Thursday, 29 November 2012

Ledger of House Contents, 38 Park Lane 1919

View Larger Map

The residence marked 'A' on the Google Street view above is the present day 128 Park Lane, London. Back in 1908 this was number 38 Park Lane, but was officially re-numbered as 128 from 1934. This can be seen here: Survey of London Website, which also lists residents through history.

One resident was Mr. Warwick Brookes, (1875-1935), his wife Beatrice (nee Waldenstrom), and their children John and Claire. Amongst my Brookes memorabilia I have a gold leaf, leather bound ledger, which was prepared in December 1919 as an inventory of house contents by Messrs. Waring & Gillow Ltd., valuers, of 180 Oxford Street, London. The book lists each room, complete with all contents, and their value. The total value of contents can be seen below, which by present day standards is huge. Other interesting facts to emerge are the large number of servants employed, as can be seen from the list of the values of their possessions, and also the fact that the family obviously owned drawings by my grt grt grandfather, (Brookes' father's uncle), but didn't attach any great value to them, as they are all hung in the housekeeper's room, with individual values of around 10/- (50p).

The house is documented as being owned at this time by Sir Edward Mackay Edgar, a Canadian-British banker. He was a keen power boat racer and won the The Harmsworth Trophy in two consecutive years, 1912 and 1913 with his boat Maple Leaf IV. See also British International Harmsworth Trophy. The previously mentioned associate of Brookes, Lord Hardwick held a similar interest and owned his own boat Glisseuse, an 18 foot hydroplane, in 1910. I can only presume that the shared interest in boats and racing, (although Brookes' interest was in yacht racing), led to the association with Brookes, thus leading to him renting the property from Mackay Edgar. During the 1920's crash, Mackay Edgar shared the same fate as Brookes, - bankruptcy.

S.S. Borodino

A family portrait in oil, Warwick Brookes

During the early years of the 20th Century Warwick Brookes 1875-1935 became a successful and wealthy businessman as managing director of The Junior Army And Navy Stores, whose registered office was York House, 15 Regent Street, London S.W.1.

At the start of the Great War the company won the naval contract to supply His Majesty's Grand Fleet with stores and supplies, and a ship, the S.S Borodino, was made available to be used in this ambitious venture as a merchant fleet auxiliary. The contract ran between December 1914 and February 1919, and later, a book documenting the exploits of this ship was published on behalf of the company. The book can be read in full here: S.S.Borodino M.F.A Number 6.  and it contains many interesting photographic plates.

An Interesting Photograph

An interesting photograph has just been found amongst the family. Here it is:

There is a helpful caption hand written on the back which states: Lord Hardwicke, RT, Warwick Brookes, Major General Francis Lloyd.

Warwick Brookes is easy to identify, he is the one with the Panama hat. So, Lord Harwicke will be on the left. I presume RT next to him will be Brookes' lifelong friend Captain Reginald Tyrell, and the one with the moustache will then be Francis Lloyd. The family member who gave me this, Brookes' granddaughter, believes the location to be somewhere in Southern France, but if I was asked to guess, I would say Isle of Wight. By the gentlemen's attire the occasion is obviously linked to Brookes' hobby of ocean yacht racing, and the date? It is documented that Francis Lloyd was born 12th August 1853, and died 26th February 1926, so I would put the date of this image in the early 1920's. Warwick Brookes was managing director of The Junior Army and Navy Stores, who won a naval contract to supply the fleet during the 1914-18 war. Reginald Tyrell was also a director of that company.

The movie clip below is from testing Maple Leaf V for the race to be held at the 1920 Cowes Regatta, in which Brookes' yacht Susanne took part in its own class, and won against the King's yacht Britannia. The motor boats Maple Leaf V and Maple Leaf VI were owned by another friend, colleague and in fact landlord of Brookes - Sir Edward Mackay Edgar, a Canadian born banker, who owned the house on Park Lane, London, where Brookes lived at that time. Here is the story of the 1920 Harmsworth Trophy Race, held during Cowes Regatta week in that year: 1920 Harmsworth Trophy.

Major General Francis Lloyd had a distinguished military career, and during the First World War, was responsible for the defence of London, particularly from Zeppelin attack. More information can be found here: Major General Francis Lloyd.

There are several film clips of Lloyd during the 1914-1918 period in London. Here is one of them from 1917: