906 — onwards the parties were never on the same terms of affection. Mrs Charrington, said counsel, was given to rather violent temper.

Back from Scotland.
In 1906 the petitioner became very fond of golf, and his absence playing golf was not to the liking of his wife. Mr Charrington, unfortunately, now and then took a  little more than was good for him, and the wife had made a great deal that in her charges of cruelty. In September, 1915, Charrington joined as private in R.A.S.C., obtaining a commission in France. His wife was having allowance of £220 month.

In April, 1920, after a visit to Scotland, for fishing and shooting, he returned to London to Cornvale Gardens, and the reception from his son was that was not wanted, and was to away. The petitioner sent for his daughter, who brought the same message. His wife permitted him to sleep in the drawing-room. Next day he left.

Week-End Visits.
Now it was said that there was children's party at the house that night and the petitioner came home drunk. That, said counsel, was alleged after the husband's petition was filed. In August, 1920, he went to live at Hampton Court. For two years he suffered acutely from neuritis, and had male nurse.

The co-respondent met Mr Reginald Charrington, the son, while both were preparing for the Navy. In June, 1921 Harrison became a very frequent visitor to Cornvale Gardens. He was there practically every week-end, and the evidence regarding misconduct was that he was in the wife's room with the door locked and that frequently a notice would be posted on the door, "Don't disturb me," in the handwriting of Mrs Charrington or Mr Harrison.

Husband's Objections.
The evidence also was that meals were taken up to these people, and that Mrs Charrington would have her breakfast in bed, and Mr Harrison would be with her in his pyjamas. They thought nothing of embracing and kissing each other, said counsel.

In 1924 Mr Charrington, who trusted his wife implicitly, and knew nothing of all this, got rather tired of seeing Mr Harrison always in the house, and spoke to his wife about it. Apparently Mrs Charrington desired to bring about a marriage between her daughter Eileen and Mr Harrison. Mr Charrington thought his daughter too young, and took advice and made his daughter a ward of Court, which she was at present, when, said counsel, he objected to Mr Harrison lounging about his wife made use of the curious expression that she wanted keep him pure for Eileen.

His wife must have been aware that things were moving in the direction of a divorce, and desired to occupy his room again. She was refused. Later she filed the charges of cruelty against him. The petitioner was bombarded with letters from relatives, begging him to overlook his wife's indiscretions. She said she was willing for a mutual separaion.

Mr Charrington, in the witness-box, was questioned regarding a New Year's ball in 1904. Counsel asked if was so drunk that he was turning cart wheels the ballroom. "I may have been merry." replied, " but if I was capable of turning cart wheels I could not have been very drunk."
Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 24 November 1925, page 8.

Mmmm. Mr. Charrington doesn't seem to have paid a great deal of attention to his wife. But, as we'll learn later, he had other activities to keep him occupied. This is a huge understatement: "Mr Charrington, unfortunately, now and then took a  little more than was good for him". A bit like saying Hitler could get a little angry every now and then.

I'm none the wiser about how Harrison came to know the Charringtons. The story about him meeting the son in the Navy is contradicted in later newspaper reports.

Kissing, being locked up together in Mrs Charrington's bedroom, having breakfast in bed? I think I would have reacted a little more quickly than Mr. Charrington.

There's lots more to come on this story.

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