Blue plaque to commemorate Rotherham-born tutor to Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna approved at listed town centre building

A blue plaque to commemorate the life of a Rotherham-born academic has been approved at a Grade Two listed former bank that his father managed.

Charles Sydney Gibbes served as the English tutor to the children of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, including his youngest daughter, Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, from 1908 to 1917.

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Mr Gibbes worked at the British Embassy in China following the murder of the Romanov family in 1918, and became an Orthodox Monk in 1934, before his death in 1963.

Planning permission has now been granted for a blue plaque to commemorate the life of Mr Gibbes at the former Royal Bank of Scotland on High Street, where he lived with his family.

Planning permission has now been granted for a blue plaque to commemorate the life of Mr Gibbes at the former Royal Bank of Scotland on High Street, where he lived with his family.

Mr Gibbes’ father, John, was the manager of the Sheffield and Rotherham bank, from 1870 until around 1901.

Application documents state that he family lived in accommodation above the old bank, and would have moved in 1892 to live in the new bank, which was constructed on the same site following the demolition of the old bank to facilitate the widening of the High Street.

“The Blue Plaque commemorates a prominent local figure who lived at this site and may have lived in the building with his family and was a prominent citizen of the town,” states an RMBC officer report.

Documents submitted by the applicant, the Rotherham District Civic Society state: “Born Gibbs, he changed his name to Gibbes at Cambridge University because he thought it was more historically correct.

“He was educated at Rotherham Grammar School.

“He went to Russia where he taught at the Imperial School of Law in St Petersberg.

“In 1908, Tsarina Alexandra invited him to tutor her children, and from then until the revolution of 1917 Gibbes lived with the imperial family at their palace in Tsarskoe Selo.

“In 1938 he was ordained as an archimandrite priest, the only Englishman to reach such a high rank in the Russian Orthadox Church.”

Permission for the plaque was granted on April 14, and it will be placed along the Wellgate side of the building.