Thomas Fidler

Date published: 30/06/2014




The death took place early on Sunday morning, at his residence, Clifton-road, Newbury, of Alderman Thomas Fidler , at the age of 96, having been born in the year 1815 he would been 97 if he had lived until December 20.

Alderman Fidler was the son of John and Martha Fidler, who lived at Shaw, his father haying carried on the business of brick and tile maker at Shaw Kilns, an industry which was until recent years in the family of the Fidlers for successive generations.

As a lad Thomas Fidler received his education at Reading under a Mr. Shaw, where his companion was William White, who afterwards became one of Birmingham's foremost citizens, occupying the position of Mayor and being elevated to aldermanic rank. A teacher in the school at this period was the late Isaac Holden, who afterwards became a successful Yorkshire manufacturer, and received the honour of baronetcy. Mr. Fidler used to tell how Mr. Holden was of a decidedly scientific turn of mind, and at the time the lucifer match was invented he was engaged in experiments of a similar kind, and was anticipated in what has been an important factor in modern civilisation.

On leaving school young Fidler was apprenticed to a Bristol chemist and druggist, and having served his time, took situations firstly at Maidenhead and secondly at Bath. On leaving the latter city he returned to his native town and started in business as a chemist and grocer in the Broadway, in the shop now occupied by Mr. Freeman and the adjoining premises. This was about the year 1844. Having succeeded in making a position he purchased premises in Mansion House-street, which he rebuilt, and here he continued until he disposed of the same to the Newbury Coffee House Company in 1879, and now carried on under the title of the Guildhall Temperance Hotel.

AS MAYOR IN 1864-5

It was in the year 1858 that he entered the Town Council, and in 1864 became Mayor. A record of the period states that he was proposed by Councillor Dolton, seconded by Alderman Hickman and Alderman Flint. In acknowledging his unanimous election Mr. Fidler is reported to have said: “Not in all instances would anyone be able to please everybody, but at the same time he trusted that while he maintained his own well-considered opinions he would regard the opinions of others when what was proposed was entitled to credit.”

During his Mayoralty Mr. Fidler was the means of establishing a fire Brigade, the members of which received payment. The Brigade continued in existence until 1878, when the destructive fire in Church or Little-lane- but now bearing the more euphonious name of “Arcade” - impressed the necessity of better equipment, worked by a more intelligent body of men, hence the formation of the present Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Sources:Newbury Weekly News ?

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