| Cambridge University: The destination
London, May 16: The mystery of a billet doux that arrived at a Cambridge college 56 years too late was solved by The Daily Telegraph last night.
Or at least half of it was.
The letter, a note from a lady to a young Cambridge history don, reads: “George, will meet at Monty’s next weekend. Is 2 pm acceptable' Love Gwen.”
It was sent from London on March 3, 1950, but did not arrive at Trinity College until last Friday, more than half a century after its intended recipient had moved on to a loftier post in London.
Its extremely late arrival coincided ironically with the Royal Mail announcing that it had exceeded its target for delivering first and second class letters on time.
Initial reports stated that the billet doux had been addressed to a “George Green” but Trinity staff had failed to find any reference to an undergraduate or don of that name at the college at the time.
On closer inspection, The Daily Telegraph deciphered the name on the envelope, an official ministry of education manila affair, as “George A. Grun”. From there, the wonders of the Internet quickly unearthed Grun as an historian at the London School of Economics who died in 1993 aged 70.
Despite a distinguished academic career, he will probably go down in history as the admissions officer who allowed Mick, now Sir Mick, Jagger into the LSE in 1961.
June Grun, 78, Grun’s widow, was mystified by the note. “How extraordinary," she said from her Hampstead home yesterday. “That was before I was with him, although I did know him at Cambridge.
“I have absolutely no idea who Gwen is, but he did have lots and lots of friends.”
She suggested trying Katharine Whitehorn, the journalist and author, who knew Grun before he met his future wife. “George was my best friend at Cambridge and June was my best friend at school, and that’s how they met,” Whitehorn said. “Gwen' Gwen' Gwen,” she turned the matter over in her mind.
“I can’t place her, you know. He had lots and lots of woman friends ' and girlfriends of course.
“I once asked him how often he fell in love and he said, ‘Twice a year since as long as I’ve been capable’, but after he met June that was that as far as other women were concerned.
Grun was a refugee from Austria, fleeing from the Nazi annexation in 1938 on one of the Kinder transport exercises. He was given a place at Winchester College, which was, his widow explained, “looking for one Jew” to take in.