Margaret Gardiner

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Margaret Emilia Gardiner OBE (22 Apryle 1904 – 2 Januar 2005)[1] wis a radical modren Breetish patron o airtists an resident o Hampstead, Lunnon, frae 1932, whaur she wis a left wing poleetical activist an aw. She wis for a time the pairtner o Professor John Desmond Bernal an aw, the eminent scientist an poleetical activist. She wis kent as "Mrs Bernal" for maist o her life, but they wur niver marriet.[2] In the 1980 Birthday Honours she wis awairdit a OBE for services tae the Pier Arts Centre Trust, Strumnis. She wis referred tae as Margaret Emilia Gardiner Bernal on the leet.

Biografie[eedit | eedit soorce]

Gardiner wis born in Berlin whaur her faither, the Egyptologist Sir Alan Gardiner, wis wirkin at the time. In 1923 he assistit Howard Carter an Lord Carnarvon wi the openin o Tutankhamun's tomb. Her mither wis Hedwig, Lady Gardiner, whase faither wis a Hungarian Jew an mither a Swadish Finn.[1] Her brither wis Henry Rolf Gardiner.

Gardiner wis eddicatit at the Fröbel School in Hammersmith, then at Bedales, the leeberally-mindit schuil, follaeed bi Newnham College, Cambridge. Thare she read Modern Languages, but transferred tae Moral Sciences, the Cambridge term for Filosofie. Her faimily wis walthy an she haed nae need tae wirk, devotin her life insteid tae politics an the airts. At Cambridge she fell in luve with Bernard Deacon, a scholar at Trinity but wis shattered when he dee'd frae blackwater fever whilst wirkin on Malakula in the New Hebrides, Vanuatu in 1927 at the age o 24. She visitit his grave thare 56 years later an wrote a beuk, Footprints on Malekula: Memoir of Bernard Deacon, in 1984.

Efter Cambridge she spent a brief, but unsuccessful, time as a elementar schuil teacher in Gamlingay.[1] Efterwairds she devotit her time an energy tae supportin her friends: Barbara Hepworth, Hepworth's seicont husband, Ben Nicholson, W. H. Auden, Berthold Lubetkin, Solly Zuckerman, Naum Gabo an ithers.[1][3]

She made her hame at 35 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, close tae the Heath whaur she swam in the ponds intae her 90s.

Her son wi Bernal wis Martin Bernal (1937-2013), author o Black Athena,[1][4][5] Despite niver marryin, Gardiner referred tae hersel as "Mrs Bernal". Bernal haed marriet Agnes Eileen Sprague, a secretar, on 21 Juin 1922, the day efter bein awairdit his BA degree when he was agit 21. As well as his son wi Gardiner, he haed twa childer wi Sprague an ane wi Margot Heinemann.[6]

Politics[eedit | eedit soorce]

Wi Bernal, who wis a Communist, she wis pairt o the 1930s an 40s group campaignin "For Intellectual Liberty". Gardiner wis housomeivver no pressed tae jyn the pairty.[1] She spent a winter wi Bernal in Moscow but haed reservations aboot Joseph Stalin. In the 1960s she organisit full-page advertisements in The Times signed bi well-kent fowk opponit tae the Vietnam War. She wis forbye a supporter o CND.

In the 1970 general election Ben Whitaker, Labour MP for Hampstead, lost his seat as a result o a far-left candidate staundin wham Gardiner haed financit.[1][nb 1]

Orkney[eedit | eedit soorce]

Barbara Hepworth's curvit fuirm which stuid in Gardiner's back garden in Hampstead

She spent a lairge pairt o her life awa frae Lunnon on Rousay, Orkney, as a retreat. She wis the foonder, in 1979 of the art gallery, Pier Arts Centre in Strumnis. Ane o the works thare is "Curved Form (Trevalgan)" bi her langtime friend Barbara Hepworth in 1956 which Gardiner kept on display in her back garden in Hampstead.[7] The wirk, namit efter a hill in Cornwall atween Zennor an St Ives, wis Hepworth's first entirely bronze wirks. She gae 67 wirks o airt tae the fowk o Orkney an "Curved Form" now sits ootside on the Centre's pier on the oreeginal plinth frae Gardiner's garden.

Publications[eedit | eedit soorce]

  • Footprints on Malekula: Memoir of Bernard Deacon Chatto & Windus, 1984, ISBN 9780907540458

Notes[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. Although this is what the Guardian obituary says, the election results for 1966 and 1970 do not, however, support this: a left-wing Socialist Worker candidate stood in 1966 when Whitaker won, but not 1970. Discussion on talk page please.

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. a b c d e f g Morgan, Janet (5 Januar 2005). "Margaret Gardiner, obituary in The Guardian, 5 January 2005". London. Retrieved 6 Apryle 2008.
  2. "J D Bernal: the sage of science - A P Brown, J F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, J Phys: Conference Series Vol 57 (2007) pp61-72 Includes picture of Bernal with Gardiner in 1936" (PDF). Retrieved 18 Februar 2011.
  3. Gardiner, Margaret (1988). A Scatter of Memories. London: Free Association Books. Cite has empty unkent parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  4. "Margaret Gardiner, obituary by Nchima Trust". Retrieved 13 Januar 2013.
  5. Gill Hedley. "Bernal, Margaret Emilia". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Jan 2009; online edn, Jan 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  6. Goldsmith, Maurice (1980). Sage: A Life of J D Bernal. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 978-0091395506. Cite has empty unkent parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  7. "Pier Gallery Stromness, Permanent Collection, showing the Hepworth bronze work "Trevalgan" with Gardiner standing at the side, c.1980". Retrieved 24 October 2008.