My father had only taken his story up to 1928 before illness and finally his death intervened and prevented him from writing any more. The thirties saw the further development of his stained and leaded glass business, which was thriving by 1939 when the second war intervened and killed it dead.
|Bill and Nora became involved with the League of Nations Association and attended at least two of its national conferences. Bill also became politically active in some way, although I have never known the details. He stood as an independent councillor for the new Stourbridge borough council (after it took in Lye) but was not elected. However somebody must have owed him a favour, for he was co-opted on to the council's library committee for over thirty years, and after that was appointed to various school governorships.||
|On June 18th 1938 Bill and Nora finally married, at Old Swinford church, and moved into the new house they had had built in Perrins Lane, just at the top of the steep hill. It was a wonderful example of the Art Deco style, with a flat roof, plaster rendering and the fashionable metal-frame windows, as well as some leaded lights of my father's manufacture. At the back there was a steep fall to the allotments fronting Springfield Avenue, and a glorious view over Stourbridge to the hills of Shropshire. The house was furnished in Art-Deco style too. Unfortunately in the sixties the flat roof started to leak and a conventional hipped roof was installed on top of it. This did provide us with an extra room, reached by a drop-down ladder from the top corridor, where my father installed his photographic equipment. He was never a professional photographer like my grandfather, but was an enthusiastic and accomplished amateur.|
|When the war came Bill closed down the glass business
and went to work at Austin's in Longbridge once more. It was war work, and
he also trained as a plane spotter which meant he did turns up on the factory
roof trying to identify incoming aeroplanes as friend or foe by their silhouette.
In October 1942 Bill's father died, followed four months later by his mother. With the aid of a bank loan Bill bought his dad's old photographic studio behind 175 High Street and rented it out, but the house itself was sold off. Unfortunately all the old glass-plate negatives and other remains of my grandfather's business were destroyed at his death. Had they survived they would have made a wonderful archive of Lye history.
|I was born in 1943, and my brother Arlen in 1946. After the war Bill continued to work at Austin's until 1953 when he started up the glass business again, back in the Church Road studio. For a few years it wasn't too successful, and I think our family income depended to a large extent on the money left to my mother by her father, Howard Pearson, who had died in 1948. But in the late 50s Bill formed P.H.S.Glass Ltd with two partners and diversified into new areas such as the making of mirrors, and the business became more of a success.|
In the sixties Bill began lecturing in aid of the restoration fund for Great Witley church, his subjects including the stained glass of Chartres Cathedral, Witley Court, and the history of The Lye. He was a popular lecturer and much in demand, and illustrated his talks with 35mm slides projected using a two-projector rig devised by himself which enabled him to dissolve one slide into another long before such a technique became just routine. He started to take an interest in preserving old photographs of The Lye, supplemented by many taken by himself of the town as it disappeared around him. This was the era of the Lye redevelopment scheme when many of the old streets vanished away and the character of the place changed to a very great extent, so it is good that Bill and a few others like him tried to maintain a photographic record of the place as it used to be.
As well as the routine glass business, Bill still did some stained glass work, and in the sixties and seventies produced some very attractive abstract windows, which I think are much better than the traditional work he did before the war. He retired from P.H.S.Glass Ltd in the seventies but still tinkered with stained glass.
Just after Christmas 1982 Nora died, after many years of debilitating illness. Bill sold the house in Perrins Lane and the studio in Church Road, and lived for a while with my brother Arlen and his family in St Andrews, before moving to a caravan back in Great Witley, parked in someone's back garden close to his beloved Witley Church. For a while he acted as an honorary caretaker for the church, keeping a useful eye on it and warding off vandalism and theft.
In the late eighties he began to suffer from Alzheimer's disease and moved back to St Andrews, to a flat a few hundred yards from my brother's house. Here his health continued to degenerate, and he died a few days before his 87th birthday in 1991. He was cremated at Kirkcaldy with a Church of England service, and commemorated by a well-attended memorial service at Lye Parish Church later in the same month.
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Copyright © Darroll Pardoe 1998