CFHS code : AG42
Parish : St Andrew the Great
Inscription : IR ARTHUR PONSFORD BAKER 1873 – 1919
Monument : Coped stone
Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey
Lat Lon : 52.202622, 0.1316463
Arthur Ponsford Baker (6 September 1873 – 20 March 1919)
Arthur was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and was the son of Henry Coles Baker and his wife Amelia (née Gunningham). Henry was a colonial merchant and by at least 1878 the family had returned from South Africa to live at Grove House in Cheltenham, where Arthur attended Haldon House School. After Henry died in February 1882 Amelia moved with her six children to live in Westbury, Wiltshire. Arthur went up to Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1892, but a serious football accident in 1895 meant he was invalided for life and had to leave University.
He returned to Christ’s College in 1903 and was awarded a B.A in 1904 and an M.A. in 1907. He became a college lecturer specialising in Medieval Italian History and also worked as a ‘coach’ for University students. He was a prolific writer, writing for both the College Magazine and the Cambridge Review. Arthur wrote a ghost story published shortly before his death called ‘A College Mystery’ which was widely acclaimed. In the preface Arthur shared that the ‘story was first read aloud to friends in his rooms in February 1918’ and he thanked ‘the Provost of Eton (M.R. James) for reading through the manuscript of this little book and for kindly comment’.
(Montague Rhodes James (1862-1936) is often referred to as ‘the master of the English ghost story’ and was provost of King’s College (1905-1918), Eton College (1918-1936) and also served as Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University (1913-1915).)
Arthur died aged 45 years old and was buried at Mill Road Cemetery on 25 March. The first part of the service took place at Christ’s College and the funeral lesson was read by the President of Queens. Many of the University officials attended the funeral including the Vice-Chancellor (Dr Shipley) and the Master of Emmanuel (Dr. Giles). Arthur appears to have been involved in the Worker’s Educational Association, which had been founded in 1903 and members of the association attended the funeral and also sent a wreath.
Cambridge University Alumni Database
by Claire Martinsen
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