Royalty meets Rural Industry – December 1938


Kim Slater


80 years ago, over two thirds of Warwickshire villages boasted a blacksmith.  And 14th December 1938 was “a red letter day” for the Wellesbourne blacksmith, Mr Bettridge, as well as for the Warwickshire Rural Community Council when HRH the Duke of Kent visited Warwickshire to inspect a range of rural activities.

Mr Bettridge, seen here presenting the Duke with his handcrafted gift of a wind direction indicator, had helped us with our recently established Rural Industries Bureau.  He had “an inventive turn of mind”, and his designs included specially commissioned weather vanes, a haysweep and converting a £5 car into a machine capable of doing the work of a £200 tractor!

The Duke, as Vice Patron of the National Council of Social Service, was impressed by the range of important work we were carrying out and added, “I am glad to see the support which the people of Warwickshire have given to their Rural Community Council in its first year of existence”.  His royal recognition was greatly appreciated by all!

Find out more about our charity’s history and our plans for the future as we celebrate our 80th anniversary year.

Source: Warwickshire Journal, Photo: Leamington Courier