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The Tathams of County Durham
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Meaburn Roden Tatham

Meaburn Roden Tatham

Male 1916 - 2013  (96 years)


  • Name Meaburn Roden Tatham  [1
    Known as "Roden" 
    Birth 17 Jul 1916  Northcourt House, Abingdon Find all individuals with events at this location   [1
    Residence 1920 - 1938  Ardnacombe, 111 Middleton Hall Rd, Kings Norton Find all individuals with events at this location   [1
    Ardnacombe, Kings Norton
    Ardnacombe, Kings Norton
    Home of Meaburn Tatham & family, 1920-1950
    Education abt 1921 - 1924  Brunnaker School, Kings Norton Find all individuals with events at this location   [2
    Education abt 1924 - 1929  Packwood House, Packwood Find all individuals with events at this location   [1
    Education abt 1929 - 1934  Eton College Find all individuals with events at this location   [1
    Education abt 1934 - 1937  Balliol College, Oxford Find all individuals with events at this location   [1
    • Did not take a degree
    • Appeared in the Balliol Players touring production of Euripides' Alcestis. [www.apgrd.ox.ac.uk/productions/people/6281]
    Occupation Dec 1938 - Aug 1939  Kassala, Sudan Find all individuals with events at this location ; Cotton Development Officer  [2, 3
    • based at Al Hasaheisa.
    Military Service abt 1940 - 1945  Black Watch and SOE  [2, 4
    • for details of military service, see 70th Infantry Brigade website
    Occupation abt 1946 - 1971  British Council  [1
    Residence 1962  Usagara Walk, Mwanza, Tanganyika Find all individuals with events at this location   [5
    • stationed at British Council regional office
    Residence aft 1971  3 St John's Park, Blackheath Find all individuals with events at this location   [1
    Death 29 Mar 2013  Morden College, Blackheath Find all individuals with events at this location   [1
    Burial 06 Oct 2013  St Andrew, Great Ryburgh Find all individuals with events at this location   [1
    Association Robert Carlton Collingwood (Relationship: Godfather) 
    Notes 
    • Roden Tatham
      Vesna Domany Hardy records her memories

      Our dear friend and neighbour in St John's Park, Roden Meaburn Tatham died on Good Friday. Although Roden never married and, as far as is known, had no children, his was a good, meaningful and interesting life.
      Born in Northcourt House, Abingdon, [in a house that later became a school run by the redoubtable Miss Tatham, which was attended by your editor] Roden was educated at Eton and Balliol, where he acted with the Balliol Players.
      During the war he served with the SOE (Special Operations Executive) in Burma. Because of the Official Secrets Act he refused to talk about his war years. However it is known that as early as 1940, the SOE was preparing plans for operations in SE Asia, where it helped to build up indigenous resistance organisations and guerrilla armies in Japanese occupied territory.
      However, whatever Roden knew he dutifully kept to himself; "my lips are sealed", he would say. But he did once let slip that they were all rather "a bunch of inexpert amateurs."
      After the war he worked for the British Council for thirty years, serving in South Africa, Israel, and Tanganyika - present day Tanzania - where (55 years ago) he met local resident Peter Greaves.
      After his retirement, for many years he volunteered to work for the Citizens' Advice Bureau, believing that one should serve one's community.
      Despite the infirmness of his last few years, he hardly ever complained, hopeful that the next hospital visit would solve the problem. In spite of it all, he remained lively, his mind active, and astute, with very wide interests: literature, music, art, theatre, history, politics, nature, sport.
      Although he had private means and could afford to be well looked after in Morden College for the two last years of his life, he firmly believed that everybody in need should be entitled to health and social care. Frequently he would voice his anger with this or that government measure meant to dismantle the welfare state which he held dear. Until the end of his life, he generously supported many charities, which he also remembered in his will.
      From the mid seventies we lived in the apartment above him in St John's Park.
      Roden had moved in shortly before, after retiring from the British Council. My husband and I had also known life in the British Council, so we had a great deal in common, including mutual friends and acquaintances.
      As an old style officer, Roden was beautifully spoken, always extremely kind, and a master of witty understatement.
      Nurtured in an old, large and well-to-do family, he had early acquired social ease and grace. Although he always voted Labour, he had a natural air of authority.
      Despite this, in the local shops, or on his hospital visits he always made the staff laugh by gently teasing: they loved him, and called him 'Colonel'.
      Roden would also regularly visit infirm family members, no matter how far away they lived. As he grew older and more infirm, he was unable to continue looking after his paraplegic friend, but, in turn, he became his immediate neighbours' community "project": we took it in turns to visit him, bring him meals, or take him out on walks. He had a great love and appreciation for his godson Tim Greaves who used to play chess with him once a week.
      Beside his good work he filled his life with music and travel as long as he could.
      His passion for music was important to him but somehow he left it behind during the last couple of years after he moved to Morden College.
      Until the end he read avidly, he would complete The Guardian quick crossword, often with help of his dear friends Peter and Chloe, even though some unanswered clues would also serve him as a conversation items. All of us who kept visiting him - mostly unknown to each other - formed a sort of 'Roden's circle'. We were always welcomed with the same mantra: "you are so good to me!" and, when leaving "So good of you to have come!"
      His eight nieces and nephews, his beloved sister-in law, his godson, his many devoted friends, near and far - we shall all miss our charming Roden.
      A Memorial service for (Meaburn) Roden Tatham was held on Wednesday, 17th April, at 13:15 in the chapel at Morden College, Blackheath.
      [Westcombe News May 2013]
    Person ID I0033  Tatham | Meaburn branch | Descendant - male line
    Last Modified 14 Oct 2019 

    Father Meaburn Tatham,   b. 14 Aug 1886, West Cliff Hotel, Cromer Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Apr 1976, Brambles, Arkley Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 89 years) 
    Mother Bessie Eileen Roden,   b. 19 Nov 1891, Parham, Antigua Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Apr 1975, Brambles, Arkley Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years) 
    Marriage 11 Jul 1912  St Pancras Church Find all individuals with events at this location   [6, 7, 8
    • Marriages: Tatham-Roden: On the 11th inst, at St Pancras Church, by the Rev F H Tatham, Rector of Ryburgh, Norfolk, cousin of the bridegroom, assisted by the Rev E L Metcalfe, Vicar of the parish, Meaburn, only son of Meaburn Talbot Tatham, of Northcourt House, Abingdon, Berkshire, to Bessie Eileen, only child of Robert Blair Roden, of Barbados, West Indies. [The Times, 12 Jul 1912]
    • Tatham-Roden: At St. Pancras Church recently the wedding took place of Miss Bessie Eileen Roden, only child of Mr. R. B. Roden, of Barbados, West Indies, and Mr. Meaburn Tatham, only son of Mr. Meaburn Talbot Tatham, of Northcourt House, Abingdon, Berks. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. F. Tatham, Rector of Ryburgh, Norfolk (cousin of the bridegroom), assisted by the Rev. E. L. Metcalf, Vicar of the Parish. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a gown of ivory charmeuse satin draped with old lace, which fell gracefully over the train. She carried a sheaf of Madonna lilies, and wore over the plain tulle veil a wreath of white heather and orange-blossom. The three bridesmaids were Miss Mary Tatham (sister of the bridegroom), Miss Dorothy Swaby, and Miss Clarice Harvey. They wore very pretty crÍpe de chine gowns of pale blue, mauve, and pink respectively, with contrasting shades in the Robespierre collars. The hats were trimmed with hydrangeas, and the bouquets combined all the colours of the gowns. The best man was Mr. Godfrey Pease. After a reception, held at the Russell Hotel, Russell Square, the happy couple left for the Austrian Tyrol. The bride went away in a coat and skirt of black and white whipcord and a white hat with a white Chantilly veil. [The Lady, Jul 1912]
    • Witnesses R B Roden & M T Tatham. [marriage cert]
    Meaburn Tatham & Eileen Roden
    Meaburn Tatham & Eileen Roden
    Wedding Notice Jul 1912
    Meaburn Tatham & Eileen Roden
    Meaburn Tatham & Eileen Roden
    Marriage register
    Photos
    Ardnacombe, Kings Norton
    Ardnacombe, Kings Norton
    Home of Meaburn Tatham & family, 1920-1950
    Meaburn Tathams, four generations (1st photo).
    Meaburn Tathams, four generations (1st photo).
    L to R: Meaburn Talbot (1858-1937), Meaburn Roden (1916- ), Charles Meaburn (1828-1924), Meaburn (1886-1976).
    Taken at Northcourt House, Thur 31 Aug 1916.
    Meaburn Tathams, four generations (2nd photo).
    Meaburn Tathams, four generations (2nd photo).
    Charles Meaburn (1828-1924), Meaburn Talbot (1858-1937), Meaburn (1886-1976), Meaburn Roden (1916-†).
    At Northcourt House, Thur 31 Aug 1916.
    Family ID F0003  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Meaburn Roden Tatham (1916- )
    Meaburn Roden Tatham (1916- )
    abt 1939
    Charles Meaburn Tatham & descendants
    Charles Meaburn Tatham & descendants
    abt 1921, possibly at Cary Castle
    Meaburn Roden Tatham
    Meaburn Roden Tatham
    1990s (2 of 2)
    Meaburn Roden Tatham
    Meaburn Roden Tatham
    1990s (1 of 2)
    For copyright or privacy reasons, access is restricted.
    For copyright or privacy reasons, access is restricted.

  • Sources 
    1. [S03] Family Members, RCC.

    2. [S03] Family Members, MRT.

    3. [S57] Silvia Tatham - Diaries.

    4. [S35] London Gazette, Issue 34950, supplement p.5640, 23 Sep 1940.
      To Black Watch: Meaburn Roden Tatham (148996)

    5. [S17] Telephone Directories.

    6. [S36] Marriage Certificate.

    7. [S02] BMD Index, marriage reg St Pancras, 3Q1912.

    8. [S05] The Times, marriage notice, 12 Jul 1912.