Warwick Brookes 1875-1935

The son of my great grandfather's cousin.

Warwick Brookes MP, <Click> was the son of Warwick Brookes 1843-1929, the Oxford Road, Manchester Photographer. He led a colourful life, and  held a keen interest in ocean yacht racing. He was Member of Parliament for Mile End in 1916, when news of his brother's death in action came about. He was also involved in the management of some of the business interests of his brother in law, Eugen Sandow. In 1898 both he and his father Warwick 1843-1829 were directors of the company that Sandow was running as managing director. The company later failed, seemingly brought down by the losses incurred by Sandow's Cocoa and Chocolate Company (Limited), which had been set up after acquiring the interests of a German company in 1912.

Above: On Brookes' left is his daughter Claire. On his right is his niece Lorraine Sandow.

A family portrait in oil of Warwick Brookes 1875-1935

Brookes was a keen and successful yacht racer in the 6 meter class. In 1924 he purchased the ocean racer Westward. It was hoped that after a 4 year retirement spent languishing in a mud berth near Southampton, Brookes would return her to racing and her former glory. Unfortunately he had to sell her the same year. Here is the story of a modern ocean racer, Eleonora, which is a replica, launched in 2000, of the original yacht, with a brief historical summary of the original. <Click> Once on the site, click on "Westward" on the left sidebar for a potted history pdf file of Brookes' boat. Brookes' ownership information comes on page 7.

Alexander Cochran <Click> was Westward's first owner, his Captain being Charlie Barr <Click> . Cochran was aboard her maiden voyage from Rhode Island to Southampton, and so the story goes, decided to quit smoking as he boarded by throwing all his cigarettes overboard. Even a man of his wealth could not purchase more cigarettes mid-Atlantic! Apparently he was less than pleasant during his smoking abstinence, and as soon as they anchored in The Solent 14 days later, they set off in search of a tobacconist.
In 1911 Captain Charlie Barr died of a heart attack, and Cochran seemed to loose interest in racing. He had his friend Chris Christensen bring her back to the USA where she won The Astor Cup. At the end of the 1911 season Cochran sold her to Norddeutchen Regatta Verein Seefahrt, Hamburg, a syndicate of German sailors, who renamed her Hamburg II. In 1912 she sailed to join the German fleet of schooners. There, she continued to earn first place finishes, but her time would be cut short by the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914.
In 1919 she was purchased as a war prize by the flamboyant London financier Clarence Hatry <Click>, who restored her original name. Unfortunately Hatry was only able to race her for one season. In the slump that followed the war he found himself in dire financial and legal circumstances. By the time he sold her to Brookes in 1924, she had spent 4 years in retirement.
Westward was 49 metres/160 feet length overall, and in 1910, her first season, was the fastest racing schooner in the world, and remains one of the fastest over the line even now.

An early, (failed), election campaign. In the 1910 general election the seat was held by Cecil Norton, Liberal.

In the 1920's Brookes won the concession to establish the amusement park at the 1924 British Empire Exhibition in Wembley. Here is an interesting silent film clip of the amusements park. The King and Queen take a ride on the railway.

The letter head below is from his company that was set up to run that. The company also won the concession to the Paris exhibition, but this ended abruptly after an accident on the park's scenic railway.

I have inherited many original deeds, documents and wills from this Warwick Brookes' life. Below are just two relating to one of his business transactions. He acquired the 'Coventry Shoe Company' which was a retailer trading on Coventry Street, London, and was located between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, close to the London Trocadero. One of the documents is a letter to the vendor of the business he was buying, apparently on behalf of The Wembley Amusements Company, as it is on their headed paper. The second is the lease agreement to the shop premises. My understanding of all the documents I have relating to this company, is that it was originally acquired as a private enterprise of Warwick, in partnership with the owner, and later completely transferred into the ownership of the limited liability company. The original property lease is dated 1919 and is to Warwick Brookes. Transfer of ownership documents to the limited company are all dated 1924. Included in some documents are agreements, or what we would now call contracts of employment,  made with management staff of the shoe company, their responsibilities, and their salary.

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