Charles E Bebbington

Charles Bebbington lived in Poplar Cottage in the High Street. For over a century (1840-1942), it was occupied by the Bebbington family who were cabinetmakers and wood carvers, the last member being Charles Bebbington who was Church Sexton and Parish Clerk at the Parish Church for 39 years.

Historian

He published “The Parish Church of Weaverham and its Registers” in The Transactions of the Lancashire & Cheshire Antiquarian Society (TLCAS), Volume 54, p 209-250 .

The society has his notes on the numerous talks he gave on various subjects of local history.

Conservator

In “Timber Decay in Buildings: The Conservation Approach to Treatment” Brian Ridout wrote:

Injection of preservatives into flight holes has been practised in the past. Notable in this field, and a good example of the practical approach, was C E Bebbington, joiner, cabinet maker, undertaker, parish clerk and sexton of Weaverham, Cheshire. Bebbington evolved, and commercially utilized, an exotic formulation which was injected into flight holes and sealed in with a filler. He apparently developed this treatment around the turn of the twentieth century and his formulation may even predate that of Maxwell Lefroy. The formula remained a secret throughout his lifetime, but it is given in a document retained by his grandson. It can now be reported that it was a volatile poison containing camphor, formalin and oil of cassia mixed in wood naptha and diluted with methylated spirits prior to injection.  Holes and cavities were then filled with an ‘earth’  . . .  The injection mixture must have been a very unpleasant working environment, yet it was apparently successful and Bebbington continued to receive commissions throughout his working life.

The relevant section is viewable in Google Books at http://books.google.com/books?id=0hkU03rta7UC&lpg=PP1&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

Cricketer

The first recorded President of Weaverham Cricket Club was the Rev S R N Rees, a curate at the Parish Church and the link with the Parish Church continued until 1929 through successive vicars holding the office of President. It is not then surprising that Charles Bebbington also played an important part in the history of the club and he was club captain in 1889.  The following quotes are from the Cricket Club’s Centenary book.

Charles Edward Bebbington was one of the mainstays of the Club during the first 60 years of its existence. He served the Club both as secretary and captain during his playing days and then as chairman for over 20 years, up to his death in 1943 at the age of 79.  Charles Bebbington was a man of integrity and dignity and was greatly respected by everyone, and in consequence the Club benefitted immensely from his efforts. A memorial in his beloved Parish Church of St Mary’s, at which he served as Parish Clerk and Sexton for 39 years, bears the epitaph “He was a good man.” This sentiment is echoed by everyone connected with Weaverham Cricket Club. Following six successive years as secretary by C E Bebbington, the post has been held by a succession of loyal and efficient members.

One of the biggest steps taken by the club was the decision, taken in 1932, to purchase the ground. The rent at that time was £10 per year. The committee minute book captures so well the varying emotions and mood of the Special General Meeting on the 22nd February 1932, that an extract is repeated here: “The meeting was called on the receipt of a letter from the solicitors of Mr Plaice, who having bought the Marbury Estate (which included the cricket ground), informed us that the ground was for sale. Mr M Fletcher had been corresponding with Mr Plaice’s solicitors and told the meeting that the ground was for sale for £450.  It was thought that the sum was too big for the club to raise, until Mr C E Bebbington (chairman) brought forth a telegram which he had received a few hours previously, stating that Mr R Smith-Barry would give half of the cost of the ground to the club. When this generous offer was received all round, the meeting discussed as to the best way of raising the other half. Mr Bebbington was asked to write to Mr R Smith-Barry thanking him for his generous offer. Decided that the ground be held by Trustees and the Trustees elected were: Mr W R Birch, Mr E Breeze, Mr M Fletcher and Mr F C Stubbs.” Mr E Breeze, vice president, loaned the club the remaining £225 and the club paid interest amounting to £12 per year.

The minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the 22nd April 1932 records: “A vote of thanks to Mr Fletcher, Mr Smith-Barry, Mr E Breeze and Mr Richmond for the support and valuable help which they had given the club during the anxious time when the cricket field was changing hands” and also “A very hearty vote of thanks accorded to Mr C E Bebbington for his work carried out in co-operation with Mr Smith-Barry and Mr Richmond.” The thanks of the present generation of members are due to these gentlemen and the committee members of that time for the foresight and generosity shown by them all.

 

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