From [the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in Manchester - the letter is headed Pole Bank Hall, Gee Cross, Hyde, Cheshire]. F. M. did not arrive until 11:55 yesterday. H B R's twenty minute address to the Conference had therefore to be reduced to ten, and that to a greatly reduced gathering. Many people were very kind, but it all seems a bit of a tragedy.
Gordon and Eileen turned up at 1pm. They went to Parker's for tiffin and then to her lodgings, where Gordon also appeared to be staying. Reginald Close was there as well - he has found a job in Hemel Hempstead. They went to the Conference Garden Party where Gordon found lots of his former schoolfriends from Kingswood. While walking along, they passed three old ladies who they saluted and then passed on. A moment later, they were caught up with by [William Russell] Maltby who enquired if Gordon and Eileen were Rattenbury's children. It was very good of him to enquire.
H B R likes Gordon's friends. He had not realised that Reginald [Close] is engaged to be married to Eleanor Danock[?], whose parents have by the way returned to Hankow for a year. Eileen seems a very nice simple girl - her father is an architect in Plymouth.
They also bumped into the [George Frederick] Byrom party, 'who duly sized us all up I have no doubt'.
H B R went to Hyde this morning and had a good time. One or two as usual, thought that he was [his brother] Ernest - they have never heard that there is another Rattenbury. Tonight he goes to Whalley Range.
A lot of people are coming to tea tonight.
[Walter James] Noble is ill and unable to attend the Conference. [Edgar Wesley] Thompson was at his weakest yesterday - probably full of his Fearnley Lecture. The missionary business lacked leadership.
He has noticed that all the Fund treasurers 'are driving with a slack rein'. The financial situation does seem to be unusually bad.
There has been many enquiries after Emily - [William Theodore Aquila] Barber and Grace Crump have mentioned Emily's new office [Sunday 1932].
- William Russell Maltby (1866-1951) was born at Selby in Yorkshire, the son of the Wesleyan minister William Maltby. He was educated at Woodhouse Grove and Kingswood and qualified as a solicitor in 1892. He trained for the Wesleyan ministry at Headingley and commenced circuit work in 1896. Maltby was appointed Warden of the Wesley Deaconess Order in 1920, a position he held until retirement in 1940. Maltby was also very involved in the Student Christian Movement and led several University Missions. He served as President of Conference in 1926. Maltby was a strong advocate of Methodist union and the admission of women to the ordained ministry. Source: Minutes of Conference 1951.
- William Theodore Aquila Barber (1858-1945) was born in Ceylon, the son of the Wesleyan missionary William Barber. He was educated at Kingswood School where he rose to the position of Head Boy. Barber won a scholarship to Caius College Cambridge where he became a Wrangler. After graduation, he taught for a while at Dunheved School, Launceston and was recommended for the Wesleyan ministry by Mark Guy Pearse, who was then Superintendent of the Circuit. After two years as Assistant Tutor at Richmond College, he was sent in 1884 to Wuchang in China to found a college for higher education. He returned to England in 1893 and served for two years in the Circuit ministry before being appointed missionary secretary. In 1896 he became headmaster of the Leys School in Cambridge and remained there until 1920 when he was appointed to the Principalship of Richmond College. He retired to Cambridge in 1929. Barber served as President of the Wesleyan Conference in 1920. Source: Minutes of Conference 1946.
- Walter James Noble (1879-1962) was born at Darlington. He candidated for the Wesleyan ministry at the age of nineteen and sailed as a missionary to Ceylon in 1900. Noble served overseas for twenty-two years and then spent twenty-five years as a General Secretary of the Missionary Society. Noble was President of Conference in 1942. Source: Minutes of Conference 1962.
- Grace Crump was born at Padiham in Lancashire. She was educated at Skipton Grammar School and Trinity Hall School in Southport. Crump entered the Wesley Deaconess Order and held appointments at the Albert Hall Mission in Nottingham, Eastbrook Mission in Bradford and as Superintendent Deaconess of the work in New Zealand. She also served as Secretary of the Home Department of the Order and in the Women's Department of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society. Source: Who's Who in Methodism 1933.