English, Department of



Date of this Version


Document Type



The George Eliot Review 22 (1991)


Published by The George Eliot Review Online https://GeorgeEliotReview.org


Edith Lenton, who has died at the age of 81, was a Vice President of the Fellowship, a former treasurer and a very active and loyal member for nearly thirty years. Born in Nuneaton, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Starkey, she had an early contact with George Eliot the novelist as she took part as a child in the centenary celebrations in 1919 of Nuneaton's famous daughter. These celebrations were organised by Nuneaton Borough Council and the principal participants were the schoolchildren of the town who gave their performances, consisting of dancing, singing, tableaux vivant and sketches, in the grounds of Arbury Hall.

Educated at Vicarage Street Church of England School and Nuneaton High School for Girls, Edith chose a teaching career. She attended St. Catherine's Teacher Training College in London (which later became All Saints) and specialised in English Literature. It gave her particular pleasure, later in life, to meet Dr. Graham Handley, another Vice President of the Fellowship, who was a lecturer at All Saints. She established a particular rapport with him and was an enthusiastic member of the Fellowship Study Group which he led in Nuneaton. On finishing her training her first teaching post was at Chilvers Coton Church of England School for Girls (George Eliot's 'Shepperton' in Scenes of Clerical Life) where doubtless she came under the influence of Miss Florence Towe, the headmistress, who was an avid admirer of George Eliot and very aware of all the local associations with her.