Talk about suspected First World War spy Sir Edgar Speyer in Cromer

Prof. Antony Lentin, author of a book about Sir Edgar Speyer who has connections wiuth the Sea Marge

Prof. Antony Lentin, author of a book about Sir Edgar Speyer who has connections wiuth the Sea Marge Hotel, Overstrand.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The true story of a suspected spy who was kicked out of Britain at the outbreak of the First World War will be revealed tomorrow.

Former barrister and law and history tutor Prof Antony Lentin from Cambridge, author of Banker Traitor Scapegoat Spy? will be giving a talk at the Cromer Community Centre, Garden Street, at 7.30pm.

The book looks at the life of German-born Sir Edgar Speyer who was highly regarded by politicians before the Great War.

He and his family had a country retreat – Sea Marge – in Overstrand, now a hotel under the same name, from 1902 to 1920.

Speyer came from a merchant banking family and ran a London office called Speyer Bros. In 1886 aged 24 he settled permanently in the capital and became chairman of Speyer Bros following his father's death.

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He became a naturalised British citizen in 1892.

Speyer was a philanthropist, member of the Privy Council and friend of Winston Churchill and Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith, who both stayed at his country retreat.

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The Speyer family moved to America in 1915 and settled in Boston. Speyer joined the St Botolph Club, a meeting place for people in the Boston literary world, and mainly mixed with musicians.

Charges from the British Home Office were brought against him in February 1920 and they related to his activities after he left England.

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