I joined Compton Verney Art Gallery in 2008 as a Gallery Assistant because, although I am an historian, I have always loved art. Compton Verney seemed a treasure house in which to explore and satisfy my never-ending curiosity.Continue reading “Harry Ellard (1897-1983)”
On 6th March 1867, local jockey John Page (1844-1917) won the Grand National for the first time, riding the Duke of Hamilton’s horse, Cortolvin. He won the race at Aintree by five lengths. Five years later, he won the Grand National again on Casse Tete and, until his retirement in 1880, was one of the foremost jockeys in England and France.Continue reading “John Page – Shirley’s jockey”
Former Private Stephen Henry Kettle, aged 44, died on 26th January 1922 at St George’s Hospital, Doncaster, where he was receiving treatment for injuries received on active service in France. He is buried at St James’s Churchyard, Shirley, Solihull.Continue reading “26th January 1922”
On Tuesday 17th June 1941, Sergeant Harry Brooks, of the Warwickshire Constabulary, based at Shirley Police Station, was presented with the George Medal by His Majesty King George VI at Buckingham Palace. The George Medal was instituted in January 1941 to reward “acts of great bravery” and arose out of the strong desire to reward acts of civilian courage during the Blitz.Continue reading “Police Sergeant Harry Brooks GM”
Former Private Leslie William Lively died at home in Shirley on 18th February 1921, aged 29. He was born in Birmingham on 28th May 1891 and was baptised at the parish church of his mother’s home town, Snitterfield, Warwickshire on 2nd August 1891.Continue reading “18th February 1921”
V. J. Day, 15th August 1945, marked the day when the Second World War effectively came to an end as Japan surrendered and all hostilities ceased.
The Warwick County News, 18th August 1945, summarised local events with the headline “Neighbourly co-operation was the keynote of Solihull’s VJ-Day celebrations” and the observation that the day was marked by a “mood of quiet thanksgiving or in the exuberant relief of pent-up feelings according to age or nature.”
Captain Charles Murchison Bernays, formerly of the Royal Army Medical Corps, died on 6th January 1920 in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Dover, aged 39. His death was attributed to haemorrhage as a result of his having been badly gassed in 1917 whilst on active service. Prior to the outbreak of war, he had been practising as a doctor in Shirley but at the time of his death he was house surgeon at the hospital where he died.
James Fern Webster was an engineer and prolific inventor who lived and worked in the High Street, Solihull Lodge in the 1870s/80s.
He developed a process for making the extraction of aluminium sufficiently cost effective for the metal to be used in the manufacture of everyday objects, patenting a process that enabled him to sell aluminium for £4 per pound instead of the £60 per pound that it had been previously. Prior to this, aluminium was considered a precious metal, and bars of aluminium were exhibited alongside the French Crown Jewels in the Paris Exhibition of 1855.
Webster’s process was described in The British Architect of 13th July 1883 as “one of the most important modern successes.” Its effect on the German-silver, brass and copper trades was likened to the effect of the Bessemer and Martin processes on the iron and steel industries.Continue reading “James Fern Webster – the “wizard of Warwickshire””
Private William Henry Cooper, 2nd Aircraft Depot, Royal Air Force died in France of influenza and bronchial pneumonia. He was born in Shirley on 1st November 1873 and, in 1881, was living in Bills Lane with parents William (a metal roller) and Louisa Amelia (née Harrison) ,who had married in Moseley in 1866. Harry, as he was known, was the third of the couple’s four children (two sons, two daughters).
Private John Joseph Moreton, aged 33, died at 4pm on 26th November 1918 at Uffculme Auxiliary Hospital, Moor Green, Birmingham. He was serving with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The cause of death was listed as (1) acute congestion of lungs probably of streptococal or mixed infection and (2) heart failure.