Signed seating plan for a formal dinner for the Potsdam conference, 23 July 1945 (LHCMA Alanbrooke 13/7)
Front cover of the seating plan, complete with Joseph Stalin’s signature (LHCMA Alanbrooke 13/7)
This is the seating plan for a formal dinner for the Potsdam conference attendees, hosted by Winston Churchill, 23 July 1945, signed by the attendees, including Churchill himself, Harry S Truman, and (on the cover) Joseph Stalin.
Churchill is shown as Prime Minister, because although the UK general election had already been held on 5 July, the results were not counted and declared until 26 July, since many voters were still on overseas service. Three days later, Attlee (seated three to the right of Churchill) was the new British Prime Minster.
This item comes from the personal papers of Field Marshal Viscount Alanbrooke, who as Chief of the Imperial General Staff for most of World War Two was Churchill’s chief military adviser. In his diary he wrote of the evening: ‘It was a good dinner with an RAF band, rather spoilt by continuous speeches. …. After dinner we had the menus signed up and I went round to ask Stalin for his signature, he turned round, looked at me, smiled very kindly and shook me warmly by the hand before signing. After the band playing all the national anthems we went off to bed.’
In 1847, Philmer Eves was appointed as a Porter to King’s College London. In the letter above, written in May 1848, he asked if he could have a small advance on his wages in order to move from the College Lodge, run by the Gatekeeper, James Nightingale, and his wife, Kezia, into a privately rented unfurnished, presumably cheaper, room elsewhere. He planned to get married and wished to free up a little money to buy things necessary for the wedding and the start of married life. A note was made to the effect that the matter was deferred until October for reconsideration which may have scuppered his plans.
However, according to the parish records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, Philmer Eves married Elizabeth Wood on 10 September 1848 in St Pancras Church. In the 1851 census, they were living in Brydges (now Catherine) Street, near the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and he was still working as a Porter at King’s. By 1861, Philmer and his wife had moved to Cheshire where they stayed until his death in 1876. It is nice to see that despite the lack of assistance from the College he was still able to get married and kept working at King’s.
Philmer Eves’ letter comes from a large collection of letters and documents sent to the Secretary of King’s College London which date from the foundation of the College in 1829 through to the late 19th and early 20th century. A detailed catalogue of the collection is currently being prepared and will be made available on our catalogue website very soon.
On 1 July 1960 the independent Somali Republic came into being.
Our online exhibition ‘Armies Abroad: Britain in Somaliland’ looks at the British military presence in British Somaliland from the creation of the Dervish State until the establishment of the Somali Republic in 1960.