lives of three
light on the
of the actuarial
Pillars of the Profession
William Sutton Gover,
& Frederick Hendriks
WH E N H E D I E D I N N O V E M B E R 1 9 1 1 from a lethal combination of asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, and heart disease, Charles Farley Trenerry seemed likely to spend eternity in the same relative obscurity in which he lived his life.
Trenerry, the son of a civil servant, was only 39 at the time of his death in his parents’ London home. He had been admitted to the Institute of Actuaries as a student
member while studying at the University of London and achieved his associateship
in 1892 (the same year he received his bachelor’s degree), having passed two of the
then total syllabus of four examinations. He never progressed to a fellowship but was
admitted as a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society in 1900 (at the time, a common
additional credential for actuaries).
In the 1901 London census, Trenerry is listed as an insurance office actuary. He enrolled in the doctoral program of the
London School of Economics and Political Science in 1903,
receiving his doctorate in 1907. Trenerry then secured employment as clerk of committees with the University of London, a
post he held until his death. Apparently secure in his connection
with the university, he dropped his associate membership in the
institute in 1909. When he died just two years later, Trenerry’s
relationship to the actuarial profession would have remained a
matter of only private interest but for three things: his doctoral
thesis, the younger sister who pushed to have it published, and
the older colleague whose work informed much of its content.
Ethel Trenerry, born a year after Charles, graduated (with
honors) from the University of London in 1894 and followed
that with a master’s degree from the same institution in 1901.
Like her brother, Ethel Trenerry continued to live in the family
home until an advanced age. When she finally moved out at the
age of 47, it was to marry the barrister William Henry Gover,
who was 20 years her senior. Gover, a prolific author of works
for practicing barristers, knew something about publishing. As
the eldest son of William Sutton Gover, a founding member of
the Institute of Actuaries, he also knew something about actuarial science.