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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bertha Fry and Leonora Fry

Bertha Fry was born Bertha Howick in 1883, the daughter of John Howick and his wife Anne, her birth registered in Westhampnett, W. Sussex. She was Christened at St. John's, Bognor, on 15 November 1883. She grew up in Guildford, Surrey, where her father worked for the Post Office. She was educated at secondary school and privately.

In 1908 she was married to Leonard Fry. They had two children, Leonora (1913-1999, see below), who went on to become a writer, and Bernard J. (who died at birth).

Usually writing as Bertha Leonard, she contributed to Girl's Own Paper and a great many annuals from Blackie and Nelson as well as contributing to the Daily Mail and Sunday Dispatch. Her school novels are still collected, although, as Kate Tyler asserts in The Encyclopaedia of Girls' School Stories, she was "not a great or even a very good writer, but her strength lies in the variety and relative originality of her plots."

According to a brief entry in Author's and Writer's Who's Who, her interests were reading and collecting antiques.

I've yet to establish when Bertha Fry died; the best fit I can find is one Bertha Fry whose death was registered in Ealing in 1959 (aged 77), although there was a Bertha Fry who died in Wells in 1963 (aged 81) who may be her (the disparity of year of birth may be explained by my only having located her Christening rather than her actual date of birth, which, I should note, is sometimes erroneously given as 1884).

Novels as Bertha Leonard
Stella's Victory, illus. E. S. Farmer. London, "Girl's Own Paper", 1926.
Daphne the Day Girl, illus. J. Dewar Mills. London, Cassell & Co., 1927.
The House of Doug. London, Sampson Low & Co., 1927.
The Little Runaways. London, Epworth Press, 1927.
An Upper Fourth Feud, illus. F.C.D. London, Pilgrim Press, 1928.
The Princess of Sea-Pink Island. London, (Tales for Little People 2), 1929?
The Star of St. Anne's, illus. P. B. Hickling. London, Cassell & Co., 1930.
Nan's Highland School. London, J. F. Shaw & Co., 1931.
The Riddle of Rockview School, illus. J. C. B. Knight. London, J. F. Shaw & Co., 1931.
The Rivals of Redlands. London, J. F. Shaw & Co., 1931.
The School at Kesteven. London, J. F. Shaw & Co., 1932.
Hip! Hip! Hooray!, illus. Jacques Browne. London, John F. Shaw, 1934.
"Tish" for Short. London, J. F. Shaw & Co., 1934.
Silverways Manor School. London, J. F. Shaw & Co., 1935.
Stella the Star. London, Epworth Press, 1936.
The Rebellion of Rita. London, Juvenile Productions, 1937.
Castle School Mystery, illus. K.M.W. London, Epworth Press, 1938.
A Feud and a Find, illus. W. Lindsay Cable. Huddersfield, Schofield & Sims, 1945.
Bertram the Bear, illus. Peter Fraser. Huddersfield, Schofield & Sims, 1947.

Others (editor) as Bertha Leonard
Frolic and Fun. London, J. F. Shaw & Co., 1931.
Playhours. London, J. F. Shaw & Co., 1932.

Others (contributor) as Bertha Leonard
The Taming of Angela, and other stories of school life and adventure. London, Epworth Press, 1934.
The Joys of Travel. London, R. Tuck & Sons, 1936.



LEONORA FRY (1913-1999).

Apart from the fact that she was Bertha and Leonard Fry's daughter, and was born on 10 July 1913, I know nothing else about the career of Leonora Fry. She contributed to a number of the same papers as her mother, including The Children's Newspaper, and wrote a number of educational books about railways. She was married in Sussex in 1975 to Norman Oswin and her death was registered in Brighton in 1999.

Novels
For the School's Sake. London, J. F. Shaw & Co., 1934.
Through Peril for Prince Charlie. London, Juvenile Productions, 1937.
Cyril the Squirrel, illus. Peter Fraser. London, Partridge Publications, 1946.

Non-fiction
Get to Know: British Railways, illus. C. W. Huxtable. London, Methuen & Co., 1950.
Get to Know: Bridges, illus. R. Barnard Way. London, Methuen & Co., 1951.
Railways. London, Educational Supply Association, 1951.
Get to Know: Post and Telegraph. London, Methuen & Co., 1953.
How Things Developed: Clothes. London, The Educational Supply Company, 1953.
Castles, illus. F. W. Wentworth-Sheilds. London, The Educational Supply Association, 1956.
Looking and Finding on a Railway Journey, illus. E. W. Fenton. London, Educational Supply Association, 1959.

(* The Children's Newspaper © Look and Learn Magazine Ltd.)

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