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Elliot's "Winterbourne, Gloucestershire"

ALAN FREKE, of the Frenchay Tuckett Society, introduces a new edition of the standard history of the ancient parish that included Winterbourne, Winterbourne Down, Frenchay, Hambrook and Moorend

Most people interested in the local history of this area will know of C H B Elliott's book Winterbourne, Gloucestershire, which was first published in 1936. However, not many will know about the man behind the book.

Charles Hugh Babington Elliott was born at Winkfield Vicarage, near Windsor, on March 11 1852, the eldest son of a family of 13. He attended Brighton College and Caius College, Cambridge, where he gained both a first class Classical Tripos and a second class Theological Tripos. He was awarded his MA in 1878.

Like many of his family, his entire career was spent in education.

His brother, E H V Elliott was headmaster of Braidlea Preparatory School, Stoke Bishop, and his niece, Miss M E Popham, was headmistress of Westonbirt School and later Principal of Cheltenham Ladies College. Charles, however, was not a teacher but an inspector.

He was an assistant in Derbyshire then an inspector in Lincoln before coming to Bristol in 1884 as Bristol District Inspector. In 1904, he was appointed Divisional Inspector of the West Central Division, and the following year he also became Inspector of training colleges.

He retired from full time work in 1912, the same year that he was awarded an honorary degree by Bristol University.

He was a keen photographer, with his own darkroom in his stables, and his interest in local affairs led to him being elected the first chairman of Winterbourne Parish Council in 1895.

He married in 1893, the year he moved to Hill House, Winterbourne. His wife was Annie, widow of Commander Caesar Hawkins RN and the daughter of George Wills of Clifton.

They had three children: Charles, Mary (known as Molly) and Nancy. After Nancy was born, the family moved to Cliff Court, Frenchay, which was to be Elliot's home for the rest of his long life.

His retirement in 1912 at the age of 60 meant no let-up in his busy life.

He continued a very active interest in education and charity work, and in 1940 (when he was 88), his diary records that, in deference to his age, he had decided to give up many of his committee posts.

That still left him six school governorships, a seat on the council of St Matthias College and work as a trustee for Bristol Municipal Charities, Winterbourne Parish Charities, three charities serving the interests of the blind, and half a dozen other trusts! He is even recorded as having presided at the annual Railway Porters' Dinner at the Imperial Hotel!

His diary records that he started on his History of Winterbourne - that's the old parish including Frenchay, Hambrook and Moorend - on July 28, 1927.

This monumental task took no less than nine years to bring to fruition and it was eventually published in 1936 when he was 84. He died in 1943, aged 91.

Even today, more than 60 years later, the book remains the standard reference for all interested in the history of the area.

It has now been republished by the Frenchay Tuckett Society with the addition of a comprehensive index with over 1,000 entries. All proceeds from the book will go to the Frenchay Museum appeal.

The book is available from: The Frenchay Tuckett Society, 5 Cliff Court Drive, Frenchay, Bristol BS16 1LP price £7.50 plus £1 postage and packing.