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HA 3







Subject Matter:





With deep regret we record the death of Mr. John Norris Marsden, an active Member of the Council of the Lisbon Branch of the Historical Association who was not only keenly interested in its work but also ever ready to assist fellow members with the fruit of his own wide experience and deep research. Born in Manchester in the year 1857, he was educated at Owens College in that city, completing his studies at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, thereafter reading for the law. He qualified as a solicitor and, when received, was notable as being the youngest solicitor in England.


In the year 1885 he made his first contact with Portugal, accepting the appointment of legal adviser to a British firm, on whose behalf he made a prolonged tour of Portuguese West Africa. Returning to Lisbon, Mr. Marsden settled here and worked faithfully for the same firm during close on 40 years. He was made a partner in 1910 and retired in 1923, being then invited by «The Times» to serve as its Portuguese Correspondent.


In that capacity he accomplished some very good work, not only for his paper but also as an unofficial go-between whose advice was always sound and based on mature knowledge of the questions involved. Mr. Marsden's opinion was sought and valued alike by British and Portuguese official circles and until he gave up the post, on his eightieth birthday, his efficiency and judgment were both unquestionable.


As an acknowledgment of the valuable nature of his newspaper work he was awarded the Ordem de Cristo and both the French and Belgian governments recognized his work for the Red Cross by suitable decorations.


The foregoing remarks, extracted from the highly appreciative notice published by «The Times», cover what one may term our late Member's official career. All who knew him personally will readily agree with another sincere expression of regret which begins «apart from being by «universal consent a great philatelist and the leading world authority in his chosen field - the «stamps of Portugal and her Colonies - he was that even rarer thing, a great gentleman and a «most lovable personality, known and loved for his own great qualities as well as respected for his «wide knowledge of the stamps to which he had devoted the study of a lifetime ...... he was always «willing to give his friends and fellow collectors the benefit of his great experience, though his «opinions were always expressed with such modesty and diffidence that those who did not know «him might have been forgiven for thinking that he was doubtful if he was right».


That tribute is taken from Gibbons Stamp Monthly. It covers a far wider field than that of philately, for the last paragraph succinctly covers the late Mr. Marsden's attitude towards life as a whole and towards the objects of the Historical Association in particular. His death took place in London after a brief final illness, on the 29th August, and the sympathy of members will unquestionably go out to Mrs. Marsden and his family, whose sad loss may however be tempered by knowing that he enjoyed full health and unimpaired faculties to the very end of his long and useful life.

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