Person    | Female  Born 1856  Died 12/7/1929

Lady Emily Fortescue

Categories: Benefactor

Lady Emily Fortescue

With one clue from a Council document related to the impressive Time Flies clock tower, we searched high and low for a "Mrs Galpin" who could have been the donor but found nothing to substantiate this.

Allowing for that Council document to be mistaken (perhaps Mrs Galpin donated something else to the Gardens and the paperwork got confused), we think we have found a better candidate for the donor of the Time Flies clock tower.

About 20 years after the Clock Tower was erected in memory of a lost son, the Elfin Oak (every child's delight) was erected here by a member of the Fortescue family, possibly prompted by the earlier memorial. We wondered whether perhaps a member of that same family had erected the clock tower.

Examining the Fortescues we found a perfect candidate: In 1886 Emily Ormsby-Gore married Hugh Fortescue (1854 - 1932) and they had 3 sons, one of whom, Geoffrey Faithful, died aged 9, in 1900. On her father-in-law's death in 1905 her husband became the 4th Earl Fortescue and she the Countess Fortescue. The Botanical Society and Exchange Club Report for 1929 carries a (rather plant-centric) obituary. The evidence for her being the clock tower donor follows.

Firstly, Kensington Gardens is very closely connected with royalty and Lady Emily, holding the office of Extra Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Mary, also had royal connections and, from her obituary we know she was interested in gardens.

To recap: the clock tower commemorates two people: a 'beloved son' and 'one who loved little children', so to identify the donor we have to identify those two people.

In 1909, when the clock tower was erected, Lady Emily and Lord Hugh had both, 4 years previously, lost their fathers. And 9 years previously they had lost a 9-year old son. The Lord’s father had had 14 children so it seems likely that he may have 'loved little children'. We suggest that this Fortescue couple erected the clock tower in memory of their dead son and of the late Lord Fortescue.

Lady Emily died in 1929 the year before the Elfin Oak was erected. No commemoration is specified for the Oak but perhaps Emily's death prompted Winifred, her sister-in-law, to place it here beside Emily's clock tower.

All speculation, but it hangs together, we hope you agree. If you have anything to add, either in support of our theory or opposed to it, please contact us.

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Lady Emily Fortescue

Commemorated ati

Elfin Oak

For hundreds of years, no one knows for how many, this tree lived its life qu...

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This section lists the memorials created by the subject on this page:
Lady Emily Fortescue

Creations i

Time Flies clock tower and drinking fountain

This inscription fails to name the person(s) who erected this substantial mem...

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