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Douglas Herbert Blake WrideTechnical Chemist
Full name of worker at H.M. Factory Gretna (and any other names they are known by) : Douglas Herbert Blake Wride
Date and place of birth: 28th June 1892 Shirley, Hampshire
Date and Place of Death: 14th January 1981 Oak Tree Road, Milford, Surrey
Childhood: One of 4 children
Parents : William Blake Wride and Emily nee Dunford
Parents occupations: Pharmacist
Schools / universities attended and years of attendance: University College London. Graduated December 1918
Occupation: Chemical engineer/technical chemist
Place of residence at Gretna: A6 The Ridge , Eastriggs
Marital status : Married
Children : None known
Travels : None evident
Awards/recognitions: None Known
Positions held: None
Trivia / any other information: Yes
Books published (Title, year of publication, publisher):
Books written about the individual or mentioning the individual (Title, year of publication, publisher):
Blogs about the individual:
Websites about the individual:
Further links, notes, and comments:
Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust – Gallery – ICI – Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd (welwyngarden-heritage.org)
Master of Science: Honours and Higher Degrees: Internal Students | British History Online (british-history.ac.uk)
Fatal air accidents in Britain and Ireland 1920 – 1924 (rcawsey.co.uk)
Douglas William Blake Wride 1892-1981
Douglas William Blake was the eldest of four children, all with ,multiple first names, born to William Blake Wride and Emily nee Dunford.
At the time of her birth Emily’s father was a thatcher from Milford , Salisbury. William’s father was a chemist ( pharmacist ) with his own business, in Southampton. Emily aged 15 in 1881 was a domestic servant.
She married William Blake Wride on 30th July 1891 in the Parish of St Martin’s ,Salisbury. They were both 25 and William was a chemist, following in his father’s footsteps and highly likely working alongside his father or in one of the branches. Emily’s father is described as a steward on the marriage banns.
On 28th June 1892, Douglas William Blake was born at Shirley, Southampton. William and Emily had 4 children in 13 years. Sybil Wilhelmina Blake arrived at Shirley in 1896, Ida Doris Margery Blake also at Shirley in 1900 and finally Leonard Basil William Blake in 1905 at Forest Hill, London.
In the 1901 census this family are living at 129 Hill Lane, Shirley, Southampton, William being a 34 year old chemist and druggist – own account. Emily is also 34. Douglas, Sybil and Ida are 8, 4 and 1 respectively. There are numerous newspaper advertisements of the time relating to William’s work such as the following extract from The Southern Echo Saturday 29th February 1896
“TEETH SKILFULLY EXTRACTED at Wride and Co.’s. the Cash Chemists, East Street, Southampton; High-Street, Shirley; Market-place, Romsey; and High-street, Andover. Toothache stopped instantly, gratis”
There are other reports relating to crimes and at least one suicide where medicine containers with the company name on have been found at the scene. It appears that William managed one of these Pharmacies, his brother , who we know was also a chemist, another and their father. another.
Ten years later in 1911, William has moved his family to 5 Wynell Rd, Forest Hill / Lewisham, London, a 9 room dwelling. At 44 he is described as a chemist manager, Emily is also 44. Douglas H B at 18 is now a science student. Sybil, Ida and Leonard, now 14, 11 and 6 are all at school. William and Emily have been married for 19 years and have had 4 children who have all survived.
There is no indication as to where Douglas was studying science but Master of Science: Honours and Higher Degrees: Internal Students | British History Online (british-history.ac.uk) lists Douglas as a graduate of chemistry from University College, London in December 1918. Another graduate but of Imperial College is a Frank Douglas Miles , a previous research subject who also worked at H M Factory Gretna.
The dates indicate that Douglas Wride interrupted his studies for the period when he was employed at Gretna. We know that some students of chemistry did this and thus delayed their graduation. The Affleck brothers from University of Toronto are examples. Other chemists responded to a call from the Ministry to attest with a promise of immediate promotion, a waivering of weight , height regulations and an ability to wear glasses.
Douglas Wride can be found on the valuation roll for Eastriggs for 1918-19 , a technical chemist, living at A6 The Ridge, Eastriggs. He is listed in the Dornock Farewell as D W B Wride giving an address of “The Ferns”, Wynell Road, Forest Hill. S.E. He would have been 26 in 1918.
We also learn from Freemason’s records that Dougals’s father was initiated into the Wickam Lodge of the Freemasons in 1918.
Following his stint at Gretna, Douglas a 28 year old chemical engineer of Meadowside, Gt Barr, Birmingham, married 24 year old Muriel Tronson at Hackney St John The Evangelist on 18th September 1920. Douglas’s father is listed on the marriage banns as a Pharmacist. Muriel of 215 Green Lanes , Hackney is the daughter of Henry Tronson , soldier.
When Muriel was born in 1896 at Bexley Heath, her father Henry St George Tucker Tronson was a police patrol ( baptismal record). Henry was the son of a British Army General and as born in Bengal. Muriel was one of 4 children. Sadly her mother died in 1902 when she was just 6. In 1901 Henry was a farmer living in Somerset.
In 1911 at 15 ,she was staying with her medical practitioner uncle in Norwood, London.
Two years after Douglas and Muriel married, his father died and was buried at St Bartholomew, Haslemere, Surrey.
His brother Leonard was also buried there in 1923 following a crash at RAF Shotwich Aerodrome, Chester in March. “ Air dive to death” was the report header in the Daily Mirror of 22nd March 1923.
Further details of the death of this 19 year old can be found at Fatal air accidents in Britain and Ireland 1920 – 1924 (rcawsey.co.uk).
On 27th October 1928 Muriel Douglas’s mother died at Sydenham , Kent, probate to Sybil and Ida both spinsters. Her estate was worth £ 1106 6s.
Ida married an accountant in 1929 with a South Arican connection. 7 The Old Drive Welwyn Garden
The 1939 register finds Douglas and Muriel at 7 The Old Drive, Welwyn Garden City. Douglas is a chemist at ICI. ICI were well established in Welwyn Garden City. Further information regarding the chemical industry at Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust – Gallery – ICI – Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd (welwyngarden-heritage.org)
Others in the household are Norman F Sewell , Ins. claims assessor and Marjorie Reilly- teacher dancing. It is possible that the house was split into separate floors or flats. Muriel’s father at this time was remarried and retired as a bank manager. His wife was a hotel waitress.
Sybil married in 1946 and emigrated to Australia.
The 1951 electoral register shows that Douglas and Muriel had moved to 16.Glenalmond House, Manor Field, Wandsworth, Putney and Streatham. By 1960 a similar register for Surrey lists them at 2 The hamlet, Pinewood, Wormley, Godalming, Surrey. Douglas is classified as eligible for jury service. ( J)
Muriel died at this address in 1966 aged 69 and Douglas lived until 14th January 1981 at 19 Oak Tree Road, Milford, Surrey. Probate tells us that he left an estate worth £14118. No one is cited in the probate register, He was 89.