William Edwards

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Date published: 06/03/2014
© Newbury Weekly News

WILLIAM EDWARDS

 

DEATH OF THE DEPUTY MAYOR

IN A LONDON HOSPITAL

 

THIRTY YEARS OF RESIDENCE IN NEWBURY.

 

The sad intelligence reached Newbury on Sunday evening of the death of Mr. Councillor Edwards, Deputy Mayor of the borough, which had taken place that afternoon. The first public intimation of his illness was made last week, when it was stated that he had gone into a London hospital for the purpose of undergoing an operation. Within a week or so previously, he had been going about his public duties much as usual, and no one suspected that he was suffering from an internal malady. The doctors, finding upon examination that the disease had spread though the system, decided not to proceed further with the contemplated operation. The patient rallied subsequently, and there were hopes of being able to remove him to his home, but there was a relapse on Sunday, and death took place at four o'clock.

 

The late Mr. Edwards was not a Newburian by birth, but had qualified by over thirty years' residence, and participation in its public life, to becoming one of its citizens. He was a native of South Staffordshire, and the son of an engineer. He received a mechanical training but went into the hardware trade. He commenced in Derbyshire, but was for fourteen years in Shrewsbury, on leaving which he received presentations from employers and workmen. It was in 1834 [correctly 1884] that Mr. Edwards came to Newbury. At that time Mr. J.P. Jackson was retiring from active management of the ironmongery business in the Market -place, and was succeeded by Messrs. William Edwards and J.H. Godding in partnership, which continued until 1910, when both retired from business.

 

Mr. Edwards was always willing to take his share in the responsibilities of a public administration. He was a director and treasurer of the Literary and Scientific Institution, which flourished for so many years. He was an overseer, a manager of the Savings Bank,director of the Water Company, sidesman at the Parish Church, manager of the Church Schools, and trustee of the Church Almshouses. He was elected a member of the Town Council in 1907, and devoted himself with painstaking zeal to municipal matters, serving on the Gas, Roads and Education committees. Mr. Edwards was elected Mayor of the Borough in November 1913, and performed the duties quietly and unobtrusively. His year of office seemed likely to prove the most uneventful on record, until the European War Broke out, and he was called upon to form relief and recruiting committees and initiate new movements which entirely novel circumstances demanded. The last three months of his mayoralty proved more momentous than all the other nine, and it was no easy task to deal with an abnormal and difficult situation. Mr. Edwards was also one of the representatives of the borough on the Board of Guardians, and in this capacity, as in all others, carried out his duties with conscientious regard for the public welfare.

Mr. Edwards allowed himself one recreation, that of bowling, and much enjoyed a game on the green at Speenhamland.

 

Mr. Edwards was 73 years of age and leaves a widow, two sons and one daughter. The second son, Mr.J. Edwards is in Egypt.

The flag was hoisted half-mast at the Municipal Buildings.

 

At the Parish Church on Friday evening, the Rector invited the congregation to pray for the bereaved family of the one who had been a constant worshipper for many years. The organist (Mr. J.S. Liddle) played Beethoven's Funeral March at the close.

 

At a meeting of the Conservative Club on Tuesday evening a resolution expressing great regret at the death of Mr. William Edwards, and deep sympathy with the family of the deceased councillor was passed. The late Mr.Edwards was not only a member of the General Committee of the Club, but until recently was chairman of one of the important departments. He was also closely identified with the work of the South Berks Unionist Association.

References to the deceased will be found in the reports of the Town Council and Relief Committee.

 

THE FUNERAL

 

The funeral took place yesterday (Wednesday) at noon, and although in accordance with the expressed wishes of the family, the proceedings were of a simple character, due and proper respect was paid by the attendance of the members of the civic body, of which the deceased had been a member. The remains were conveyed tto Newbury by train, and brought direct to the church. The Rector (Rev. Lionel Majendie) and the Rev. H.C. Roberts, with the Church Wardens (Messrs H.J. Davis and H.C.Count) and the senior sidesmen (Mr. Charles Hawker) received the cortège at the western entrance. The Rector recited the opening sentences of the Burial Service as the body was borne up the central aisle and placed in its temporary resting place in front of the chancel gates, the mace-bearer taking up a position at the foot.

The service was conducted by the Rector, the Psalm being read by the Rev. H.C. Roberts. At the conclusion, the “Dead March in Saul” was impressively played by Mr. Ernest Watson, A.R.C.M., the congregation meanwhile standing. The body was then borne out of the church and conveyed to Newbury Cemetery, where the interment took place,the Mayor and other townspeople joining in the procession

The mourners were Mr. Fred. Edwards,(son), Mr. J. Mills (son-in-law), Mr. Thomas Dreweatt, Alderman George Pearson (Bristol cousin), Mr. J.H. Godding, Mr. G.J. Belgrove, Mr. S. Whiteman.

The Corporation was represented by the Mayor (Councillor E.D. Bazett) preceded by the borough mace, and wearing the civic chain (veiled in crepe), Alderman R. Ravenor, C. Lucas, A. Jackson, J.Rankin, Councillors F.C. Hopson, E. Gould, T.H.Pratt, T.W. Turner, A. Camp. Adrian Hawker, E. Hart, G.Griffin, R. Allder S.P. Upton, A.D.Cater. Also present were Mrs. Metcalf and Miss Godding (Education Committee), the Town Clerk (Mr. F.Q. Louch), the Assistant Town Clerk (Mr. W. R. Pettifor), the Borough Surveyor (Mr. S. J.L. Vincent), the Borough Auditors (Messrs John Mason and L.E. Shergold), Gas Works Manager (Mr. W. H. Davey), Corn Exchange Manager (Mr. H. Pratt, School Attendance Officer (Mr. T.H. Stillman), Mr. H.J. Midwinter, Mr. W. Lewendon, Mr. John Flint, Dr. Hickman (Borough Magistrates), Rev. C.V. Pike, Mr, H, Beynon, Mr. A. Mitchell, Mr. Hannibal Hill (representing the Board of Guardians), Mr. E. J. Forster (the South Berks Conservative Association), Messrs. E. Longmate and H.J. Munday(Newbury Conservative Club), Messrs. A.C. Elliott and R.G. Croxford (Winchcombe Club), Messrs W.J. Blacket and W.H. Lester (Newbury Water Company), Messrs W.C. Freemantle and J. Brighton (Newbury Water Company), Messrs A. Pearson and R.H. Scott(Messrs Edwards and Godding's staff), Messrs J. Palmer, E. Salway, A.G. Harrison, F. Povey, Rupert Adey, J.W.H. Kemp, F.H. Stillman, J. Dyer, Mr. aNd Mrs John Parker, Mrs. F. Davis, Miss E. Davis, Misses Adey, Miss Count, Mrs. E. Knight, Mrs A. Camp, Misses Wilson, Mr. Woollacott (Workhouse Master) , Sergt. Harold Walker, etc.

 

The coffin was inscribed

WILLIAM EDWARDS

Died July 25, 1915

Aged 73 years

 

By express wish of the family there were no floral offerings, only those from the family circle being placed on the coffin. These included “From the sorrowing widow, daughter and son-in-law, Fred and Lucy, Jackie and Bada; “From your dear ones far away”; Mr. and Mrs. Dreweatt and the Misses Dreweatt, Mr. and Mrs. Belgrove, employees of Messrs Edwards and Godding, staff of Messrs Daffern and Edwards (Hereford) “In dear memory of master, from Kate”, Mr.T.T. Mills and family (Swindon).

 

Newbury Weekly News 29 July 1915

 

Died 25 July 1915 aged 73

Buried 28 July 1915 Page 277 No. (409

Mr. P. p 161 p.4

 

Also Elizabeth, wife, died 5th April 1926 aged 86

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:Newbury Weekly News 29 July 1915 and Mrs Pattison

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