Max Pemberton

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Sir Max Pemberton
ca. 1897
ca. 1897
Born (1863-06-19)19 June 1863
Paddington, London, England[1][2]
Died 22 February 1950(1950-02-22) (aged 86)
London, England
Occupation Journalist and author
Nationality United Kingdom
Alma mater Merchant Taylors' School
Caius College, Cambridge.
Notable works The Iron Pirate
Notable awards Knight Bachelor
Spouse Alice Agnes Tussaud

Sir Max Pemberton (19 June 1863 – 22 February 1950) was a popular British novelist, working mainly in the adventure and mystery genres. He was educated at St Albans School, Merchant Taylors' School, and Caius College, Cambridge.[3] A clubman, journalist and dandy (Lord Northcliffe admired his 'fancy vests'), he frequented both Fleet Street and The Savage Club.

Pemberton was the editor of boys' magazine Chums in 1892–1893[4] during its heyday. Between 1896 and 1906 he also edited Cassell's Magazine (see [1]), in which capacity he published the early works of R. Austin Freeman and William Le Queux.

His most famous work The Iron Pirate was a best-seller during the early 1890s and it launched his prolific writing career (see below). It was the story of a great gas-driven iron-clad, which could outpace the navies of the world and terrorised the Atlantic Ocean. Other notable works included Captain Black (1911).

During January 1908, Pemberton had a story entitled Wheels of Anarchy published by Cassell & Company (London). This story was based upon notes that were written by his friend Bertram Fletcher Robinson shortly before he died in January 1907.[5] It is an adventure tale about anarchists and assassins that is set across Europe. The novel's hero and narrator, Bruce Driscoll, a recent Cambridge graduate, appears to be modelled upon Fletcher Robinson. Wheels of Anarchy by Max Pemberton was republished in December 2010.[6]

Pemberton was member of a criminology literary society known as 'Our Society' along with eleven other notable members including Bertram Fletcher Robinson and Arthur Conan Doyle.

In 1920, Pemberton founded the London School of Journalism, wrote a biography about Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe and was knighted. He was married to Alice Tussaud, granddaughter of Madame Marie Tussaud and daughter of Joseph Tussaud.

Pemberton also wrote a biography of Sir Henry Royce published in 1934 shortly after Royce's death.

Selected works[edit]

"I'm essentially an outdoor man." ca. 1903
Leisure time ca. 1903



  1. ^ General Register Office index of births registered in July, August, September 1863 – Name: Pemberton, Max District: Kensington Volume: 1A Page: 9.
  2. ^ Note: He sometimes gave his place of birth as Edgbaston, Birmingham (his mother was from Birmingham)
  3. ^ "Pemberton, Max (PMRN881M)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  4. ^ "Pemberton, Max". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 1378. 
  5. ^ "Fletcher Robinson, Pemberton & Doyle". BFRonline.BIZ. Archived from the original on 16 March 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  6. ^ "Wheels of Anarchy by Max Pemberton". Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  • The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes: Early Detective Stories, ed. Hugh Greene (Penguin, 1971)

External links[edit]