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George Matthews Bennett, Bonesetter

Bonesetter? What are, or were, bonesetters, you may ask. They were healers, joint manipulators, and setters of fractured bones, long before the advent of X-rays, Plaster of Paris, and now, MRI scans. Often unqualified other than by experience, their ‘trade’ generally ran in families, handed down from father to son or daughter. It used to […]

Harriet and Matthew Wise

It was from the Wise family that Elizabeth Surcombe the elder purchased the leasehold plot in Bath Street. They owned much of the land south of the river in Leamington Priors, including part of Bath Street, as well as land around Whitnash, Lillington and Warwick. Matthew Wise Snr was one of the principal landowners who […]

Herbert Edward Cox – Artist

Herbert Edward Cox, was born in Coventry in 1870, the fifth of seven children born to James and Sarah Cox of Stoney Stanton Road. He attended the Grammar School, and after the death of his father in 1887, still living in the family home, he trained to paint at the Municipal School of Art in […]

No. 9 Spencer Street – History of the Occupants from 1875-2006

1875-1880 Mr Charles Pratt Charles Pratt was a Picture Dealer who had been born in Leicester in 1825. In 1871 Charles was living at 10 London Road Leicester were he owned an old China and Earthenware shop, Working for him as a servant was Elizabeth Ann Westbury, aged 22. She had come to Leicester to […]

Herbert Mansfield Jenkins: December 1889 – February 1989

Many people refer jokingly to discoveries, inventions, memoirs, as jottings ‘on the back of an envelope’. This is the real thing. In 2011 Leamington History Group inherited an intriguing little archive from local historian Toby Cave. At first sight it was just a small brown cardboard box full of all kinds of scraps of paper […]

Mona Radford

Do you recognise this building with its decorative carved columns? It’s one known to generations of Leamingtonians as Sabin’s, – the Leamington bread shop and bakery in years gone by. Mona Radford, nee Sabin, was born at the shop in Farley Street, into a family business started by her great grandfather Joseph, who seems to […]

James Hill

James Hill bought the plot of leasehold land in Bath Street and the buildings thereon from the Surcombe estate in 1832, and built numbers 21 to 23 Bath Street. Hill also purchased Elizabeth Surcombe’s land at Newbold Comyn which had been mortgaged to Robert Campion. James Hill was born in about 1801 in Warwick, the […]

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer. In July 1853 he was appointed US consul in Liverpool by President Franklin Pierce, and during the ensuing 5½ years in England spent 2 periods in Leamington, in 1855 and 1857. At the end of his term of office, the family toured France and Italy, […]

Surcombe and Heard – Owners and Occupants of 21/60 Bath Street

Elizabeth Surcombe the Elder The Surcombes came from the village of Lifton near Tavistock, Devon. William Surcombe married Mary Crocker and they had four children: Mary, Ann, William and Elizabeth who was born about 1766. It is not known when Elizabeth Surcombe came to Leamington Priors but an early rate book of 1813 shows her […]

Local Olympians

In the Olympic year of 2012, let’s celebrate the achievements of some of our sporting heroes past and present who lived in or around Leamington Spa… Neil Adams, born in Rugby in 1958, won a silver medal at Judo in both the 1980 and 1984 Summer Olympics. He was the first British man to win […]