Averil's Blog

Research, musings and finding inspiration.

The knowledge of Ted Milligan

It is always a pleasure speaking with Quaker historian Ted Milligan, and visiting him at his home in Reading on 8 February 2018 proved no exception. He will be 96 on 26 March, and although he was a little thinner he still had that glint in his eye and his wonderful sense of humour. Like any good engine when warmed up, his memory took off and we were charmed by his legendary knowledge spiced with informative and fun anecdotes.

I was visiting him with Orphans Press director, Helen Bowden, and writer Maggie Pope, who is working on a biography of Henry Stanley Newman, a Quaker philanthropist and founder of Orphans. We spent a few hours chatting, with Ted’s hearing enhanced by an ingenious bespoke hearing aid made from a bicycle horn attached to a long tube!

Ted and his late sister, Mary, compiled The Biographical Dictionary of British Quakers in Commerce and Industry 1775-1920. It is a mighty tome with entries for 2,800 people. It includes an entry for Orphans Press and Henry Stanley Newman. I brought my much-thumbed copy to Reading and Ted kindly signed it for me – a treasure to keep.