WHITTON and RITCH -Surname Studies and people from the Island of GRAEMSAY, Orkney

Frances Eleanor Campbell Penney

Frances Eleanor Campbell Penney

Female 1892 - 1964  (71 years)

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    All

  • Name Frances Eleanor Campbell Penney 
    Born 11 Sep 1892  Edinburgh Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Died 18 Jan 1964  Craig House, Royal Edinburgh Hospital for Mental and Nervous Disorders, 153 Morningside Drive, Edinburgh Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I20189  My Relatives
    Last Modified 16 Oct 2019 

    Father Joseph Campbell Penney,   b. 1851,   d. 25 Feb 1920, 15 Gloucester Place, Edinburgh Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 69 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Margaret Eleanor Jane Gourlay,   b. 1862, Edinburgh Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1945, Haymarket, Edinburgh Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Married 22 Sep 1891  Edinburgh Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F7174  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Henry Norman Bethune,   b. 3 Mar 1890, Gravenhurst, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Nov 1939, Shansi, Binxian, China Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 49 years) 
    Married 13 Aug 1923  St Giles, Middlesex Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Divorced 1927 
    Last Modified 16 Oct 2019 
    Family ID F7192  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 A R E Coleman 
    Last Modified 16 Oct 2019 
    Family ID F7191  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 

    • Returned to Scotland after divorce in 1927.
      Travelled from New York to Southampton 20-1-1928 on the "Majestic"
      Travelled from Southampton to Quebec 8-6-1929 on the "Empress of Australia" going to ther Ritz Carlton, Montreal,

      Had an affair with Norman Betunes biographer Ted Allan
      Ted lost contact with Francis. He learned, later, that she had returned to Scotland and her family, that she had gone "crazy", and was institutionalised. She died in the nineteen fifties still in the institution.
      Dr. Norman Bethune (1890-
      1939) needs no introduction
      to readers of this Newsletter.
      The same cannot be said about his
      wife, Frances Penney. During the
      2004 meeting of the American Osler
      Society, the History of Medicine
      Librarian was fortunate enough to
      meet Professor Terrance Ryan,
      Director of the Osler-McGovern
      Centre at 13 Norham Gardens,
      Oxford. During the course of the
      conversation he related the following
      story about Frances Penney, whom
      Bethune married and divorced twice,
      first in 1927 and then again in 1933.
      Although Bethune continued to write
      to her after their divorce, and her
      marriage to A.R.E. Coleman, little
      information has survived about her
      life following Bethune’s death.
      According to a letter in the Osler
      Library archives from Frances’
      nephew Michael Campbell Penney
      written in 1975 (MS 679), she
      returned to Britain after World War
      II, lived in London with her favourite
      brother and then following his death,
      moved to Edinburgh where she lived
      in the circumstances described below
      in a letter from Professor Terrance
      Frances Penney (Bethune)
      In the 1920s there was a formality
      about the “best” Edinburgh families
      that included nannies, (known by the
      surnames of the families by whom
      they were employed) governesses,
      and other below stairs personages.
      When Frances twice married a wild
      Canadian Communist the family
      were appalled. The nanny circuit of
      Nanny Penney, Nanny Fraser, Nanny
      MacDonald, and Nanny Mac-
      everything else, meeting, peram-
      bulating or chatting at Nanny
      Macloughlin’s weekly tea party, were
      less inclined to cut off relationships.
      In the 1950s “Ducky” the most
      intellectual and well read of the
      nannies, who could recite long tracts
      of Walter Scott, told me in secret that
      I, as a prospective member of the
      Penney family, could (should) join
      her on a weekly visit to Aunt Frances
      who lived alone in poorish
      circumstances in an Edinburgh back
      street. Frances was an elderly and
      most attractive little lady dressed in
      pinks and mauve with lace trimmings
      She spoke with a soft and refined
      Scots accent characteristic of
      Edinburgh and her conversation was
      “bookish”. I thereafter played for her
      on the piano, especially Debussy, and
      would browse through her books. I
      visited Frances shortly before her
      death, as a demented but sweet old
      lady sitting up in bed with well
      groomed long grey hair and a shawl
      in an old persons home. Ducky was
      certain that the past was responsible
      for her present illness, and as I noted
      as a visitor to one of Nanny
      Macloughlin’s tea parties, the past
      was the only topic of conversation.
      After Frances died, Ducky told me to
      take any books of interest and I chose
      books in which Norman Bethune had
      written comments, such as, “In
      Memory of Knaresborough”. Later
      in my career as a visitor and role
      player in China, I have gradually
      given these books away. The first
      was to the Lebanese born and
      Buffalo trained George Hatem (Ma
      Haide, 1910-1988 veteran of Mao’s
      Long March, with whom Bethune
      corresponded) when he visited my
      home in Oxford to discuss his
      huge public health program. One
      of the books nearly got me into
      trouble when the senior Chinese
      lady to whom I had given it,
      presented it to the women of
      China at a crowded ceremony in
      The Great Hall of The People. She
      said that she had noted it was about
      a woman and that any woman that
      Norman Bethune was interested in,
      she would wish to emulate. The
      book was
      , Flaubert’s
      Most recently I have signed a
      contract for the training of one
      million Chinese Village Doctors by
      “The International Foundation of
      Dermatology” and a training centre
      at Ma Haide’s onetime department in
      Nanjing will need a centrepiece. I
      have persuaded Frances’ nephew to
      give the centre Norman Bethune’s
      typewriter to be a symbol of the role
      of non-Chinese in the building of a
      great nation.
      Terence Ryan, Emeritus Professor of
      Dermatology Oxford University

      Address at death 10 Roseberry Crescent, Edinburgh called Frances Eleanor Coleman Divorced