The Spirit of Rochester – Dame Sybil & The Thorndikes by Philip Dodd
The Spirit of Rochester is the story of the Thorndike family during their time in the city. Dame Sybil Thorndike, one of Britain’s finest ever actresses, and her brother, the novelist Russell Thorndike, grew up in Rochester with their sister Eileen and younger brother Frank. Their father was a Minor Canon in the Cathedral and later vicar of St Margaret’s Church. Rochester had a major impact on the family: the rituals of both the cathedral and church and the Dickensian mood of the Precincts fed the children’s natural sense of drama and theatricality. They in turn left behind a lasting legacy and for the rest of their lives retained a deep love for Kent, and for the City of Rochester and its surroundings.