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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Paul Urquhart [Ladbroke Black & Thomas Meech]

Paul Urquhart was a pen-name commonly credited to author Ladbroke Black, although it was initially a pen-name jointly used by Black in collaboration with another author, Thomas Cox Meech.

Black, born in Burley-in-Wharfdale, Yorkshire, on 21 June 1877, was educated in Ireland and at Cambridge where he earned a B.A. He became assistant editor of The Phoenix in 1897 before moving to London in 1899 where he joined The Morning Herald as assistant editor in 1900. He later became assistant editor of the Echo in 1901, joint editor of Today, 1904-05, and special writer on the Weekly Dispatch, 1905-11.

After a forgettable first novel, A Muddied Oaf (1902), co-written with Francis Rutter, Black collaborated on the collection The Mantle of the Emperor (1906) with Robert Lynd, later literary editor of the News Chronicle. He then produced a series of novels in collaboration with Meech under the name Paul Urquhart, beginning with The Eagles (1906). Black also wrote for various magazines and newspapers, sometimes using the pen-name Lionel Day. His books ranged from romances to Sexton Blake detective yarns. His recreations included sports (boxing and rugby), reading and long walks. He lived in Wendover, Bucks, for many years and was Chairman of the Mid-Bucks Liberal Party in 1922-24. He died on 27 July 1940, aged 63, survived by his wife (Margaret, nee Ambrose), two sons and two daughters.

Thomas Cox Meech, born in Beaminster, Dorset, in 1868, was educated at Ardingly College, and entered a lawyer's office on leaving school. However, he soon switched professions and became a journalist. At the age of 21 he was the editor of the Ayrshire Post, subsequently moving to the editorial chair on the Lancashire Daily Post and the Northern Echo. Like Black, he was a long-time supporter of the Liberal party and was a member of the Press lobby from 1899 until he retired from journalism in 1933. In 1922 he stood as an Independent Liberal for Blackburn.

Meech remained in touch with the law and was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple. He was a Clerk of Inductment on the Western Circuit and in the Temple, retaining chambers in Temple Garden.

Meech's first novel, Only a Collier appeared (as by Tom Meech) in 1890 and he wrote a number of notable books, including biographies of Thomas Burt, M.P., and US President William M'Kinley; he also wrote a 2-volume history of Great Britain and Ireland entitled This Generation (1927-28).

Meech, who died on 20 October 1940, was twice married, first to Martha Agnes Kilgour and, secondly, to Jessie Mildred McAlpine; he had one daughter.

Novels as Paul Urquhart
Note: later novels published by Amalgamated Press from 1922 onwards (not listed here) were by Ladbroke Black alone.
The Eagles. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1906.
The Web. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1907.
The Shadow. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1908.
The Turmoil. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1915.
One Clear Call. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1916.
The Awakening. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1918.
Cross Currents. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1918.

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