Emmanuel college, Leo Greenwood and Kareena 

Leonard Hugh Graham Greenwood (1880-1965) was a New Zealand-born classicist who was a Fellow of Emmanuel college, Cambridge, between 1909 and 1943.  He made periodic visits to family in New Zealand and continued to live at Emmanuel until his death at the age of 85. An obituary in the 1966 Emmanuel College Magazine begins:

In the late afternoon of Tuesday, 16 November came the news that Greenwood had collapsed on Midsummer Common, almost certainly returning from his garden by the College boathouse, and had died before an ambulance  could  reach Addenbrooke’s  Hospital.  There was no reason to anticipate his sudden death, but it seems likely that its immediate cause was a short spell of most unusual cold. Without notice, a walk of which he was very fond, but which had become increasingly wearisome, proved to be beyond his strength. On 22  November a funeral service was held in the College Chapel at which a Kyrie of his own composing was sung; and the Chapel was full at a memorial service on Saturday 12 February, attended by many of his friends from all over the country. By his own request, his ashes rest in his Father’s grave in the cemetery on the Newmarket Road. (13)

Among the 28 books Leo Greenwood bequeathed to the College library is a handcoloured and bound set of Emily Harris’s NZ Flowers, Berries and Ferns, the only work of New Zealand origin and the only one by a woman. On the flyleaf of the volume is Leo Greenwood’s signature and a date: ’14.8.34.’ We’ve come to Cambridge to examine the Greenwood Flowers, Berries and Ferns and to find out if we can, what Leo himself was doing in the English summer of 1934. Was he at home in Cambridge, on holiday at his beloved cottage in Cornwall or making one of those visits to New Zealand during the long vacation?

But first, Emily’s book, signed, bound and coloured. The covers are softer than Kew’s and the volume has led a harder life, perhaps on someone’s bookshelves rather than in the quiet precincts of an archive. The colouring is consistent with other sets we have seen, signatures appear below the palettes as they should and our favourite Clianthus Puniceus flower is mauve without a single spot of red.

And that tantalising provenance? College archivist Amanda Good confirmed for us that Leo Greenwood was in England in the summer of 1934, due to visit New Zealand the following year on study leave. Whether or not he was in Cornwall during August of 1934 is still an open question.

Researcher Anne McFadgen, who knows more about the Greenwood family of Nelson and Motueka and its English connections than anyone else on the face of the earth, supplied us with details of Leo’s extensive whānau in NZ and England and then went hunting for further links in Cornwall. Perhaps one of Leo Greenwood’s many aunts passed on her copy of Flowers, Berries and Ferns? Perhaps it came from the cousin who loaned Leo her cottage at Crantock in Cornwall, the village where in 1927 Leo bought his own cottage Kareena.

Kareena Cottage (Hannah Eustace and Crantock Parish Magazine)

The Emmanuel College obituary remembers with affection Leo Greenwood’s habit of inviting his students to summer at Kareena in the decades that followed. Less formally, Dr Carey Smith recounted details of the Crantock holidays for his son that were passed on to local historian Hannah Eustice for publication in the Crantock Parish Magazine (August 2015):

Memories of Kareena by “the Kestrel” (Dr Carey Smith) October 2004

The house was built I think in the early 1920’s and was purchased by “the Lion” in the late twenties. He was Lionel H. G Greenwood, a don in Classics at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He was a bachelor and spent the vacations at Kareena hosting a stream of under- and past-graduates, usually about six or so at a time; outside college this was his lifetime vocation (a sort of Mr Chipps). You may have noticed his portrait, smoking a pipe a very typical attitude, if it was still hanging on the wall of the sitting room. To avoid embarrassment (e.g. undergrads politely addressing him as “Sir”’) each person was named after on animal or bird, he of course was ‘the Lion”, his sister named Una was ‘the Unicorn’; I never met her as she had died before I came on the scene, so for me it was always an all-male party.

When I first went there about 1936 Kareena stood alone, no house in the field beyond, no garage or parking area (this section was just a part of the farmer’s field) – the east boundary wall ran straight through to beside the small gate. The Lion bought the area from the farmer a few years later. The water- supply was from a well under the floor of the little outhouse in which there still probably exists the large hand-pump; a daily chore was for each person to do so many pumps to fill a large flat tank which covered the roof of the bathroom-toilet extension (I don’t know when that was added). To save pumping it was the custom when one used the toilet to call out “anyone want this one on me?”, if no reply you flushed it, and latter had to do so many pumps. There was a small pump at the top of the stair-flight (may still be there) used to fill the hand-basin jug in each bedroom (I expect they are still there also). Some years later mains water was installed, a great step forward!

So it was a sort of club, we were all known as “the beasts”, and there were a number of customs and rituals, The first was on initiation ceremony at a spot in the sand dunes, the Lion sat on a certain raised tuft of marram, touched each shoulder of the initiate with a special stick and said “I name thee so-and-so etc”.

Before each meal a Latin Grace was sung round the piano from a grace-book composed by the Lion (you may have come across a copy, probably in a drawer of the tall cabinet next to the piano). Porridge every day for breakfast; the Lion would eat his direct from the saucepan, scraping out what was left there (a Cambridge don?!).

We are heading for Plymouth and Cornwall to check out Harris environs in the southwest of England. Perhaps we will get as far as Crantock and be able to salute Kareena, the cottage with a name that sounds also in Latin. Carina is a keel, also a  constellation that is part of Argo Navis (the Ship), a symbol of voyaging and companionship set in the southern skies of the ancient world.

Lead writer: Michele Leggott
Research support: Makyla Curtis, Betty Davis

One thought on “Emmanuel college, Leo Greenwood and Kareena 

  1. Dear Makyla, sincere thanks for this article as I’m writing my memoirs, including time at Kareena. My brother Graeme was at Emmanuel 1956-1960 spending 2 years sharing Lion’s suite of rooms in Emmanuel House. He of course had many holidays down at Kareena and when I arrived in 1959, I was invited to join them. I also visited Lion many times at Emmanuel and also kept up correspondence when back in NZ. When he died Prof E M Blaiklock published an excellent obituary in NZ Papers.

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