Request from the V&A "Weston Turville’s link with Vivien Leigh"?

Post date: 24-Sep-2014 17:34:13

I wonder whether you can assist us with some research we are currently undertaking at the V&A relating to the Vivien Leigh Archive in our collection? We have an undated letter signed ‘Ned’ written to Vivien Leigh. Ned has written ‘Weston Turville’ at the top of the letter and mentions seeing Vivien Leigh in Titus Andronicus – so we presume it is 1957 when the production transferred to London. The letter reveals that Ned is very supportive of Vivien Leigh’s actions in the Lords against the closure of the St James Theatre and wishes her well with the campaign.

If you or any of your fellow society members are able to shed any light on who ‘Ned’ might be, we would love to hear from you.

Kind Regards and many thanks,


Simon Sladen (Asst. Curator, Modern and Contemporary Performance)

Any ideas???? Replies to


Summary of Replies so far (With thanks to Frances, Margaret and June)


“Ned” is an English given name, mostly applied to people with names starting “Ed” such as Edward, Edmund, Edgar, or Edwin.

It's also a Scot's word for hooligan.

Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh when married to Laurence Olivier lived in the Manor House Long Crendon (about 14 miles from Weston Turville).

Weston Turville Residents

Nora Swinborne was married to Esmond Knight and lived in Nora's Cottage West End W/T and we believe there was some filming in the village in the 50’s.

On 23rd May 1941, Esmond survived an exploding shell on the bridge of HMS Prince of Wales losing an eye and leaving him with almost no sight in the other. He learned to type at St. Dunstans.

“Esmond” doesn’t seem like a name that would normally morph into “Ned” but:-

· In 1951 he did appear with Vivien Leigh in a production of Caesar & Cleopatra at St James Theatre

· Our local acting community do seem to use nicknames regularly, Esmond calls Nora 'Bun' in a letter dictated by him soon after the terrible injury!

Long shot of potential correspondents in the village would be Guy and Diana Mannering who appeared in Ealing film "A storm in a Teacup" or David Attenborough who and also lived in the village.

WTHSoc archive

Though far from complete, our website includes the text of a large amount of correspondence, and you can use the search box in the header quite effectively. The name “Ned” never comes up. Unfortunately this is a period we’ve not explored much, census records are still to be released and we are wary copyright of copyright of anything 1946 and later.