George and Walter Lucking
A year ago I published a post about George Lucking and the University of Reading War Memorial.
Mr Lucking had been a porter on the College’s Valpy Street premises from 1904, just before the move to London Road, and became Head Porter on the new campus in 1907. He remained in post until 1924.
His son Walter is recorded on the roll of honour beneath the clock tower and in the Book of Remembrance of members of the College who fell in the War of 1914-18.
I recently discovered another image of George Lucking in the form of the sketch below. It is undated, but he looks of a similar age to his portrait with the clock tower bell in my earlier post so it is likely that it was completed in the early to mid-1920s.
W. M. Childs
As Principal of University College Reading it was W. M. Childs who suggested a memorial to the members of the College who had fallen in the 1914-18 War.
It would, he proposed, consist of a tower with a clock and a great bell. And the tower, should ‘make its appeal simply through its visible strength, its austerity, and its proportions.’ (1933, p.255).
He records that,
‘More than 500 of our members, past and present, served in our fleets or armies and upon our war memorial are the names of 144 who lost their lives.’ (W. M. Childs, 1933, p. 218)
In his memoir, Childs focuses on the effect of the war on the college and on those who died, but it is left to his son, Hubert, to record the emotional effect the horrors of war had on him:
‘A fortnight’s lecturing to troops in forward areas in France, which he undertook under the Y.M.C.A. auspices early in 1918, served to increase his abhorrence of the terrible destruction, waste and squalor that the conflict was causing, and added to his eagerness for a return to normal life. ‘ (H. Childs, 1976, p. 120).
Childs, H. (1976). W. M. Childs: an account of his life and work. Published by the author.
Childs, W. M. (1933). Making a university: an account of the university movement at Reading. London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd.
University College, Reading. Calendars from 1904-5 to 1923-4.
University of Reading Special Collections. University History MS 5305 Photographs – Portraits Box 1.
University of Reading Special Collections. MS 5339 Book of Photographs of Members of University College, Reading who fell in the 1914-18 War.
The recent Armistice Day service in the Peace Garden at London Road reminded me of an image I had seen of George Lucking next to the bell of the clock tower. The photograph was probably taken in 1923, the year before the memorial’s dedication, when Mr Lucking was Head Porter at University College Reading.
What makes the image particularly moving is that Mr Lucking had lost his only son, Walter Thomas Lucking, during World War I. Walter’s name can be seen below on the roll of honour.
George Lucking had worked for many years as a porter at London Road. The photograph below shows him on an early College postcard.
University of Reading Special Collections, Photographic Archives.