Evelyn Maud Mill; From servant to socialite.
By Paul Tritton
Who wouldn't love to open a long lost suitcase to find love letters, photographs and more? This is how renowned researcher Paul Tritton discovered family papers, photographs, memorabilia and love letters not published previously to reveal the identity of the elusive 'Mrs Wigs'. Anyone interested in the story of Rolls-Royce or the influence of a strong minded woman in the fast living 1920's will enjoy this biography. Tritton details how Evelyn Maud Mill, who was born into
impoverishment in London, began her working life scenes ‘in service' to become the lover, mistress and then stylish second wife of the famous English business man and socialite, Claude Goodman
Johnson. It is a true love story about Claude, who's often referred to as 'the hyphen in Rolls-Royce' and his passionate affair then lifestyle with 'Mrs Wigs' until his death. To date, only Claude's successful business prowess in motoring ventures and enterprise is known, not the supportive woman in his life and the sensitive, musical, family and fun loving world behind the scenes. All this when he was promoting the
R-R Silver Ghost; 'the best car in the world' fame. Paul Tritton has
illuminated the social history of the 1920's in England and the south of France in this highly readable book. Evelyn and Claude come alive on the pages and enrich the human side of the major personalities in the Rolls-Royce story. It will appeal to any reader of social or business history, to Rolls-Royce and motoring aficionados and anyone desiring insights on how women contributed to successful business ventures a century ago.
Paul Tritton is the renowned British author and historical researcher especially within the world of Rolls-Royce. He was the feature writer for Rolls-Royce Motors "Journal" and has written several books about Rolls-Royce; "John Montagu of Beaulieu: Motoring Pioneer and Prophet" in 1985, "The Godfather of Rolls-Royce: The Life and Times of Henry Edmunds" in 1993 and finally "When Rolls and Royce made history on Dover's White Cliffs" in 2016. Paul has written several books ranging in topic from the first sound recording made by Queen Victoria, the loss of a wartime RAF Stirling bomber in the battle of Holland, to several books on the city of Canterbury and how a small town in
Kent prepared for a possible Nazi invasion. Paul has been interested in the personal life of Claude Johnson since the 75th anniversary of Rolls-Royce when he was researching Henry Edmunds who
famously introduced Henry Royce and Charles Rolls to each other in 1904. Claude Johnson also played a major role in the Rolls-Royce company and is often referred to as the ‘’hyphen in Rolls-Royce’’. But who was “Mrs Wigs’’ by his side? From wide research and consultation with family descendants, Paul has now found Mrs Wigs and revealed Evelyn Maud Mill’s influential life. Initially Paul was uncertain whether to include Claude’s deeply personal love letters to Mrs Wigs. But social
life has become more liberal over the decades and personal lives are entwined with the public persona. Paul is a biographer with a thirst for detail and accuracy and writes with sensitivity.
Review by SHRF Trustee - Jeanne Eve