More evidence of the influence of the Flavel family in Leamington has come from a relative of one of their former employees.
Following our recent article about the Flavel family’s contribution to the town in the 19th and 20th century, John Glyn Prosser of Whitnash has written in with an interesting story about Sidney Flavel Junior.
He writes: “My mother Norah Prosser (nee Farmer) was employed as a junior at Flavel’s when she was 15 and later became a switchboard operator.
“When Mr Flavel went to London he would catch the 9.27 train and she was required to ring the railway station to advise them that Mr Flavel was catching the 9.27 and would they hold it.
“She then rang Mr Flavel to advise him that the train was waiting and his chauffeur then took him to the station where the train was held awaiting his arrival. As soon as he had boarded it the guard blew his whistle and the train was off.”
Her account of this can be seen in the book “More Looking Back” published by the Leamington Literary Society in 1980.
Leamington historian Alan Griffin, in his book Leamington Lives Remembered, says: “In terms of a life devoted to civic duty and philanthropy in his own town, few bear comparison with that of Sidney Flavel Junior. He lived in Leamington for all of his 84 years and no-one before or since has given more generously of his time and talents to the place of his birth.”
Sidney Flavel was born in 1846 and was always known as Sidney Junior to distinguish him from his father, also Sidney. The Flavel family owned an iron foundry and extensive factory in south Leamington where they made cast iron kitchen ranges.
The young Sidney attended Warwick School and followed his father as chairman of Flavels on his death. He was elected to the newly-formed Borough Council in 1875, later elected Alderman and served six terms as Mayor of Leamington. He chaired the local magistrates and was a founder member of Warwickshire County Council.
He was involved in the Warneford Hospital Committee, the NSPCC, Old Warwickian Association, the Conservative Association and many others.
Sidney Flavel and his wife Gertrude lived all of their married lives at Bushbury Lodge on the corner of Willes Road and St Mary’s Road. He died in March 1931, aged 84 , and is buried in the family vault in Leamington Cemetery.