Wednesday 12 February 2014


Sapper George Herring, Margaret Anne Cunningham’s great grandfather and Royal Engineer ancestor of the New Westminster Herrings, was part of that persistent red line of British imperial authority that in the mid- and late 19th Century ran around the world. From Shanghai and Hong Kong in China, through India, Africa and the Middle East via the Suez Canal, to North America, London held sway over a quarter of the globe’s continental surface. As the saying went, the sun never set on the British Empire. It was a world system based on British guns, grit, persistence and virtue; and the life and achievements of George’s son, Arthur May Herring, exemplified the application of the first three.

Education ran heavy in the Herring family, perhaps prompted by the example of Arthur May Herring, Margaret Anne’s grandfather who took a degree in chemistry and electricity in San Francisco. Of his three sons who survived to adulthood two of them gained a post-secondary degree: Arthur Francis Charles became a doctor and John Victor Paul became an engineer.

Margaret Anne, as did her sister Frances, achieved her certification as a teacher at Calgary Normal School during the 1930s. Two decades later she attended UBC where she upgraded to her bachelor of education in 1964. By that year, or shortly after, she had become principal of Woodlands School in New Westminster. In the following year she was arrested and charged (along with Robert Henry MacLauchlan) with trafficking in narcotics. The year after that she was dead, killed in a drug-related murder along with MacLauchlan, her erstwhile “uncle” and later her husband.

Go here for more information on this enigmatic and interesting woman, descendant of an accomplished and old New Westminster family, and her relatives.

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