Reginald Bruce (1886 - 1970)

Alice  writes:
I daresay everyone will have different memories of Uncle Reg but I think we'll all agree on what a very kind and generous uncle he was. Get Pippa and Wilma to tell of the little car he gave to Pippa and how this opened up social life for all 4 of them.
When I was was 21 I had to produce a 'want' list for the family, and included on the list were several classical records. Because Uncle Reg approved of my classical taste he gave me all of them, taking the view (correctly!) that no-one else in the family would go to the trouble of getting my preferred recordings.
In the days when everyone travelled by train, it was said that if one had to spend any time at Clapham Juncion sooner or later one would meet a friend. So it never seemed in any way unusual that it should most often be Encle Reg - probably getting a snack out of the chocolate machine! He had the most charming old-fashioned manners and would always lift his hat, even for a scruffy great niece. Though 'scruffy' was what one needed not to be with Uncle Reg - he took a keen interest in what we wore and to a certain extent judged us by our matching accessories.
By the time I was grown up he and Aline were living in a house in Hove, Uncle Reg on the ground/basement floor in what was known as the Plaza Garden and Aline in the rest of the house. Visitors actually lodged with Aline and entertained themselves during the day, but in the evening (after checking shoes and handbag) one descended to the Plaza Garden for sherry before being taken out to the theatre or dinner. It was very rare then for a teenage girl to be treated as a rare and beautiful specimen of womanhood, but Uncle Reg did this to perfection!
The other thing I remember most clearly about Uncle Reg dates from when I was much younger, and this is his reputation with Gran as being a Man of Business. This must have been entirely because he was male: in fact he turned out to have very little financial acumen at all! Anyway, when he was expected at the Hamilton we would be packed off to the cinema with Aunt Mabel so he and Gran could Discuss Business, which I took at the time to be the purchasing and selling of stocks and shares, but was more probably going through her housekeeping. However, as poor Aunt Mabel was also always banished, perhaps they were discussing her affairs.


Nicky remembers, "Uncle Reg and Aunt Aline used to travel around the world a lot. Any new passenger liner was something that Uncle Reg had to try out. So they were used to The Best. This made it rather alarming when they came to visit David and me on our property Glenaladale in Australia in the 60's.
We had been married in l962 and had renovated and moved into a small weatherboard cottage on the property. The house grew 'like Topsy' in a rambly way. There was sandy soil on this part of the property, and sometimes when the weather is dry fleas will come from the sandy soil into the house.
The spare room was off the verandah, and when I was making up the beds there, I sat down for a rest in the armchair in the room, and out flew a cloud of fleas - giving me time to exterminate them before they arrived. The thought of my embarrassment, if I had not had that lazy moment in the chair, is still with me. But what a good story Uncle Reg would have made of it!
Uncle Reg took a great interest in the property and how we lived over there. Because of the layout of the house at the time he had to go through the kitchen from his bedroom to get to the bathroom. David and I were always getting breakfast ready when he came though, in his dressing gown, his hat on his head, looking to neither left or right, his mouth firmly shut, holding in his hand a mug containing his dentures. When he came back through the kitchen he took off his hat in greeting to us, smiled and said 'Good morning'. It was a very happy visit."

Reg inherited his money from his uncle, James Bruce, who made it in whisky. Reg got through a lot of money. He paid for Roddie's education at Eton and also possibly for him to go to Cambridge.

Aunt Aline (Nathalie Philomene)
Aline was French. Reg saw her in a nightclub in Paris when she had just emerged from her convent school, and asked her parents for her hand in marriage. The marriage was arranged without Aunt Aline even knowing about it. She was 17 and Reg was 40.
Aline drove an ambulance during the war. She and Reg got divorced and then remarried.