Geoffrey Tandy draped in a bed sheet, Low Islands, Queensland, 1928.
National Library of Australia. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from

Geoffrey Tandy


Geoffrey Tandy (1900–69), marine biologist – who served towards the end of WW1 in the Royal Field Artillery and studied forestry at Oxford – was Assistant Keeper of Botany at the Natural History Museum, London, 1926–47. He also did broadcast readings for the BBC (including the first reading of TSE’s Practical Cats on Christmas Day 1937: see ‘Masters of the Microphone’, Radio Times, 19 Jan. 1939). Tandy, who was tall, skinny and big-bearded, earned this mention in the Auden-MacNeice ‘Last Will and Testament’: ‘item, a box of talc / To Geoffrey Tandy in case he shaves again.’ The Tandys had three children – Richard, Alison, Anthea – and became close friends of TSE, who was godfather to Anthea (one of the dedicatees of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats).

Tandy to Martin Ware (who had invited him to talk about TSE to a literary society), 20 Nov. 1935: ‘I believe that anything I may be able to do to help anybody to a better understanding of Eliot’s work will be a good work. Against that I have to set the fact that he is a pretty close personal friend (whatever that locution may mean) and my judgement may be vitiated in consequence. The text of “this side idolatry” may be used against me. However, having asked the man himself if he have any serious objection, I say yes and hope that you will not regret having asked me.’ See too Miles Geoffrey Thomas Tandy, A Life in Translation: Biography and the Life of Geoffrey Tandy (thesis for the degree of MA in Arts Education and Cultural Studies, Institute of Education, University of Warwick, Sept. 1995); and David Collard, ‘Old Possum and the limbs of satan’ <>.