A E Manning-Foster

1874 - 1939

1874 - 1939

This obituary is excerpted from Bridge Magazine.

It is with great regret that we announce the death of Alfred Edye Manning-Foster, founder and Editor of Bridge Magazine, which occurred in a London nursing home on August 25th, after a brief illness.

As this issue of the Magazine had already gone to press, our remarks are of necessity brief, but we quote the following notice from The Times of August 26th:

"We announce with regret the death of Mr. A. E. Manning-Foster, for many years Bridge Correspondent of The Times, which took place in a London nursing home after an illness lasting only a week.

"Mr. Manning-Foster, frequently described as the Grand Old Man of Bridge, played a great part in the development of the game in this country. As founder and until recently President of the British Bridge League, he was a pioneer of Duplicate Bridge, and the Gold Cup which was offered for competition by the Bridge Magazine, which he founded and edited, is the most coveted trophy open to Bridge-players. Though he did so much to popularise Duplicate Bridge Mr. Manning-Foster never cared greatly for this form of the game, preferring very much Rubber Bridge. Both in his writing and his speeches he never tired of insisting that 'Bridge is a game.' He strongly disliked the use of artificial conventions, against which he threw the full force of his pen, and when he found that he was waging a losing fight became a keen advocate of 'the simple system,' to which he made frequent reference in his weekly articles in The Times.

"He was a life member of the International Bridge League, and at the meeting held at The Hague in June, was appointed a member of the International Bridge League Card Committee. Through his connexion with the international body he was largely responsible for the entrance of this country into the international contests which take place annually, the teams being selected by the British Bridge League, and for some time being composed of the players who had been most successful in the Gold Cup contest. To those who had the privilege of his friendship he was a loyal friend. In spite of ill-health he was an amazing worker. To the letters which he received from his readers from all parts of the world he gave always the most courteous and prompt attention. Apart from Bridge, his chief recreation was racing, and he was a well-known figure on all the chief racecourses of England.

"Manning-Foster was the youngest son of the late Mr. T. Gregory Foster, barrister-at-law, and brother of Gregory Foster, Vice-Chancellor of the London University. He was educated at the University College School in the days when it was on Gower Street and University College. He was one of the most promising classical scholars of his day. After leaving college, he became a journalist, and was most successful. He was a prolific and versatile writer. Under the title of 'The Diner-out' he wrote articles on food for the Daily Mail, and on Church matters for the same paper under the name of Alfred Edye. At one time he owned and edited the Country Gentleman and Land and Water Illustrated. He edited an anthology, 'Blessed are the dead,' was editor of the Bridge Magazine, and Card Editor of the Field. In 1933 he published what was probably the first book written in English on 'Bridge Plafond.' Subsequently he wrote many books and articles on Auction and Contract Bridge. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of LIterature and was the youngest person to be so elected. In 1928 he married Dina Curtis, second daughter of the late Brigadier-General W. F. de H. Curtis, late R.H.A."

The Daily Telegraph in paying tribute to him said:

"He was a well-known commentator on Auction Bridge, and when the late Lt.-Colonel Walter Buller introduced Contract at the Portland Club in 1928, Mr. Manning-Foster, who was a member of the Portland, wrote the first British work on the new form of the game. Since then books from his pen have appeared at frequent intervals.

"True to the traditions of the Portland Club, he threw his weight against the conventionalising of Contract. His last work, in 1935, was specifically entitled 'Contract Without Conventions.'

"In 1931 he founded the British Bridge League, the first Bridge organisation in this contry. A year or so later he was instumental in the founding of the International Bridge League, with headquarters in The Hague, and with himself as first President.

"After the first international Bridge match between England and the United States in 1932, he offered for open competition among teams of four a gold cup. The cup has ever since remained the coveted Bridge trophy among British players."

Bridge Magazine is grateful to many correspondents for their kind messages, and we know that all our readers will join in offering their deepest sympathy to Mrs. Manning-Foster in her great loss.