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Edward Russell’s Thenadays

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A pretty word, Thenadays. Obviously analogous to nowadays; but pensively charged with sentiment. There is no very good authority for Thenadays. It is only in one dictionary that I know of; and there it is justified only by an extract from the extinct, though once excellent, “North British Review.” Thenadays is not in Shakespeare, though it sounds as if it must be. But I found it in Shakespeare’s Country; just outside Shakespeare’s town; within a yard or two of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage; and on the lips of a native fly-driver. So I appropriate it and assimilate it as a bit of unwritten Shakespeare.

‘Thenadays’, pronounced 'ðenædeɪz (adv. 1. At that time; then; in those days; - correlative to nowadays), can be found in the 1913 edition of Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (published by C&G Merriam Co.). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is still the prominent source for the definition.

The earliest modern usage of the word appears in a little-known book called Thenadays, subtitled “The Richmondshire Reminiscences of Sir Edward Russell”; published in 1908 by CE Cookes & Son at the North Yorkshire Press. The book (from which the quotations above and below are taken) was a collection of recollections from his childhood in Richmond, which featured in his newspaper columns.

One of the disadvantages of a fairly long and fairly good memory is that one is sometimes unable to sympathise unquestioningly and in an unqualified manner with what goes on to-day. Thenadays seems better, and one cannot bring oneself to believe that this was because it was Thenadays.

Is it possible to express the wistful and bittersweet feeling of nostalgia for our recent past any better? We didn’t think so, which is one of the reasons we chose to adopt the name as our own.

Edward Richard Russell was a well-travelled British journalist, author, newspaper editor, Liberal politician, knight and peer of the realm. He had high religious and moral standards and was a temperance advocate.

He was largely a self-made man - born in London in 1834 and was schooled at Richmond Grammar School in Yorkshire before becoming a journalist. Through the positions he held with London titles (including The Morning Star), he became known to members of the government and was a friend of four-time Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.

As Editor of the Liverpool Daily Post and Mercury – a position he held for almost half a century from 1869 – he was successful in making the paper a leading provincial title. A capable public speaker, he founded the Liverpool Parliamentary Debating Society and was the first Chairman of the Liverpool Reform Club. He also found time to correspond with many leading figures of the day, including Annie Besant (socialist, theosophist and activist) and Herbert Henry Asquith (Minister and Prime Minister) and wrote on a number of subjects; philosophical, literary and ruminations on his earlier days.

In 1885 he entered Parliament as the representative of the Bridgetown Division of Glasgow and in 1893 he was knighted. In 1919, sadly just a year before his death (at 85, in 1920), he became a peer – as the first Baron Russell of Liverpool.

Lord Russell; 9 August 183420 February 1920

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