ANGLO-TEXAN SOCIETY. The Anglo-Texan Society was founded in London in December 1953. Author Graham Greene, its founding president, suggested that friendly relations between the two realms could best be promoted by sponsoring cultural exchanges and generally looking after any Texan who finds his way to London. The idea for such an organization first came to Greene and actor-producer John Sutro when they heard some visiting Texans complain about British reserve. Membership was open "to persons of either sex who have some definite connections with both Texas and Great Britain." In addition to Britons-who-love-Texas, Texans in England in the 1950s were numerous by virtue of military service or business interests, especially petroleum. The oil crisis caused by the end of the British occupation of the Suez Canal zone stimulated a demand for Texas oil in Great Britain. The first Texas Instruments plant in England was begun in 1957, when TI architect O'Neil Ford became an enthusiastic member of the society.
The Anglo-Texan Society's first function, a barbecue on March 6, 1954, in observance of Texas Independence Day (March 2), was attended by 1,500 guests. The menu for the affair, held at Denham Film Studios, featured 2,800 pounds of beef donated by the Houston Fat Stock Show. Greene's interest in the organization quickly waned when the cultural directions he charted were supplanted by a more convivial agenda. Early on, leadership responsibilities were assumed by Sir Alfred Bossom, member of Parliament (1931–59), whose ties with Texas were extensive. In the course of his architectural practice in the United States (1903–26) he designed landmarks in several Texas cities. Under the genial Sir Alfred, the organization's only purpose was pure fun, with no demands made on anyone. The society met four times a year. Memorable luncheons with Mexican food imported from Texas were often held at Bossom's Regency house at 5 Carlton Gardens. Distinguished Texans might also be invited to address the organization. Clarence T. McLaughlin of Snyder, rancher and oilman extraordinaire, flew to London to be the featured speaker for the society's 1960 annual dinner in the dining room of the House of Commons.
In his capacity as president of the Anglo-Texan Society, Sir Alfred made several trips back to Texas. During a 1958 visit to Dallas, he was feted by society members, including Dallas mayor Robert L. Thornton; William Burrow, head of the society's Texas branch; and Lawrence and Edward Marcus of Neiman-Marcus. The press now spoke of the "world-wide Anglo-Texan Society." With so many eager to celebrate the bonds between Texas and Britain, Bossom invited London attorney Michael Bryceson to assume administrative responsibilities as the society's chairman. During World War II as a Royal Navy cadet, Bryceson completed his flight training at Corpus Christi Naval Air Station.
In 1963, on the initiative of Alfred Bossom, the Anglo-Texan Society erected a brass plaque at the corner of No. 3 St. James's Place to mark the location of the Texas Legation in Great Britain during the final years of the Republic of Texas, 1842–45. The plaque, unveiled by Texas governor Price Daniel, Sr., is now the only monument to the existence of the Anglo-Texan Society.
With Bossom's death in 1965, the glory years of the society were over. The organization survived but in a more sedate mood. Men of great distinction who succeeded to the presidency included Lord Caccia of Abernant, who was followed by Sir Patrick Dean. Both men had previously served as British Ambassador to Washington. The more serious tone was a portent that the ties that had long united Great Britain and the United States were unraveling. At the 1972 annual meeting, Sir Patrick Dean commented on the imminent entry of Britain into the Common Market, observing that "the natural emphasis placed on this new and historic development...has turned the eyes of many away from our special relationship with the U.S.A." In these more strident times, an organization that made no demands other than that a civilized good time be had by all may have seemed frivolous. At a special meeting in May 1979, the Anglo-Texan Society voted to disband.
Mary Carolyn Hollers George, "The Anglo-Texan Society 1953-1979: A Cross-Cultural Alliance," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 101 (July 1997-April 1998): 215-38. Dallas Morning News, August 23, 1953, July 18, 1958, September 11, 1977.
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