I haven't written here for a while, but I really must put something now because I wanted to write a small appreciation of Edward Wakeling, who was undoubtedly THE world expert on Lewis Carroll. He was such a towering figure that it is almost impossible to believe he has passed away. As well as maintaining a gigantic database, writing tirelessly and looking after a wonderful collection of Carrollania, he was such a nice person - and that is the aspect that I'd mainly like to write about here.

First though, I must mention some of his most useful and remarkable books and pamphlets, which covered most aspects of Carroll's life. His magnum opus was the complete edited edition of the surviving Diaries of Lewis Carroll, meticulously researched and invaluable to any scholar of Carroll and his life. He was also an expert on Lewis Carroll's photography, and compiled the Catalogue Raisonne of Carroll's photographs (here). One of his lesser known but very entertaining books was a look at Lewis Carroll's games and puzzles.

The last of his books which I read was, I believe, the last he ever wrote. It is called THE LIFE OF EDWIN DODGSON, and it was written in conjunction with Caroline Luke, great-granddaughter of Skeffington Dodgson. Based on previously-unpublished material, It tells the life story of the youngest of the Dodgson sons, Edwin, who lived an hard and extraordinary life in various far flung corners of the globe, notably the remote island of Tristan da Cunha. The LCSNA ran a seminar about this book in 2021, which is online at time of writing, here.

On a personal level, whenever I was researching books, media appearances, lectures and newspaper pieces about Carroll, Edward was ready to help if needed. Several times he opened his home to me, let me stay and gave me access to his collections and archives for days at a time. I loved the calm, unchanging atmosphere in his house, particularly his living room with the painted harpsichord, the grand piano and, usually, classical music playing on the radio. I chose the picture above to illustrate him because that informal lunchtime in the garden just sums up what it felt like to be with him in his well tended and utterly fascinating cottage. But I could also mention meals at the pub in Hay, or tea and cake in his conservatory of an afternoon, perhaps with Smokey the cat in attendance. All would have conveyed the orderly, friendly scene that always awaited visitors at his home.

He was welcoming to his friends' families too. We last dropped in to see him in May 2022, when we were on holiday about 30 miles away. He was already feeling great physical limitations, and had suffered many unpleasant medical incidents, but despite this he was his usual self. So we remember that last visit with great affection and happiness, and when we left, we did hope we would see him again.

Sadly, it was not to be. When Christmas comes this year I will really miss receiving his latest instalment of ADVENTURES IN BOOK COLLECTING; his serialised account of hunting down some of his favourite books. Last Christmas he said he still had three more booklets to go, which he hoped to live long enough to send out. We are far from being the only ones who will sincerely mourn the fact that he will not be able to do this. But we know that his memory will be celebrated for as long as people study the life of Charles Dodgson. R.I.P, Edward.