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Buchanan Day


Essex County Chronicle (10 June, 1904 - p.5)

     To-day is the third anniversary of the death of Robert Buchanan, poet, novelist, dramatist, and humanitarian. Many of his admirers will take flowers to his graveside in St. John’s Churchyard, Prittlewell.



The Daily Telegraph (14 June, 1904 - p.5)


. . .

     Friday was the third anniversary of the death of Robert Buchanan, and his tomb in St. John’s churchyard was covered with beautiful floral tributes, sent from all parts of the country.



The Southend Standard (16 June, 1904 - p.8)



     Friday was the third anniversary of Robert Buchanan’s death, and in order to keep his memory green it was decided by those interested to place wreaths in his honour upon his grave in St. John’s Churchyard, Southend. Several emblems were received, and when arranged by Mrs. Reveirs Hopkins and friends, presented a very pretty effect.
     The tributes, which numbered nineteen, several being sent anonymously, were from:—
     The Mayor and Mayoress (Coun. and Mrs. J. Berry).
     Miss Harriett Jay, “In Memoriam.”
     Rev. T. Varney.
     W. J. and C. Tate, Leigh.
     A jar of pansies, with a card attached, with the following lines:—

Pansies? You praised the ones that were to-day,
There in the garden: had you seen the place
When Sutherland was living! Here they grew
From deep to deeper blue, in midst of each
A golden dazzle, like a glimmering star,
Each broader, bigger than a silver crown.—
                           Robert Buchanan’s “Hugh Sutherland’s Pansies.”

Upon the card were also the words, “There’s Rosemary, that’s for remembrance.’—Shakespeare—‘Hamlet.’”

     In remembrance of Robert Buchanan, from all at Southend College.
     In memory of a great writer, and very kind-hearted man.—Miss Clough.

     To the memory of the poet Buchanan:—
The saints on earth in concert join
     With those whose work is done,
For all the servants of our God,
     In heaven and earth are one.
                                         —Ellen Baker.

     From Miss Somerville Mitchell.
     A small token of a great admiration, Rev. Conrad Noel, London.
     G. A. W. Ward.
     Mr. and Mrs. Reveirs-Hopkins.
     Mr. H. J. Weston.
     Mr. and Mrs. Claude Jones.
     Mrs. and Miss Self.



The Daily Mirror (13 June, 1905 - p.5)


     Saturday, the 10th inst., being the fourth anniversary of the death of Robert Buchanan, quite a number of people yesterday visited the little churchyard at Southend, where the poet is laid to rest.
     The wreath sent by Mr. H. Beerbohm Tree was a particularly fine one, and its inscription, “In affectionate remembrance of Robert Buchanan,” was read with great interest by all.


The Wells Journal (15 June, 1905 - p.4)

BUCHANAN DAY.—The fourth anniversary of the death of Robert Buchanan, the poet, was kept on Saturday last, the 10th inst., when the Mayor and Mayoress of Southend-on-Sea attended in the churchyard of St. John, at the poet’s grave, to receive floral memorial tributes from Robert Buchanan’s friends and admirers. Amongst those who brought or sent flowers and bay and laurel wreaths were Mr. Beerbohm Tree, Miss Clough, Miss Harriet Jay, the poet’s sister-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Tate, of Leigh-on-Sea, and many others. The morning was wet, but the afternoon, when the reception by the Mayor and Mayoress took place, at three o’clock, was fine and breezy, and many had assembled at the poet’s grave, where he lies buried with his two Marys, his mother and his wife. Robert Buchanan some years ago occupied a beautiful old house, which at that time stood in fields surrounded by gardens, but the now fashionable resort of Westcliff-on-Sea, near Southend, has enclosed it on every side. The churchyard of St. John overlooks the broad estuary of the Thames.



The Southend Standard (15 June, 1905 - p.5)



     In a quiet corner of the churchyard adjoining the Church of St. John Baptist, repose the remains of Robert Buchanan, novelist and poet, who died in London on the 10th of June, 1901. Over the grave is a large bust of the deceased, and a slab on one side of it records the fact that Mary Buchanan, his wife, died at Southend-on-Sea on 7th November, 1881, at the early age of 36 years. The novelist was born at Caverswall, Lancs, on the 18th of August, 1841, and he outlived his wife 20 years. On the anniversary of his death, it has been the habit of many who respected him and value his works to place wreaths on his grave, and this custom was repeated on Saturday afternoon last at 3 o’clock. The atmospherical conditions were somewhat better than prevailed earlier in the week, and amongst those assembled at the grave were the Mayor and Mayoress of Southend (Councillor and Mrs. A. C. Loury), the Rev. Dr. Lindsay, the Rev. E. R. Monck Mason (Vicar of St. John the Baptist), Mr. Reveirs Hopkins, etc. The Mayoress received some lovely floral tributes to the memory of the deceased, and she suitably arranged them on the grave and around the bust of the novelist.
     The following wreaths were received:—
From the Mayor and Mayoress of Sothend-on-Sea 1905, in memory: Miss Harriett Jay, East Ham, Essex: In Memory of Robert Buchanan, from Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Tate, Cliff Parade, Leigh-on-Sea: Rev. Donald Hole, hon. secretary, Actors’ Church Union, Highgate, N.: Miss Somerville Mitchell, Ashburnham Road, Southend: Rev. T. Varney, Canning Town: His Majesty’s Theatre, in affectionate remembrance of Robert Buchanan, Herbert Beerbohm Tree: Mr. and Mrs. Reveirs Hopkins, Northcliff, York Rd., Southend: Miss Baker, Ashburnham Rd.— Read—

Love lays her own advantage by
     To seek her neighbour’s Good
So God’s own son came down to die,
     And bought our lives with blood.



The Southend Standard (7 June, 1906 - p.3)


     Sunday next, June 10th, will mark the fifth anniversary of the death of the poet, Robert Buchanan. Three years since a handsome memorial was erected to his memory in St. John’s Churchyard, where he lies in the same grave with his mother and wife. Buchanan lived for some years at Southend during the Seventies, and in his novels will be found a good deal of local colour.
     Buchanan was a man of many parts. He ran the whole gamut of literature—poetry, drama, fiction, journalism—and left behind him much that will endure. Two at least of his novels, “God and the Man” and “The Shadow of the Sword,” will rank as classics, and it is no exaggeration to say that such poems as “The Vision of the Man Accurst” and “The Ballad of Judas Iscariot,” are as fine as anything of their kind in the English language. A man of the widest sympathies, he felt the great pulse of human nature with a truer touch than most of his contemporaries, finding the poetic element beneath the most unpromising exteriors. His proud boast was

“Never to bow and kneel
     To any brazen Lie,
To love the worst, to feel
     The least is ev’n as I.”

A man of many contradictions, he was a fierce fighter, a staunch friend, and a generous enemy. Joyous by nature and optimistic to a fault, his writings would almost prove him a pessimist, a pantheist, and at the same time a true Christian.

“The Creeds I’ve cast away
     Like husks of garner’d grain,
And of them all this day
     Does never a creed remain;
Save this, blind faith that God
     Evolves thro’ martyr’d man;
Thus the long journey trod,
     I end as I began!”

It has become customary for admirers of Buchanan’s genius to place floral tributes on his grave each succeeding 10th of June, and probably, as last year, there will be many pilgrims to our Poet’s Corner.
     We understand that, as in years gone by, the Mayor and Mayoress of Southend will lead the way in this matter, and, doubtless, many burgesses will follow their example.



The Daily Mirror (11 June, 1906 - p.6)

     In celebration of the fifth anniversary of the death of Robert Buchanan, whose body lies at Southend, the Mayor and Mayoress and Miss Harriett Jay were present yesterday afternoon at the grave to receive the many floral tributes sent by the admirers of the dead poet.



The Southend Standard (14 June, 1906 - p.7)


     Sunday last was the fifth anniversary of the death of the poet, writer, and novelist, Robert Buchanan, whose remains rest in a quiet corner of St. John the Baptist Churchyard, Southend, where also stands a handsome memorial to his memory. On each anniversary the poet’s relatives and friends have placed beautiful wreaths on the grave, and this custom was again observed on Sunday, when wreaths were sent as follows:—
     In fond remembrance, Miss Harriett Jay, 13, Edith Road, East Ham.
     In remembrance of Robert Buchanan, from Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Tate, Cliff Parade, Leigh-on-Sea.
     From the Mayor and Mayoress of Southend, 15, Royal Terrace.
     From Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Reviers-Hopkins, Northcliff, York Road, Southend.

There’s peace and rest in Paradise,
     In weary hours we say;
And Oh that we had wings like doves,
     That we might flee away.
                           E. Baker, Ashburnham Road.

     Rev. T. Varney, S. Cadd’s, Beckston Road, Canning Town.
     From Mr. P. Morley Horder and Miss Fabronius.
     From Miss S. Mitchell, Limpenhoe, 3, Ashburnham Road.
     In memory of a true poet and thinker, Rev. Conrad Noel, with all good wishes for success of Buchanan’s Day, 1906, Paycock’s House, Coggeshall.
     From E. N. Powell, St. Stephen’s Vicarage, Upton Park.
     In remembrance of a noble heart who nobly sang, Mr. Sidney Trist, 43, Regent Street, London.


     Sir.—Your beautiful tribute to the memory of Southend’s great dead we were pleased to see. Especially were we pleased to note the call to admirers of the deceased writer to make a pilgrimage to his grave and deposit thereon some flowers. Gladly obedient to your call, our principal on Sunday morning proceeded to the spot, carrying his modest floral tribute. In the churchyard he came across a gentleman, who accosted him with, “Can you tell me where I shall find the grave of ——” “Certainly!” interrupted our enthusiastic principal. “I’m Going to Robert Buchanan’s grave myself. It’s just at the top of ——” “Oh!” ejaculated the enquirer hurriedly, “I don’t mean that. I mean the grave of the murderess who killed ——!” Such is fame! And, although the time was then half-past eleven, our principal had been preceded by one admirer of the poet. “A prophet is not without honour, save,” etc. Disgusted with Southend’s lack of interest in the only great man whose remains are in her charge, our principal (he once, in the Press, severely attacked Buchanan’s economics; but even then it was “more in sorrow than in anger”) proceeded to our business premises, and placed, in the window, the large announcement we enclose. It reads:—“June 10th.—Buchanan Day.—Anniversary of the passing over of Robert Buchanan, Poet, Dramatist, Novelist, etc. Visit his grave and memorial in Churchyard at back Palace Hotel (facing Pier). Take some flowers.” Not many, however, can have adopted our principal’s suggestion, for on visiting the memorial on Monday evening our principal (the absurdly early hour at which the gate is locked compelled him to risk impalement by climbing the railings) found the tributes on the grave to number only fourteen. We write in the hope that, next year, many tradesmen in the town and vicinity may see their way to exhibit some such window bill as the one we have described.
                                                                                                                           A WESTCLIFF FIRM.



The Southend Standard and Essex Weekly Advertiser (6 June, 1907 - p.8)


     Monday, June 10th, will be the seventh anniversary of the death of one of the mightiest writers of the Victorian Era—Robert William Buchanan, poet, novelist, journalist and dramatist. Nothing came amiss to his fertile brain. Away back in the “eighties” he spent some years in Southend, and therein wrote many of his poems. In Southend he buried his young and beautiful wife, and twenty years afterwards he was laid in the same grave. “After life’s fitful fever they sleep well.”
     Mr. Varney, who committed the poet’s ashes to the earth, conceived the idea of a public memorial, and in course of time a portrait model in bronze was erected over the grave in St. John’s Churchyard. Every year on the 10th of June there has been a more or less informal wreath-laying on the poet’s grave—wreaths, chaplets, bunches of flowers, great and small, even sprigs of heather from the Highlands, have found their way to the hallowed spot. This year will be no exception to the rule.
     Amongst the latest additions to Southend’s Public Library are the poems and novels of Robert Buchanan and the “life” by his sister-in-law, Miss Harriett Jay, who, bye-the-bye, is identical with “Charles Marlowe,” whose play “When Knights were Bold” is having such a long and successful run at Wyndham’s Theatre. If Mr. James Welch brought the play to Southend he should be sure of a welcome.
     Miss Jay, under the pen name of Charles Marlowe, is the authoress of many well known novels, and we hear rumours of other plays to follow “When Knights were Bold.”



The Southend Standard and Essex Weekly Advertiser (13 June, 1907 - p.6)


     The anniversary of the death of the poet, novelist and dramatist, Robert Buchanan, saw a number of his admirers visit the handsome tomb in St. John’s Churchyard, Southend on Monday. Several floral tributes were placed on the grave from near and far, amongst them being a wreath of laurels inscribed: “In remembrance of Robert Buchanan, from Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Tate, Queen’s Road, Leigh-on-Sea”; “In fond remembrance, Miss Harriett Jay, 13, Edith Road, Upton Park”; “In Memoriam, Eliza Dear”; Miss Fabronius, Irvine House, 228, Lasbrooke Grove, London, W.

“Light on the brow of the Hill of Time,
     What Light are Thou
     Whither all men now
         Turn eyes and climb?
     We crave thee,
         We cry for thee,
     Thou shinest above—
         Yes, we dare die for thee
     Light that we love.”

from poem, Robert Buchanan—in memory of Robert Buchanan, from Rev. T. Varney, St. Cedd’s, Beckton Road, Canning Town, E.” During the afternoon and evening hours some further wreaths were received and placed on the grave, including: Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Reveirs-Hopkins, Northcliff, York Road, Southend; Charles Offen, Strood, “an admirer of Buchanan’s genius”; “A Welshman’s tribute to Robert Buchanan, Griffith E. Evans, Brynhafod, 16, Gaynesford Road, Forest Hill”; from Dr. F. Gourlay, Elgin, N.B.; and

“What cheering words are these,
     Their sweetness who can tell?
In all time and to eternal day,
     ’Tis with the righteous well.
                         E. B., London Road, Southend.”



The Southend Standard and Essex Weekly Advertiser (4 July, 1907 - p.6)


     Those of our readers who have had the pleasure of relationship with Mr. and Mrs. Reveirs-Hopkins, of York Road, Southend, in the many social and other functions they have engaged in while resident in our midst, will share in the general regret that their services are now lost to the town. This week Mr. and Mrs. Reveirs-Hopkins have severed their connection with Southend, and in future will reside in the garden suburb estate at Upminster. Their departure closes a very interesting and remarkable chapter as far as the artistic and social element of the Borough is concerned. Mrs. Reveirs-Hopkins is a talented actress and for years was the mainstay of the Southend Dramatic Society, and frequently played the leading parts in the Society’s productions, whilst Mr. Reveirs-Hopkins has also shared in the triumphs.
     Their connection with the old and original Southend Dramatic Society started about the year 1895, having thrown in their lot with it soon after it started. In this year there were a couple of productions, and in “Boots at the Swan,” Mrs. Reveirs-Hopkins took the leading part of Miss Moonshine. This was the first essay in the dramatic production at Southend, and at this time Mr. Burford Delannoy was the stage manager to the Society. After a lapse of time he resigned that position, and Mr. Reveirs-Hopkins became stage manager, and, under his direction, the “Serious Family,” “Lady Audley’s Secret,” “East Lynne,” “She Stoops To Conquer,” and several other pieces were produced.
     The old Society continued for some three years or so, and then, in 1901, a new movement sprang up, and the Southend Dramatic Society was formed; taking up the name of the old Society, though really it had nothing to do with it. Mr. and Mrs. Reveirs-Hopkins were the only two members in it. Dr. Bluck became Chairman of the new Society , and they engaged the services of a professional stage manager, launching out into bigger works. They started in the Autumn of 1901 with the “Hobby Horse”; Mrs. Reveirs-Hopkins playing the part of Mrs. Spencer Jermyn, the principal character of the caste; whilst Mr. Reveirs-Hopkins gave us “Shuttock,” the broken-down jockey. Next year saw “Sweet Nancy,” Robert Buchanan’s play, produced, in aid of the memorial fund that had recently been inaugurated through the instrumentality of the Rev. T. Varney. In this piece Mrs. Reveirs-Hopkins again took the leading lady and played the name part, whilst her husband appeared as Mr. Gray. At the same time, the Society produced for the first time, on any stage whatever, the small one-act play “Night Watch,” by Robert Buchanan, being the realisation of an episode in the Franco-Prussian war. In this piece both Mr. and Mrs. Reveirs-Hopkins were engaged, and its success was largely due to their efforts. ...
     The Buchanan Memorial Day owes much of its popularity to the energetic work of Mr. and Mrs. Reveirs-Hopkins. The fund to provide a fitting memorial to the poet, novelist, and dramatist, was started soon after his death, on June 10th, 1901; Mr. Varney being the local secretary. On his departure from the town, Mr. Reveirs-Hopkins was asked to take up the secretarial duties, and he consented, officiating till the completion of the monument, and subsequently becoming secretary to the Buchanan Day Celebration. The memorial in St. John’s Churchyard, Southend, was unveiled on July 25th, 1903, by Mr. T. P. O’Connor, and the whole of the arrangements for the ceremony were admirably made by Mr. Reveirs-Hopkins, and subsequently to the unveiling, Mrs. Reveirs-Hopkins provided tea for the guests, whilst the then Mayor (Ald. Martin) entertained Mr. O’Connor with a drive round the town. It is interesting to record that the performance of “Sweet Nancy” brought in £22 to the memorial funds. After the unveiling ceremony, Mr. T. P. O’Connor gave a lecture on Buchanan’s life and works in St. John’s Church Hall.



The Southend Standard and Essex Weekly Advertiser (11 June, 1908 - p.5)

     THE BUCHANAN ANNIVERSARY.—The anniversary of the death of Robert Buchanan, poet and novelist, who was buried in St. John’s Churchyard, Southend, was celebrated on Wednesday, when a number of floral tributes were placed upon the grave. These were, for the most part, pot plants, but Miss Harriet Jay had sent a victor’s collar “In loving memory.” The other tributes were: A token of sympathy and respect.—Mabel Fabroniere; In affectionate remembrance.—Eliza Dear; and “O glorious happy place, There we shall see his face, Distress and death be o’er; Sin and the Curse no more. And Joys attain which shall not end. But all out highest thoughts transcend.—C.R.”



The Essex County Chronicle (11 June, 1909 - p.5)

     BUCHANAN DAY.—Yesterday was observed as Buchanan-day, in memory of the poet, Robert Buchanan, who was buried in St. John’s Churchyard. A victor’s palm, wreaths, and flowers were placed at the foot of the obelisk.



The Essex County Chronicle (10 June, 1910 - p.8)


The Referee (26 June, 1910 - p.13)

(From the ‘Mustard and Cress’ column by ‘Dagonet’ (George R. Sims):

     I was at Southend just after Buchanan Day had been celebrated in the sunny churchyard where the poet sleeps his dreamless sleep. When I visited the grave I found it covered with beautiful wreaths freshly laid there by friends and admirers who cherished the poet’s memory.

Robert Buchanan

lived for some time at Southend at Hamlet Court, which was at one time the residence of Edwin Arnold, who gave us “The Light of Asia.” In the years gone by I spent more than one pleasant week-end with Robert Buchanan at Southend. We wrote a portion of “The English Rose” there, and it was he who first showed me the beauties of the Essex country.

     Last week, when I was at the Palace Hotel, I had planned two excursions—one across the sunny stretch of water and by the estuary of the Medway to Dickens land, and the other to Canvey Island, of which Buchanan was never tired of talking. But the Fates willed it otherwise, and I had to return to town. But I am going to make another motor trip to the Essex shore directly, and this time I mean to get to Canvey Island.



The Southend Standard and Essex Weekly Advertiser (12 June, 1913 - p.6)

     BUCHANAN DAY.—Tuesday was the 12th anniversary of the death of Robert Buchanan, poet, dramatist, and novelist, and his tomb in St. John’s Churchyard was, as usual, decorated. Flowers were sent by the Rev. T. Varney, the Rev. J. Varney, Miss Harriet Jay, Miss Fabronius, and Mrs. C. Herbert Ffitch.



Essex County Chronicle (13 June, 1913 - p.6)

     THE TWELFTH ANNIVERSARY of the death of Robert Buchanan, poet, dramatist, and novelist, who lived at Southend for many years, was celebrated on Tuesday by his tomb in St. John’s Churchyard being decorated with flowers.



The Grave in August, 2003


I visited the grave at the end of August 2003. I bought a postcard of the church, took some photos and later added a description of the grave to the site:


“The church of St. John the Baptist lies just behind the ‘seafront’ of Southend-on-Sea, across the road from the car park of a new shopping centre. As can be seen from the postcard above, the churchyard is well-tended but many of the older graves have collapsed over the years. The grave of Robert Buchanan is easy to spot due to its stone background and lies on the northern edge of the churchyard. 

There is a collapsed grave just in front of the Buchanan monument which spoils the effect somewhat and Buchanan’s grave itself is overgrown (with a blackberry bush) and in need of repair. The top of the marble plinth is coming away from the base and the memorial stones to his wife and Harriett Jay (on the left-hand side) are obscured by a hedge. The base of the grave, surrounded by rusty iron railings, is also in a pretty rough state.”


I then indulged in a little speculation regarding whether this was the original monument or a replacement. Back in 2003 I regarded the Jay biography as gospel, and so I expected the monument to look the same as the drawing and also expected to find the quotation from The City of Dream. Given the condition of the grave I was not surprised to find the bust of Buchanan missing, and I remember asking the vicar if he knew what had happened to it, but he didn’t. The addition of the memorial stone to Harriett Jay, which would have occurred after her death in 1932, and the fact that its condition matched those commemorating Buchanan’s wife and mother (i.e. they did not seem to show an extra 30 years of wear), made me wonder whether the whole grave had been renovated in the 1930s. Harriett Jay did make provision in her will for £200 to be left in trust for the upkeep of the grave. Also there was no sign of the quotation from The City of Dream. The Jay biography was published before the memorial was erected, so it’s possible that the quotation was just a possibility and was not inscribed on the final monument. The only other mention of an inscription occurs in the report in The Stage, which says it is on the base of the monument. In 2003, I had enough problems clearing the bushes away so that I could take photos of the inscriptions - I had neglected to bring my JCB along to excavate the base. However, following the 2011 renovation, I received this photo of the base, which does appear to be part of the original monument.


“After Life’s Fitful Fever They Sleep Well” - not from The City of Dream but an adaptation of a line from Macbeth (Act III, Scene ii): “After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well.”



The Return of Buchanan’s Head - March 15th, 2011


In 2009 the Southend Borough Council embarked on a scheme to renovate St. John’s churchyard. The renovation was designed by Fraser Borwick, and as well as tidying up the graves, removing railings, creating new access points and footpaths, planting trees etc., it was decided to replace the lost bust of Buchanan on his grave. Local sculptor, Lisa Hawker, was commissioned to create the new bust and on Tuesday, 15th March, 2011, the unveiling ceremony took place.


[Lisa Hawker (sculptor), Cllr. Ann Holland (Mayor of Southend) and the Ven. David Lowman (Archdeacon of Southend).]


[The stone for Buchanan’s mother with its incorrect date of death.]

As part of the churchyard renovation project several information plaques have been installed, including one for  Buchanan. To read the Buchanan plaque, click on it in the picture below - it’s in the bottom right-hand corner.


Prior to the unveiling ceremony there was a church service conducted by Canon Stephen Burdett and the Ven. David Lowman, Archdeacon of Southend. During the service, verses (1, 2, 3 and the last) from Buchanan’s poem, ‘Victory’ were read by Mike Lambert, the former chief executive of Renaissance Southend. ‘Victory’ was published in Buchanan’s final book of poems, The New Rome, in 1898 and the complete poem is available on this site:


The Service of Celebration for the Renovation of St. John’s Churchyard
Tuesday, 15th March, 2011


The New Bust of Buchanan


The new bronze bust of Robert Buchanan was sculpted by Lisa Hawker. Further information about Lisa’s other work can be found on her website. On Friday, 11th March the Southend Echo ran a story about the new bust of Buchanan, which gives some of Lisa’s insights on the process. Click the picture below for a readable version or access it online.


While Lisa was working on the sculpture, she asked me if I could suggest any inscription that she could add to the base. I suggested a few things: a verse from Buchanan’s final published poem, ‘I End As I Began’, the refrain from Balder the Beautiful, “All that is beautiful shall abide, All that is base shall die” (which I don’t particularly like, but seemed like the sort of thing you’d put on a gravestone), and I also pushed her in the direction of The City of Dream (because Harriett Jay had said it was on the original monument) in case she could find something appropriate there. Almost as an afterthought, I suggested a phrase from one of Buchanan’s letters to Robert Browning: ”Truth first; afterwards, if possible, Beauty.” Which is what she finally chose to incise on the left-hand side of the base. Although I say so myself, it’s a good choice - summing up Buchanan’s poetry, in particular, but also hinting at one of the reasons why his fame dwindled so quickly. The full text of the letter can be read here.


Since I reckoned this was the only occasion when the name of Robert Buchanan could be linked with a news item, I thought I should try to get him a mention in the papers. I submitted a piece to the ‘My Cultural Life’ section of The Observer and I also sent an article to the local paper in Stoke, The Sentinel. Surprisingly, the former was printed in The Observer on April 3rd - click the picture below for the big version:


The Sentinel was a little more complicated. Although they couldn’t use my original article, they did want to do an interview with me. Unfortunately, they also rejected all the photos I sent them of Buchanan and the new bust in Southend and insisted on sending their own photographer round. So, on Saturday, 9th April, 2011, Robert Buchanan got another mention in The Sentinel and I had my fifteen minutes of fame:


The Sentinel interview is also available online and I’ve added another page of photos, both from 2003 and 2011, which can be accessed below:

More Photos

Further information about the churchyard of St. John’s is available on the church’s website. For anyone wishing to visit the final resting place of Robert Buchanan, St. John’s is situated next to the Royals Shopping Centre, which has reasonably priced parking (and a Poundland).


I would like to thank Tim Pyner (Cliff Gardens Manager, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council) for inviting me to the unveiling ceremony, Lisa Hawker for keeping me posted about her progress with Mr. Buchanan, and Tony for some extra photographs.



And finally ...

I thought I should add a note about the original inscription on the monument and why it was not used in the renovation. These pages are added to, as I come across information, so, at some point I will probably add something which gives the original inscription in full. But it wasn’t until April, 2014, that I came across this on the British Library Newspaper Archive site. It’s from the Edinburgh Evening News of Monday, 18th June, 1906.


And, an addendum to the above - just in case you’re wondering why I’ve not noticed the quotation appears in the account of the unveiling of the monument in The Southend Standard of 30th July, 1903 on the previous page - that did not appear on the BLNA siter until much later and I did not find it until May, 2023. I could have just deleted the above, but I think it’s useful as an indication of the way this site is constructed, one piece at a time of the Buchanan jigsaw.



[The Last Months of Robert Buchanan]    [Obituaries 1]    [Obituaries 2]    [Obituaries 3]

[Obituaries 4: Buchanan and Besant]    [Obituaries 5: Buchanan and Besant 2]

[The Funeral of Robert Buchanan]    [The Grave of Robert Buchanan]

[Back to Biography]








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Buchanan and the Law


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