William Davies 1850-1924 Oswestry Garage Proprietor

William (Bill) Davies  1850—1924     

picture 1The first proven information of William Davies is when he marries Anne Jones a dressmaker who originates from Guilsfield, Montgomeryshire.  The wedding is at the Parish Church, St Mary’s Oswestry on September 19th 1871.  William is 21 years old and a labourer and Anne is 23.

On the 1881 census William and Anne are living in Bailey St. Oswestry.  William is a Cabinet Maker employing one man and he originates from Staffordshire.  They have a daughter Naomi who is 6 years old.  However it is fairly certain that Naomi is adopted as there is no record of her birth and on the 1911 census Anne says she has not given birth to any children.

On the 1891 census they are living at 18, Bailey St, Oswestry. William is still a Cabinet Maker etc. and Anne and Naomi are at the same address.  There is also a lodger FG Wooldridge a saddler aged 32 from Buckingham.  Interestingly, although Mr Wooldridge moves away from the immediate area he must remain close to the family as he is one of the pall bearers at William Davies’s funeral in 1924.

By 1895 William and Anne have moved to Cambrian Mews where William has a Posting Establishment and furniture remover.  ( From Kelly’s Directory )

In 1898 William and Anne’s daughter Naomi marries Albert Kinsey.

On the 1901 census William and Anne are living at Cambrian Mews and William is described as a Livery Stable Proprietor and is an employer.  He says he is from Portobello, Staffordshire.

The photograph below shows William Davies riding his horse on the right of the picture at the head of the procession.  (It is not known what the procession was for). This would be when he had Livery Stables at Cambrian Mews in Oswald Road.

picture 2Kelly’s directory in 1906 describes William as a Carriage Builder and Cab Proprietor at Cambrian Mews.

The 1911 census finds them still at Cambrian Mews although the address is 2 Eden St., Cambrian Mews, Oswald Road, Oswestry, and he describes himself as a Livery Stable Proprietor.  They have one servant; Alice Ann Williams aged 54, born in Oswestry. He was probably in the process of changing from horses to motorised vehicles at this time.

By 1924 William Davies had built up a considerable garage business, known as Cambrian Garage, and the picture at the top of page 1 is of him with one of his lorries.

Sadly, in 1924 when he was unloading telegraph poles in Llansantffraid one of the poles fell and killed him.  He was aged 73, a fit man and still very much involved with the business. A very detailed inquest was held in Llansantffraid just a few days after the accident happened.

William Davies’s funeral was held the following week with many people attending and many floral tributes.

After the funeral William Davies’s wife Anne Davies put the following announcement in the Oswestry Advertiser: The announcement said ”Mrs William Davies begs to announce picture 3that the business— will in future be carried on by her with the assistance of Mr. Stanley Kinsey (her grandson) as manager.

In thanking the Public for the patronage given to her late husband, Mrs Davies solicits a continuance of its support for herself.

The garage certainly carried on until at least 1929.  It is believed that the building was used as an egg packing plant during the war. picture 4

It would appear that the wording on the building  which was The Cambrian Garage in Oswald Road can still just be made out.               .

William Davies was buried in Oswestry Town Cemetery on 3rd April 1924 Burial N0. 9946 Section T Grave 24.   His wife Anne died in 1941 at the age of 92.

Kelly’s Directory in1929 says: WSD Kinsey (William Davies’s grandson)  Motor Garage, Oswald Road.

 picture 5


OSWESTRY GARAGE PROPRIETOR’S SAD DEATH     (From Oswestry Advertiser  9/4/1924)

Killed while unloading Timber

Inquest at Llansantffraid

The news of the tragic death of a well-known figure in the town, Mr. William Davies, Cambrian Garage, Oswald Road, Oswestry, came as a great shock to the older residents, on Saturday, when it was learnt that he had been killed while unloading timber in Llansantffraid.

It was rather a melancholy coincidence that Mr Davies before he was knocked down, was preparing to return from Llansantffraid to attend a funeral of a relative at Llynclys on Saturday afternoon.

The story of how Mr William Davies, aged 73, garage ptoprietor, Cambrian Garage, Oswald Road, Oswestry, met his death was related to the coroner for the Llanfyllin division (Dr C. E. Humphreys) when he held an inquest with a jury at the Sun Hotel, Llansantffraid, on Monday.  The deceased was a well known figure in the Oswestry district and despite his advancing years was very active, and took a keen interest in his business.

Born in Llanymynech district (actually Staffordshire—Carol–),Mr Davies had resided in Oswestry for many years, where he had carried on business as a posting master in Oswestry, supplying horses for the fire engine, and in recent years, with the advent of motors, he developed a large garage business.  He is survived by his widow and one married daughter, Mrs Kinsey, York Street, Oswestry.

THE INQUEST.  Mr Alfred Geoffrey Maddock Crawley was appointed foreman of the jury. William Stanley Davison Kinsey, Cambrian garage, Oswald Road, Oswestry, identified the body as his Grandfather, William Davies.  The last time that he saw him alive was about 11.30 am on Saturday at the garage in Oswald Road.  Deceased, who was a strong healthy man, appeared to be in his usual health.  They had conversed together about business matters before Mr Davies left for Llansantffraid.

AN ELECTRICIAN’S STORY.  Archibald Rennie Gamble, 285 Belgrave Gate,Leicester, electrician, said that he was in charge of the installation of the electric light in the village.  He did not know deceased.   The company had bought some poles at Park Hall Camp, Oswestry from Mr Goodswin.  On Friday he was arranging with Mr Goodswin re the moving of the poles and made arrangements with the deceased on the telephone to bring them from Park Hall to Llansantffraid for 17s 6d per load.  Mr Goodswin made the arrangements and he simply confirmed them on the telephone.  Witness was having dinner when the accident happened and therefore did not see it.

Mr Kinsey: I arranged with Mr Gamble and not Mr Davies. Continuing, Mr Gamble said that he was called down and found that a pole had fallen on Mr Davies and had killed him.  He did not see the body, only deceased’s feet.  There were three large poles on the lorry and one had been taken off.  The poles were about 27ft long and from 12 to 15 inches in thickness.  Witness was present when the first load arrived but did not see the second load.  The first load had been brought earlier in the day.  Deceased had spoken with witness when first load arrived.  Davies had asked him who was going to be boss of the unloading.  Davies then said, “it seems to me that there are too many bosses here”.  He (witness) told Davies that he had better be boss of the loading.  Deceased then said “Come on boys, I will take full responsibility.”  Witness said that he helped to unload the first load and Davies seemed to be in good health.  It was assumed that in every case the delivery of the poles also meant the unloading.

A juryman:  Where was the necessary tackle for unloading the poles? Gamble:  There was none.  We have unloaded many of these poles and have never had an accident before.  The accident was due to the brakes being taken off the lorry.  Another juryman:  When you deliver goods, does it mean that you have to unload?  Did Mr Davies help to load at Park Hall?   The Coroner:  that matter can be dealt with by other witnesses.   ?  said that many poles had been ? ? ?  previous cases they had simply been dropped off the lorry.  Mr Davies had said that he would take full responsibility for the unloading.

AN INJURED MAN.  Robert Davies,  Celyn Cottage, Weston Rhyn, ? driver, said that he was in the employ of the deceased.  He drove the lorry from the place that they loaded at Park Hall on to the main road, and then Mr Davies took over.  Mr Davies was in charge of the loading at Park Hall.  He was sitting next to Mr Davies all the way to Llansantffraid, and they didn’t have much conversation.  They broke their journey at Oswestry to get dinner.  Just before they arrived at the Mill the deceased said, “I am going to tell you now what to do  and you won’t want telling when we arrive.  As soon as we get there you jump off and undo the ropes as quickly as you can, as I want to get back to Llynclys.”  They got to the Mill at about 2.15pm.  Witness jumped off the lorry as quickly as he could and undid the ropes.  There were three or four men belonging to the electric light works present who lent a hand.  Witness went on the lorry and undid the top ropes and Davies took the bottom ropes.  The lorry was at a standstill and the brakes where on.  As soon as they got to work deceased told two other men to get on the lorry and lift the pole down.  Witness was on the off side and he was under the pole.  He could not see the deceased, but judging by the sound of his voice he must have been on the ground in front of the lorry.  The men got the pole lifted to their shoulders, and Davies shouted that he was going to take the break off and let the lorry run forward.  Witness shouted “wait a minute” but deceased did not.  The lorry ran forward and the men bore the weight of the pole for a time but in the end had to give way.  Witness was forced off the lorry and fell to the ground.  He was unconscious and could only remember seeing the deceased lying on the ground on the far side of the lorry.  Witness understood that it was part of the contract to unload the lorry.  Juryman:   Had any of the poles been unloaded? Witness  :  The poles were unloaded on the first load by pulling them off from the back

AN EYE WITNESS’S STORY  John Moralle, Church View, Llansantffraid, labourer, employed by Mr Gamble on the new electric light scheme, in giving evidence said that he was down at the Mill at 2.30pm when the second load arrived. The deceased blew his horn when he arrived and then undid the ropes.  Robert Davies undid the ropes on the top of the waggon.  When he brought the first load Mr Davies had said that he would be responsible for the unloading.  The deceased ordered two more of the men to go on top of the lorry to lift the poles down.  The deceased then said that he would let the break off, and as a result the lorry ran two or three yards forward.  The deceased was on the off-side of the lorry and took a pace back.  One of the poles toppled over the side and struck Mr Davies on the head with great violence.  The deceased fell to the ground and death was instantaneous .  As a result of the lorry moving Robert Davies was struck down and witness was struck on the foot by the pole which he was holding.  He went to the deceased but he was dead.

POLICE CONSTABLE’S EVIDENCE.   P.C. Charles Edward Hammonds said that on Saturday about 2.30pm he received information of the incident and was on the scene at 2.?pm   Deceased was lying by the lorry and had a bruise on his head.  His left side was ?  ? and his head was damaged.  He was quite dead.  Witness then rendered first aid to Robert Davies.  The deceased man was not bleeding.  The body was afterwards removed to the Sun Hotel.

Recalled to give evidence, Mr Kinsey said that he had made the transaction on the telephone and it was not Mr Davies.  All Mr Davies did was to drive the lorry.  The original quotation which he gave was £1 per load, but was told that men would be available to load at Park hall and also to unload at Llansantffraid.  That was why the price was dropped.  Responsibility for the delivery was undertaken by Mr Davies.

THE VERDICT  The coroner said that they had gone into the case most fully.  From the evidence which was given it was seen that everything pointed to a case of accidental death.  The pole fell when the break was taken off, and death took place instantly and was due to ? of the brain. The foreman, in returning the verdict, said that the jury had considered that the affair was a pure accident and that no-one was to blame.  They returned a verdict of “Accidental death”.  The jury wished to pass a vote of sympathy with the widow and family in their bereavement.

The Coroner:  I knew Mr Davies personally and wish to sympathise with the widow and family. Mr Kinsey thanked the jury and coroner for their kind vote of sympathy.

The funeral takes place tomorrow (Thursday)

Carol Fahey