Blanche Maynard – Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox

Blanche Maynard was born on St. Valentine’s Day in 1864. Her fifty-year-old father was Charles Henry Maynard, the only son of the 3rd Viscount Maynard. His first wife had died childless in 1858; in 1860, he married Blanche Adeliza Fitzroy, then aged 21. Little Blanche was his second daughter, Frances Evelyn, usually called Daisy, having been born in 1861. On the 2nd January 1865, with baby Blanche only ten months old, Charles Maynard suffered a stroke and died. The old Viscount immediately took the young family into his own home. The children, particularly little Daisy, clearly endeared themselves to the old man, for when he too died only four months later, it was discovered he had bequeathed Daisy as his only son’s eldest daughter, the greater part of his estate.

Three-year-old Daisy Maynard from then on received an annual income of about £40,000 (worth about £4 million today), held in trust until she was 21. Nearly two years after becoming a young widow, Blanche Adeliza married the 4th Earl of Rosslyn, the head of young Daisy’s trustees. Lord Rosslyn was affectionate and kindly ‘Papsy’ to Daisy, Blanche and five later half-siblings, all living happily at the Maynard country house. Blanche Maynard was intelligent, a talented painter, needlewoman and designer of gardens, greatly admired for her beauty, on terms of close friendship with the Princess of Wales and other members of the royal family.

 

 

In 1886, aged 21, she married Colonel Lord Algernon Gordon-Lennox, second son of the 6th Duke of Richmond. Nearly 20 years older than his wife, Lord Algernon was a charming, amiable, devoted husband. Their daughter Ivy, born in 1887, was to marry the future 7th Duke of Portland at Welbeck. In the autumn of 1914, the familiar patterns of late Victorian and Edwardian life were overthrown. At the outbreak of the Great War, the British population moved quickly onto a war footing, and women as non-combatants played new roles in the war effort.

Lady Algernon set to work. She obtained War Office approval to establish No.13 Stationary Hospital in a requisitioned sugar-beet storage shed on a Boulogne quayside. Within weeks, such facilities were daily receiving thousands of wounded men from the battlefields of the Western front. If it had not been for the public-spirited urgency with which women such as Lady Algernon approached the coming catastrophe, the British Expeditionary Force of 1914 might have been utterly overwhelmed. In 1919, she was invested as Dame Commander, Order of the British Empire for demanding war work in France.

 


Derek Adlam - Curator Emeritus 

Derek Adlam and a colleague were the first craftspeople to take up a Harley Foundation studio at Welbeck in 1982. Trained as a classical pianist, Derek had turned to the restoration, making and playing clavichords, harpsichords and other early keyboard instruments. Over time, he became involved with the administration of the Foundation, the building of the Harley Gallery and new craft studios. Having mounted a number of Gallery displays of the Portland family’s works of art, he was invited to be the curator of that great collection. Now long retired, he continues his research into Welbeck’s rich history.

 

Learn more about the influential Women of Welbeck.

Elizabeth Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury

Lady Catherine Cavendish, Baroness Ogle

Frances Cavendish, Countess of Bolingbroke

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

Henrietta, Duchess of Portland

Winifred, Duchess of Portland

Blanche Maynard – Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox

Lady Ottoline Morrell

Ivy, Duchess of Portland