Rex Needle: Silver teapot mystery solved by search in newspaper archive

Rex Needle article - silver teapot mystery solved
Rex Needle article - silver teapot mystery solved

The mystery of the silver teapot recently highlighted by The Local has finally been solved.

It is part of a three-piece service inherited by retired company director Tony Brooks after the death of a relative last year.

The presentation teapot, sugar bowl and milk jug were given to his grandfather by Bourne Town Football Club almost eighty years ago although the reason why was unknown.

Tony, aged 80, of Beech Avenue, Bourne, is the grandson of William Brooks who died in March 1949, aged 66. He lived in North Road, Bourne where he worked as the man from the Pru, the name given to local area representatives of the Prudential Assurance Company because their work involved meeting their clients in person at their homes.

But he was also interested in sport and a keen supporter and voluntary helper for Bourne Town Football Club where the work he did must have been greatly appreciated because when he left Bourne and retired to live at Northfield, Birmingham, the club gave him the silver tea service inscribed: “Presented to Mr W Brooks by the Bourne Town Football Club in recognition of his valued services, February 1939.”

After William Brooks died, the tea service, together with his grandfather clock, were left first to his wife, Ethel, and then when she died twenty years ago they were passed down through the family and finally handed to Tony last year as the eldest living male in the Brooks line.

But Tony was unable to find out what these valued services were and inquiries to the football club failed to produce an answer. Now a news item about the presentation has been located by the Stamford Mercury Archive Trust which looks after past issues of the newspaper in the copy for Friday 10th February 1939. The Stamford Mercury is The Local’s sister title.

The report says that the tea service was handed over during a committee meeting of the football club by the chairman, Councillor W H Smith, who was also vice-chairman of Bourne Urban District Council, “in recognition of his many years of valuable service as treasurer”.

The report goes on: “Mr Brooks has relinquished his office and is departing the town but leaves the club’s finances in, perhaps, the most healthy condition that they have ever been before.”

The mystery that has baffled the family for many years has therefore been solved. “I am so pleased to have found out what grandpa actually did for the club”, said Tony. “I knew that he must have held some important office to be honoured in this way and treasurer would be a most appropriate appointment in view of his financial experience. I am keeping a copy of the newspaper report with the tea service which will continue to be handed down through the family.”