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The Life and Times of J. Neville Keynes

A Beacon in the Tempest

Phyllis Deane

This fascinating biography of an economist who was also a logician and administrator, is based mainly upon his virtually continuous diary. The diary provides an intimate commentary on the academic developments and conflicts in which he was closely involved as well as on his life as undergraduate, bachelor and family man.
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Chapter 6: Late-Victorial family life

Phyllis Deane


VI Late-Victorian family life 1 FAMILY EXTENSIONS The house which Neville built, and moved into with his bride in November 1882, was a substantial, semi-detached, three-storied brick residence over a basement (of which the front windows were partly above street level). At the back was a secluded garden where the family could relax on sunny summer afternoons. Visitors climbed ten stone steps to reach the main front door, situated between two bay windows. Tradesmen descended to a second front door beneath the steps. In this dwelling – big enough to accommodate a family with three young children, at least three live-in servants, and sometimes as many as three overnight guests – Neville and Florence lived contentedly for the rest of their lives. According to their younger son Geoffrey, writing in the 1970s: The house and small garden were without charm or character, but the place suited our unexacting standards, and my mother died there 76 years later at the age of 96. … The walls of the rather dark dining-room were clad in deep blue and crimson Morris paper of such quality that it never needed renewal during our tenancy.1 It was the unstinted welcome extended to friends, relatives, colleagues, students and assorted visitors to Cambridge that gave 6 Harvey Road its distinctive character. From 23 November 1882 – when Neville and Florence gave an informal supper party to thank more than 40 workmen who had built it – until the late 1930s and 1940s (when their grandchildren were as free to invite their friends...

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