Blue Plaque for Harry Grindell MatthewsThe first blue plaque in South Gloucestershire was erected on The Grove, Winterbourne High Street, on Tuesday, 17th March to commemorate the childhood home of Harry Grindell Matthews, the inventor of the world's first mobile phone, automatic pilot, submarine detection device, optical soundtracks, a sky projector, aerial defence systems and the infamous "death ray". Councillor Allan Higgs and Mrs Margaret Stephens, (nee James) a great-niece of Mr Matthews, unveiled the plaque. The Parish Council and Mr Jonathan Foster, who also held a book launch at Winterbourne Library, purchased the plaque jointly. Parish Councillors, local people and children from Elm Park School attended the event. After the ceremony The Grove hosted a buffet lunch.
For more details of Harry Grindell-Matthews, visit the definitive website by Jonathan Foster.
Why not buy the excellent biography by Jonathan Foster?
It's on sale online at # ypd books at £11-99.
For more information about Harry, see also # Winterbourne Family History Online
Harry Grindell-Matthews was born at Winterbourne Court and educated at a Dame's School in Alveston. He appears to be one of seven children born to Daniel (yeoman farmer) and Jane Rymer between 1869 and 1882 in Winterbourne.
12 Sep 1869 bap Jane Rymer Grindell dau of Daniel & Jane Rymer Matthews Winterbourn Yeoman John Thompson 8 Jan 1871 bap Frances Mary dau of Daniel & Jane Rymer Matthews Winterbourn Yeoman Frank Burges 8 Nov 1874 bap Charlotte Sarah Daniel & Jane Rymer Matthews Winterbourn Farmer Edward Langley 30 Sep 1876 bap William Alfred Daniel son of Daniel & Jane Rymer Matthews Winterbourn Farmer AH Austen Leigh, Rec 28 April 1878 bap Alfred Doward Daniel & Jane Rymer Matthews Winterbourn Farmer AH Austen Leigh, Rec 13 June 1880 bap Harry Grindell Daniel & Jane Rymer Matthews Winterbourn Farmer AH Austen Leigh 23 July 1882 bap Eliza Young bn 20 June 82 Daniel & Jane Rymer Matthews Winterbourn Farmer AH Austen Leigh
His company failed in 1914
Copyright 1914, The Times
Wednesday, Jan 14, 1914
HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE.
(Before MR. JUSTICE ASTBURY.)
The usual winding-up orders were made in the
case of the following companies:--
Grindell-Matthews Wireless Telephone Syndicate
He is the inventor of the "talkies" although British film producers didn't see any future in anything other than silent films. Grindell-Matthews did most of his work at Pilning, and the first full-scale experiments took place in the ballroom of the New Passage Hotel. Grindell-Matthews abandoned the idea but after ten years the American Film industry took it up.
He married Ganna Walska, a concert singer.
Copyright 1937, The Times
Monday, August 23, 1937
Mr. H. GRINDELL-MATTHEWS AND MME.
A marriage has been arranged, and will take
place shortly, between Harry Grindell-
Matthews, of Tor Cloud, Clydach, and
Ganna Walska, of Chateau Galloise, Paris.
Copyright 1941, The Times
Friday, Sep 12, 1941
MR H. GRINDELL-MATTHEWS
The death was announced from Swansea Valley yesterday of Mr. Harry Grindell-Matthews, electrical research scientist, who was particularly interested in air defence. Some years after the last War he claimed to have invented a "death-ray," and there was considerable public controversy as to its merits.
Born on March 17, 1880, he was educated at Bristol Merchant Venturers' College, and when 19 he volunteered for service in the South African War, He served throughout the campaign, and was wounded twice. The possibilities of wireless telephony early attracted him, and in 1911 at Cardiff he succeeded in establishing wireless telephonic communication with an aeroplane in flight, and he is also said to have sent the first Press message by radio telephone from Newport to Cardiff. In 1912 he gave a " command " demonstration at Buckingham Palace of wireless communication between two motor-cars. When the last War broke out he devoted himself to the investigation of scientific means for making the seas safe for British shipping. He invented a means of controlling ships by the beam of a searchlight, and, by the same method, of firing guns. His claims were subjected to exhaustive tests by the British Government, who paid him a large sum for his work. He also invented submarine detecting devices.
After the War Mr. Grindell-Matthews turned his interests to films, and in 1921 he forestalled the introduction of the " Talkies " by making a sound film of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Unfortunately for him his patents had expired by the time America became " talkie " conscious. In 1926-27 he was consulting expert on sound film production to Warner Brothers, United States. Later he demonstrated what he called a " sky projector" by means of which, he claimed, it would be possible to throw "pictures" on to the ceiling of the sky. Another of his inventions about that time was a "lumina-phone," a device by means of which an organ could be played by a beam of light. Early in 1938 Mr. Grindell-Matthews married Mrs. Ganna Walska, the former concert singer.