We are delighted to publish a guest post from Dr Roger Bloor, the author of The Winged Wheel Grave of Llandudno. Dr Bloor is a retired consultant in Addiction Psychiatry and former Senior Lecturer at the University of Keele Medical School.
Introducing Dr Bloor: Following my retirement I was tempted to re-experience the joys of 1950’s childhood holidays in Llandudno and a visit to the Great Orme took in an exploration of St Tudno’s Church positioned high on the Orme with its magnificent views out to sea. As you enter the churchyard you cannot escape noticing the large white marble memorial in the shape of a Winged Wheel; closer inspection reveals that this is the final resting place of one Beatrice Blore Browne. So I started my mission to discover who Beatrice was and how she had merited such an unusual memorial. Although Beatrice and I share a surname phonetically it transpires that we are not directly related and my book explores Beatrice’s family origins, her life in Middlesbrough and Llandudno and reveals the reason for her Winged Wheel memorial.
On the windy summit of the Great Orme at Llandudno in Wales sits St Tudno’s Church with its graveyard commanding spectacular views over the open sea as the gulls whirl overhead.
One grave in particular has attracted much attention over the years, a white marble edifice carved in the form of a “winged wheel” set close to the entrance to the churchyard. The monument, the final resting place of one Beatrice Blore Browne, is intriguing and the inscription ” She feared naught but God” invites speculation as to who Beatrice was and how she came to have such an impressive memorial.
Beatrice’s story starts in the town of Middlesbrough in the 1840’s when her grandfather Robert Blore moved from Derby to work at the Middlesbrough earthenware Factory. Robert managed the factory until his death in 1868 and following his death his son Herbert took over as manager. Herbert and his wife Fanny had two children but sadly Fanny died in 1877. Herbert then remarried in 1883 to Annie Harrison and they had two children, Arthur and Beatrice.
Herbert died in 1890 and the 1891 census shows Annie living at 57 Lloyd Street Middlesbrough with Beatrice (aged 4) and Arthur (aged 7). In 1894 Annie, with a family to care for, married Edward Leach, an Irish man born in Cork in 1866 with whom she had two children Henry and Henrietta.
Edward was a trained electrician and at the turn of the century the introduction of electric lighting was producing increasing opportunities for such skilled tradesmen. Edward had secured a position as an electrician to the Llandudno Pier Company in North Wales and so it was that at the turn of the century that Beatrice Blore moved with her family to Llandudno.
The full story of Beatrice’s life in Middlesbrough and her subsequent life in Llandudno and the events which lead up to the erection of the Winged Wheel Grave memorial, a tribute to her feat of being the first woman to drive a motor car up the cable track of the Great Orme in Llandudno, are described in detail in the book ‘The Winged Wheel Grave of Llandudno’ .
The Blore family, through the work of Robert and Herbert, played an important part in the development and continuation of earthenware production at Middlesbrough for over 40 years. Robert’s skills as a ceramic modeler have been somewhat overlooked in previous descriptions of his role at Middlesbrough that have focused on his role as a manager. The surviving examples of his work during his time at Middlesbrough are in a very different style from that of the traditional Middlesbrough product and show the influence of his time at the Derby Factory and his early exposure to monumental sculpture in the Bridge Gate works of his father Joseph.
The ornate monumental style of the memorial to Robert’s granddaughter Beatrice is perhaps unwittingly a reflection of her ancestry and one that her forebears would have approved of.
The author’s book ‘The Winged Wheel Grave of Llandudno’ which is sold to raise funds for Breast Cancer UK is available from Amazon or direct from the author full details are on the website http://beatriceblorebrowne.uk/ or via the Beatrice Blore Browne Facebook page.
Beatrice died at the very young age of 34 from Breast Cancer and all the profits from the book will go to the charity Breast Cancer UK.