VIVIAN LEETHAM KEELAN
1873, St Kitts, Dominica, British West Indies – 6th May 1938, 26 Fairway, Mill Hill, north London
St Michael’s 1904-10

Keelan, from his obituary in the Hendon and Finchley Times and Guardian, 1938.

He was the eldest son of four sons born to the physician Dr Nicholas Walter Keelan LRCPE LRCSI (1842 – 17 June 1884, Roseau, Dominica1) of Muckross, County Kerry, Ireland and Rosabella Leetham (1851, Dominica – 16th June 1930, 2 Rutford Road, Streatham), the second daughter of the late Charles Leetham of Dominica. As their surnames suggest, both Nicholas and Rosabella were of Irish ancestry. A man named Patrick Keelan, “son of the late Bernard Keelan Esq., of Carrickmacross, County Monaghan”, qualified as a surgeon from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland2 – he was probably related to Nicholas and may have been his brother. In 1861 a man named Patrick Keelan (1837 – 9th May 1892, Hull) became an assistant surgeon aboard the wooden steamship HMS Neptune, later transferring to the frigates HMS Royal Oak (1863) and HMS Aurora (1864). Late in 1867 he was made assistant surgeon to Greenwich Hospital before being promoted to Fleet Surgeon in 1880 and placed on the Retired List late in 1881. Finally he is recorded as surgeon to Warwick Gaol in 1884. He then moved to Craigmore, Holderness Road, Hull and in retirement became a member of the Hull Medical Society3 On 11th June 1885 his eldest daughter Edith Mary Theresa Keelan married Lieutenant Thomas Ffrench [sic], 1st Battalion Duke of Edinburgh’s Wiltshire Regiment at St Mary’s Church, Wilton Street, Hull – he was the son of the late Major General Ffrench4. He also had another daughter, Louisa Christina (died 11th December 1898, Mater Hospital, Dublin or Belfast). He died only months after his wife Frances Ellen (died 27th January 1892, Hull) – she left £50, whilst probate on his effects of £634 7 shillings was proved to Edith and to Kathleen Alexandra Mary Watton, widow.

A man named Bernard Keelan gained the Licence in Medicine and the Midwifery Diploma from the King and Queen’s College of Physicians in Ireland during the last quarter of 18675. Another (or possibly the same man) died before his wife, Margaret, who died in Dublin on 29th November 1877 and was buried at “the family burying place, Drumcar, county Louth”6. Another man named Bernard Keelan was working as a dealer or merchant in Carrickmacross in 19047

Leetham was a storekeeper in Roseau, the island’s capital, and attorney for one or two proprietors on the island. Britain had abolished slavery in 1834 and within four years Dominica had the first legislature in the British West Indies controlled by the ethnic African majority, mostly made up of ethnic Africans who had been free merchants or smallholders pre-abolition, with differing economic interests to the white planter class. In June 1844 census officials were sent out unannounced across the island. Fearing that this was a ruse to reinstate slavery, free black plantation labourers violently opposed the officials, leading to what became known as the Census Riots or ‘La Guerre Negre’ which were put down by the militia.

An 1844 article by John Laidlaw (then attorney general of Dominica) in the Colonial Magazine accused Rosabella’s father Charles Leetham of corrupt conduct as a magistrate at Dominica. In response Leatham accused Laidlaw of packing the special court of oyer and terminer called by the governor to try those involved in the riots and secretly arranging for lawyers to prosecute the prisoners in Roseau gaol at this special trial despite their petition to Queen Victoria (penned by Leetham), both of which charges Laidlaw denied. The island’s governor tried to keep a lid on the affair, but Leetham insisted that it be taken to a higher authority. The governor thus did so, but held a low opinion of Leetham, noting, that he had escaped trial for mistreating three black prisoners captured by the militia during the riots and – rather than such a dramatic change of heart in favour of the island’s black population – he was “solely animated by a spirit of hostility of long standing against Mr Laidlaw” in keeping with the “most malicious and scurrilous attacks” on Laidlaw in the press since the riots8. Even so, Leetham was later awarded £500 damages at a libel trial in December 18489. He also owned a schooner named Kohinoor which ran aground on the coast of Barbados during a storm on 28th September 1855 – one newspaper stated “it is probably that the Kohinoor may be got off by taking out her masts and ballast… [in that vessel] life was unfortunately lost, a black sailor belonging to this island having been washed off the deck and instantly drowned; his body was found in the morning.”10.

Nicholas and Rosabella were married on 24th May 1870 at St George’s Cathedral, Georgetown, Guyana by the Venerable Archdeacon Jones, MA. None of the family appear in any British censuses before 1901, so they were all probably resident in the West Indies before that date. Nicholas briefly arrived back in England on the Royal Mail Company’s steamship Moselle on 14th December 188011 and was Government Medical Officer of Roseau by the time of his death in 1884, which possibly caused his widow to move to England with their children. Vivian had at least two siblings, Claud Charles Keelan (1877, Roseau, Dominica – 11 August 1916, 4th London General Military Hospital, Camberwell, London) and Lionel Bernard (1874 – 19th November 1935, Hammersmith district).

Vivian arrived in Britain aged 12 in 1884. He graduated BA from Fitzwilliam House Cambridge in 1893. He was ordained deacon in 1895 and priested the following year, both by Edward Bickersteth, Bishop of Exeter. He was a friend of Edmund Merritt, later vicar of St Michael’s, possibly from their time in Cambridge. His first curacy was at Dawlish in Devon (1895-1901). In 1901 he gained his Cambridge MA and in the census that year he was living at Bridge House, Myrtle Cottage, Dawlish, Devon with his widowed mother. His next curacy was at St James’, Keyham, Devonport (1901-04), where he organised a large Bible class in the dockyard and a successful boys’ club. In the words of his Hendon and Finchley Times and Guardian obituary, he “became very popular with his parishioners and packed congregations rewarded his labours”.

Next came St Michael’s Camden Town (1904-10), where – again in the words of the obituary – “he spent some happy years”. Whilst there he officiated at his brother Lionel Bernard’s wedding to Emily Constance Riach, eldest daughter of the late John Riach of Shanghai – her mother was alive and living at 55 Bassett Road, W. The marriage took place at St Helen’s Church, North Kensington12. The notice of the wedding stated Lionel and Vivian’s father was “late … of Carrickmacross, co. Monaghan” in Ireland.

The July 1910 parish magazine contained a report of his holiday in Devon, Berlin and Dresden, from which he wrote “They don’t make fun about war here … They glorify it. Even their Angels stand on cannon-balls! I hope we may never have to fight them.” In October the same year he was appointed London Diocesan Home Missioner to Golders Green, then in the first stages of its development. Still living at 24 St Paul’s Road, Camden Square, he wrote his new parishoners an open letter, which was published in the Hendon and Finchley Times13, starting it “My dear friends, – I begin my letter like that as I hope that very soon we may be real friends, in the best and truest sense of the word.” and expressing his hope to start regular services on the third Sunday in September that year. It also stated how the temporary and permanent churches were to be funded, noted the support of Charles Turner, Bishop of Islington as well as that of the Vicar of Hendon, Canon Childs on behalf of the Home Mission Society and Mr Nelson (honorary secretary of the Bishop of London’s Fund) and put out an appeal for “an altar and a font, an American organ, choir stalls, chairs, and cassocks and surplices” as well as for choir boys and men.

Keelan’s letter to his new flock, 1910.

He concluded the letter by saying that he hoped to move into the Golders Green area in early September 1910, a promise he kept, leaving Camden on 15th September 191014. However, he briefly returned to help at St Michael’s Camden Town the following Sunday since his temporary iron church was not ready yet. It was then due to be dedicated on 1st October by the Bishop of Islington, with St Michael’s Camden Town providing a choir for the occasion. He wrote a letter to St Michael’s which was published in the November 1910 parish magazine, thanking them for their “over-generous [farewell] gift”, saying that he was missing “S. Michael’s and its stately services and the familiar friendly faces” and mentioning that “We had a Harvest Thanksgiving when we were 13 days old. Wasn’t that ambitious?”.

In the 1911 census Vivian was single and boarding at 33 Montpelier Rise, Golders Green with the 29-year-old Clapham-born “merchant’s clerk and organist” William Cave and his wife Clara Winifred. On Saturday 7th October 1911 he married Emily Grace ‘Toots’ Williams (31 January 1891, Ashridge House, North Tawton, Devon – 25th June 1968, Haringey district) at St Martin’s Church, Bedford. A long report of the marriage appeared in the local paper:

“The bride and her family are well known and esteemed in social circles of the town, and a large and fashionable congregation was present to witness the ceremony, which was performed by the Rev. H. Fulford Williams, brother of the bride, assisted by the Rev. F.W. Osborn15 and the Rev. J. C. Speck, Vicar of the parish. The chancel was chastely adorned with white chrysanthemums, palms, and ferns, and before the service, which was fully choral, the organist, Mr. Percy Aston, A.R.C.O., played as a voluntary the Bridal March from “Lohengrin.” The hymns were Veni Creator, “Love Divine” (sung kneeling) and “Oh Perfect Love.” The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a handsome white satin dress with corsage composed of white chiffon and lace, and arranged with a dainty fichu effect. The over-skirt was of white satin opening over a pipon of flounced lace, and the veil of exquisite Carickmacross lace, the work of the bride’s mother. She carried a shower bouquet of white roses and carnations, and wore a pendant, the gift of the bridegroom. The bridesmaids, Miss Clare Williams (sister of the bride), and Miss Mallet-Veale were attired in pink satin veiled in blue ninon, and the same effect being carried out in the broad lace band at the hem of the skirts. They wore hats to match of veiled satin, carried bouquets of pink carnations, and wore pearl and beryl brooches, the gifts of the bridegroom. The bride’s mother wore a handsome gown of blue satin with cross-over bodice trimmed with pipings of geranium and black silk fringe, and her hat was of blue velvet lined with black.

The duties of best man were ably carried out by Mr. Claude [sic] Keelan brother of the bridegroom. After the ceremony a reception was held at St. Martin’s Hall, when about 130 guests, principally relations and old friends of the bride and bridegroom, were present. Later, the newly-wedded pair left for Lyndhurst, New Forest, where the honeymoon is to be spent. The bride’s going away dress was of dark brown crepe dechine embroidered in blue, with hat to match, brown crepe de chine lined with blue velvet and trimmed with blue feathers. The bride’s dress and those of the bridesmaids were very much admired, and were the work of Mrs. Barber in Kempston-road. The wedding presents were handsome, appropriate, and useful, and numbered over 250.

The decorations and bouquets were supplied by Messrs. Laxton Bros16.

Emily was the younger daughter of Henry Clissold Williams (1848-1927) and Mary Fulford (1854, North Lawton, Devon – 1928). Emily attended Bedford High School for Girls and in 1911 was living at 2-4 Clapham Road, Bedford with three siblings (including one born in Assam, India in 1890), two servants and her mother – her father was absent, probably in India, where he worked as a civil servant. Emily’s birthplace makes it likely the couple first met during Vivian’s first curacy in Devon, though she and her parents had moved to Barsham House in Bedford by the time of the marriage. A fellow Cambridge man, her brother Henry Frank Fulford Williams (1885-1966) had been one of Keelan’s successors as curate at Dawlish (1909-1911). Emily and Vivian had their first child two years into the marriage, Patrick Robert Leatham Keelan (23rd July 1913, Barsham House, Bedford – 2nd February 1973, Wandsworth district).

The only Anglican churches already in the area were St Jude’s in the new Hampstead Garden Suburb, which was only consecrated in 1911, and the chapel-of-ease named St Alban’s, also founded in 1910. In the words of Keelan’s Hendon and Finchley Times and Guardian obituary:

[he] came to the neighbourhood with little but his ambition and enterprise to aid him. Indeed, he may be said to have started St Michael’s, Golders Green, largely on faith and hope.

All that his new living consisted of at that time was a field, then full of water, in the middle of an undeveloped suburb. Undeterred, he set about the task with such energy and purpose that after only three years [on 9th June 1913] he was able to lay the foundation stone of a new church which was to replace the improvised tin hut where he began his ministry

The stone was laid by Isoline Harriett Perrin (nee Bailey), the wife of William] Perrin, Bishop of Willesden, and less than eight months later the first part of the church [consisting of the chancel altar and first two bays] was ready for dedication. This was led by Arthur Winnington-Ingram, Bishop of London on 1st February 1914, as reported in both obituaries – the service was interrupted more than once by a suffragette demonstration. With a permanent church, Keelan switched from priest-in-charge to incumbent. £30,000 was needed and raised for the new building, of which £1,150 was raised by Keelan sitting outside the church all day one day, a fundraising method he invented. The same obituary added that his “magnetic personality made him a well-known figure in the district, not only by his own congregation but by representatives of all denominations, who found him always ready to help with kindly words and encouragement.” The Hendon obituary added that he was “A kindly, genial man … [with] an abundant sense of humour … [who was] a great lover of sport, particularly fishing, cricket, tennis and chess”.

The nave of St Michael’s, Golders Green, now an Orthodox cathedral.

Vivian’s mother had moved to 53 Wymering Mansions, Wymering Road, Maida Vale by 1911, where she was living in the household of Vivian’s younger brother Claud, a commercial clerk who served in the London Rifle Brigade from 1909 to 1912. He then enlisted into the Honourable Artillery Company on 8th September 1914 at Armoury House on Finsbury Circus, giving his occupation as ‘registrar of a company’ or ‘clerk’, with his address as ‘The Knole’, St John’s Road, Golders Green, perhaps close to or with Vivian. He sailed from Southampton to the Western Front on 29th December that year. At the start of December 1/1st Battalion Honourable Artillery Company had moved into trenches at Spanbroekmolen, St Elooi and Kemmel between Ypres and Armentieres in Flanders. The regimental history described them as:

shallow, mud-filled ditches, dominated by the German line; the parapets were often only breast high; the approaches were open and bullet-swept. It rained incessantly, with frost and snow at intervals. Three days and nights of this [just after moving in] cost the Battalion 12 officers and 250 men in casualties, mostly from exhaustion, exposure and frostbite. …Sometimes during the period of so-called “rest” out of the line, the men would be engaged all night on fatigue parties carrying material up to the trenches. Casualties mounted steadily, and were replaced on 13th January, 1915 by the first draft of 4 officers and 300 men from the 2nd Battalion.

Claud was part of that first draft of men and joined B Company of 1/1st Battalion. This was part of 7th Brigade, 3rd Division and early in January twenty-three of its officers had been ordered to supply officers to other battalions in the brigade, though many of them were killed even before their promotions were officially announced in the London Gazette17. On 12th March 1/1st Battalion supported an attack by the Worcestershire and Wiltshire Regiments at Spanbroekmolen. It then came out of the line in mid-March. Between 23rd and 31st March it moved into new trenches at Elzenwalle and Dickebusch (also spelled Dikkebus), three miles south-west of Ypres18. During the move, on 25th March, a rifle bullet hit Keelan in front of his left ear, leaving him with a wound to the head and face. He was sent to Bailleul then to No 2 General Hospital in Le Havre, from which he sailed on the hospital ship Asturias on 29th March.

A member of Keelan’s battalion crossing a river in Flanders in March 1915 (left) and the Asturias in her livery as a hospital ship – she had previously been a Royal Mail steam packet.

He was admitted to hospital on 31st March “with wounds very septic and looking in a general septic condition”. He improved well until 11th April, when his mastoid opened up, abscesses started to develop and his right eye muscles became paralysed. The wound also caused pyaemia (blood-poisoning) and left his right knee immobile and his left knee almost immobile. He was discharged as no longer physically fit for any form of war service (even home service) on 28th June 1915 and died at King’s College Hospital (then in use as 4th London General Military Hospital) on 11th August 1916. When he wrote his will he had given his permanent address at the time of death as his widowed mother’s house in Maida Vale, though in his army papers he states he was still at ‘The Knole’ in Golders Green. He left only £129 1s and 4d in his will, with probate granted to his mother. He is commemorated at the 1914-1918 Memorial in the Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey and the war memorial at St Michael’s Golders Green, whilst his death was also recorded in the RIP list in St Michael’s parish magazine.

The memorial in Brookwood Military Cemetery and Claud Charles Keelan’s name.

Vivian himself was already Honorary Chaplain to the Hendon and Golders Green Volunteer Training Corps on the outbreak of war. He volunteered immediately in August or September 1914 as an Acting Chaplain. In 1915 he was posted to the Aegean, where he joined the hospital ship Rewa – this ferried the wounded from Gallipoli to Malta and Alexandria. He was present at the landings at Suvla Bay and collected watercolours of ‘Appy Anzac’, ‘Merry Mudros’ and ‘Sunny Suvla’ by the Surgeon-General on Malta, William George Birrell (1859-1918), who also produced a caricature of Keelan. During Keelan’s absence his second son Michael Vivian was born – he was christened by Fr Osborn, who was also one of the godfathers. Michael Vivian went on to study at Haileybury School from 1929 to 1932 and became a civil engineer.

The September 1915 Camden parish magazine mentioned Vivian had been back in England briefly once during his time as a chaplain, but not long enough to visit St Michael’s Camden Town. The following month’s magazine stated Vivian had been home on leave for nearly a fortnight but had left on 24th September to return to the Dardanelles. His experiences are described in newspaper report of a talk he gave after his return:

Mudros harbour was, he supposed, one of the finest harbours in the world. He talked of it in moonlight, crowded with all classes of shipping from the green-lit hospital ship to the great battle cruisers. He spoke of the sun-set glories, starlight and dawn. … Now and again Mr Keelan called on a row or two of wounded soldiers in the room who had come back from the scenes of his narratives for corroboration of his account. He said that he was the first man of their ship to come under fire. He said that the Turks were gentlemanly fighters – not at first – but they had learned better. They were not good at attacking (save with bombs), but they were very good at defensive warfare. He described their own carelessness of danger. At breakfast, when they were but narrowly missed, and the explosion of the shell in the water shook the ship from stem to stern, none moved from the table, but the captain, who said: “I suppose I’d better go and see if they’ve hit the old ship.” And then came in the old captain of arms: “It’s all right, sir,” he said, “they’ve missed us again!” Speaking of the care for the wounded, Mr. Keelan said that the ship’s crew were like women – like mothers – in their gentleness to the wounded. He touched lightly on the horrors of the operating rooms – doctors operating all night, slaving till they could hardly stand. He also mentioned the preparation room for the dying. It was on the [Rewa] that he made his first acquaintance with gas gangrene, which, he said, spreads with the utmost rapidity and is almost hopeless. To prepare its victims for death they had to have volunteers. The courage of the troops in their trials Mr. Keelan returned to again and again, and of “their little habit” which the British soldier had of making light of his wounds, and of the comradeship and readiness to share everything one with another.

Very vivid was Mr. Keelan’s description of the great attack of July the 13th. He said it was terrific. Twenty-two thousand shells struck in one square mile of ground. There was nothing left of five miles of trenches. But when our soldiers advanced, still they were met by the ever-ready Turk.

When he closed his eyes he could always see Anzac [Cove] at night with the pin-points of light in the cliff, and up which our soldiers must have climbed like flies. They were living like sea-gulls or sand-martins in the side of the cliff. They were under fire almost constantly for months and months. It was an enormous strain. The firing line was the safest place on that peninsular, said Mr. Keelan, for there they did get some cover. (Cries of “Rather!” from the rows of attentive wounded Tommies).

Mr. Keelan described the Australians as wonderful, tall and reckless, very strong and lean19.

In the words of his Hendon obituary “This was one phase of his career to which he always looked back with pleasure for he was fond of the sea and had something of the stamp of a sailor about his rugged and open countenance”. However, after the evacuation of the Gallipoli peninsula in early January 1916 he decided he needed to return to his months-old parish. He and Emily had a third child, Bernard Claud Leonard Keelan (19th October 1917, St Michael’s Vicarage, Golders Green – 9th October 1980, Brighton district), probably given his second name in honour of Vivian’s dead brother.

Apart from its tower, the church in Golders Green was completed and consecrated in 1926. Vivian was granted probate on his mother’s will on 10th July 1930. In 1934 Brook Flowers became the first alderman from Golders Green to become Mayor of Hendon and Keelan served as his chaplain. In the meantime, Vivian’s eldest son Patrick Robert had joined the Royal Navy in 1927, spending ten years in the service before joining John Lewis and Sons. His other sons Michael Vivian and Bernard Claude both attended Haileybury College. Michael Vivian went on to King’s College London, graduating BSc in 1936 and starting work as a civil engineer. Bernard instead went to Queen’s College Cambridge, gaining his BA History in 1939 and his Cambridge MA in 1941. He also studied theology during his time at university.

Keelan’s obituaries in the Church Times and Hendon and Finchley Times and Guardian20 relate how he was struck by a sudden seizure during the Michaelmas festival in 1935, which was also the silver jubilee of his arrival in Golders Green. A partial recovery and a return to work were followed by a second attack, leaving Keelan too ill to conduct his brother Lionel’s funeral at Golders Green Crematorium on 25th November 193521. This time he was unable to return to work and handed over the parish in February 1936. On 1st May 1938 he suffered a final stroke, leaving him unconscious until his death five days later. The St Michael’s Camden Town parish magazine of June 1938 parish magazine reported Vivian’s death “after a long and painful illness”, which his Church Times obituary of 13th May 1938 stated he had “borne with great courage and patience”.

His body was received into St Michael’s Golders Green on the evening of Monday 9th May with the solemn singing of the last Vespers of the Dead. The men of the parish then kept watch throughout the night until the first Mass of Requiem at 6 am, followed by two more at 7 and 8 – all three services had a high attendance. Hundreds packed into the church for the funeral, with the coffin between the nave and the chancel, covered with the Union Jack he had taken with him as a chaplain, upon which were placed a mauve iris and pale pink carnation wreath, Keelan’s biretta and his stole. The service was led by Guy Smith, Bishop of Willesden, another former World War One chaplain, who gave a short address. Acting as his chaplain for the occasion was Leonard Noel St Alphonse (1890-1953), one of Keelan’s curates in Golders Green, whilst two of his servers also returned, David Lamb and Robert Wood. Merritt robed and attended in his role as Rural Dean of St Pancras. F W Osborn and Norman de Langdale, past and present vicars at St Michael’s Camden Town, attended but did not robe.

Keelan’s coffin is carried out of St Michael’s Golders Green.

The chief mourners were Keelan’s widow, his three sons, Lionel Bernard’s widow and five of Keelan’s cousins. His widow’s brother Henry Fulford Williams was overseas and unable to attend. The whole front of the chancel was buried in flowers – one of the wreaths was from the Golders Green branch of the Toc H, a Christian soldiers’ club. The congregation included a Miss Abrams, a Miss Coen, Mr Derek Genzel and Isaac Livingstone (1885-1979), minister at Golders Green Synagogue, testifying to early inter-faith work in the area. Livingstone had been appointed to his congregation only six years after Keelan’s arrival in Golders Green, whilst the Jewish congregation was still worshiping in the church hall of St Alban’s, and remained its head until 1953.

The coffin was sprinkled with holy water and incense as the choir sang Walford Davies’ setting of ‘God be in my head’ before it was carried out to the strains of ‘Nunc Dimittis’. A private cremation followed at Golders Green Crematorium and the ashes were interred to the left of the altar in the Lady Chapel. A memorial to him was also set up at the high altar and dedicated on 18th June 1939 by Arthur Winnington-Ingram, just before his retirement as Bishop of London. The inscription for that memorial survives but later remodelling makes it unclear if this referred to a reredos, the carving on the front of the altar or some other fixture. Vivian’s widow Emily moved in with their unmarried second son Michael Vivian (3rd July 1915, St Michael’s Vicarage, Golders Green – 2010) at 13 Park View Gardens in Hendon, where they were still living in September 1939.

The Lady Chapel where Keelan is interred (left) and the plaque (right). The church and chapel are now both in use as a Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

When war broke out Patrick Robert returned to the navy, becoming captain of the SS Lucia, a depot ship for submarines based in India. On his demob he became a staff manager at John Lewis. His brother Michael Vivian was commissioned into the Royal Engineers on 18th October 1939, rising to Captain (1942) and Major (1945) and receiving a mention in despatches (date unknown) and the MBE (1944) for his service with the Eighth Army in North Africa and Italy. Known in the family as Barney, Bernard Claude joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1940, seeing service in Northern Ireland and East Africa.

The post-war years saw the marriage of all three Keelan sons. Michael Vivian was the first, on 28th August 1945 at St Mary Abbotts, Kensington High Street. His new wife was Rosemary Davan Phillips (1923, Randall, Pembrokeshire – 1998, Camden), sister of Elizabeth U Phillips (1926) and daughter of Ellen Randall (1900) and the farmer Stanley Phillips (1898) of 18 Richard Street, Swansea. All four of the Phillips family had emigrated from Liverpool to Canada on the SS Doric on 18th March 1927 as part of the 3,000 Family Scheme, a failed inter-war attempt to use white British families to settle and farm remote farmsteads. By 1945 Stanley and his family were back in Golders Green. Michael Vivian and Rosemary had two children, Anita D and Paul.

In 1950 Patrick Robert married Molly Lipscombe in Hampstead district. She was the daughter of James and Maude. Bernard is said to have met his future wife and fellow journalist Joan Lydia Yorke (1918-1994) whilst they were both at preparation classes to be received into the Roman Catholic church. The daughter of Ernest Yorke, Joan had sailed from Liverpool to New York in 1919 aged 8 months and was living at Kings in Brooklyn the following year. She married Bernard at St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in her hometown of Purley, Surrey on 7th June 1952. They had two children, Emily Charlotte Lydia Keelan (3rd November 1953, Hampstead district) and Adam John Yorke Keelan (18th February 1958, Wandsworth district).

After Bernard’s death Joan moved from London to Suffolk and did not remarry. Michael, Bernard and Patrick’s mother Emily died in 1968 and her ashes were interred at the west end of the north aisle at St Michael’s Golders Green, followed five years later by those of Patrick. Michael Vivian’s daughter Anita married Paul Neal in Hampstead district in 1972 and now lives on Cyprus. Bernard’s daughter Emily Charlotte Lydia Keelan married the psychiatrist Thomas Richard Dening (born 1956, Ilkeston, Derbyshire) in 1980 – they had one daughter, Elizabeth Laura Dening (born 1986, Cambridge), before divorcing in 2001. Elizabeth followed her grandparents into journalism and in 2018 married Ross Gordon Sutherland.

  1. ‘Deaths’, Homeward Mail from India, China and the East, 21 July 1884, page 28
  2. ‘Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland’, Newry Examiner and Louth Advertiser, 20th November 1858, page 1
  3. ‘Hull Royal Infirmary’, Hull Daily Mail, 12th March 1891, page 3
  4. ‘Marriages’, St James’s Gazette, 17th June 1885, page 14
  5. ‘Medical News’, Dublin Medical Press, 30th January 1867, page 24
  6. ‘Deaths’, Freeman’s Journal, 1st December 1877, page 1
  7. ‘Notice to the Public… Brown’s Dundalk Meal’, Dundalk Examiner and Louth Advertiser, 9th January 1904, page 6
  8. Copy of a despatch from Governor Sir C.A. Fitzroy KH to Lord Stanley, Government House, Antigua, 9 November 1844, Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons, Volume 31 (1845), pages 46-48
  9. ‘Court of Bankruptcy – March 12th’, Norfolk News, 24th March 1849, page 3
  10. ‘Shipwrecks at Barbados’, Morning Chronicle, 4th October 1855, page 7
  11. ‘Mail and Shipping News’, Western Morning News, 15th December 1880, page 3
  12. London Evening Standard, 29 September 1908, page 1
  13. ‘The New Church at Golders Green – Letter from the Rev. V.L. Keelan, Hendon and Finchley Times, 12th August 1910, page 5
  14. Parish Magazine, October 1910
  15. Vicar of St Michael’s Camden Town
  16. Bedfordshire Times and Independent, 13 October 1911, page 12
  17. G Goold Walker, The Honourable Artillery Company 1537-1947 (Aldershot: Gale and Polden Ltd, 1954), pages 243-244
  18. Honourable Artillery Company – On This Day 100 Years Ago – March 1915
  19. ‘The Rev. V.L. Keelan at Home’, Hendon and Finchley Times, 28th January 1916, page 3
  20. ‘Golders Green – Death of the Rev VL Keenan’, Hendon and Finchley Times and Guardian, 13th May 1938, page 11
  21. ‘Vicar’s Bereavement, Hendon and Finchley Times, 29th November 1935, page 9