Bryan Linnell, 1932-2002

by Cliff Burd

Bryan Linnell was born in Barton Street, Tewkesbury, in 1932, in one of the alleys he was to write about many years later. In fun, he styled himself an 'alley brat'! He attended Tewkesbury Grammar School when it was located in Church Street, often speaking fondly of his time there. At the age of 16 he enrolled as an apprentice at the RAF College at Cranfield, a prestigious organisation, renowned for high-quality training courses. After completing his training, Bryan served for a total of fifteen years with the RAF.

He was married initially to Edna, who shared his deep interest in the History of Tewkesbury, and they had two sons. Bryan worked for many years in the engineering department at Smiths Industries, Bishops Cleeve, at a time when this company led the field in the development of aircraft instrumentation.

During this time, his interest in Tewkesbury grew and he spent many hours researching the buildings, the alleys and the people of the town. He also had an interest in genealogy, both in his own family and in many of the families in Tewkesbury. He became the Honorary Curator of the Tewkesbury Museum, spending a great deal of his time in the Museum and following up requests for information from home and abroad. It is thanks to his efforts that the records are so full.

Bryan attended the initial meeting, when it was decided to form the Historical Society. At this time he had produced his book, Theot, Guppy and Wulf,which gave us information on the alleys and also, after much research, details of place and field names in and around the town - a volume which many of us have found invaluable. He later produced his book, Alley Folk, a further study of the alleys and of many of the characters who lived and worked in the town. He also had articles published in the Society Bulletin and was never afraid to be controversial - or to criticise where he felt it necessary! He was accorded Life Membership of the Society in 1998, and will be missed by those who research Tewkesbury and its people.

After the early death of Edna, Bryan married Christine, a former colleague from Smiths Industries whose own husband had died in the same year. After a gap of twenty years, they met each other at the Roses Theatre on one of Christine's rare visits to Tewkesbury. After living in Cheltenham for a while, Bryan and Christine fully retired to the Forest of Dean, where he died on 24th November 2002.

Bulletin articles by Bryan Linnell
The Cinema in Tewkesbury, Part 2Bulletin No 2 (1993)
Genealogical NotesBulletin No 3 (1994)
Tewkesbury Petty Sessions, 1850-75Bulletin No 3 (1994)
Fortress TewkesburyBulletin No 7 (1998)
Sunday, Tewkesbury SundayBulletin No 7 (1998)
Justice as done by VictoriaBulletin No 8 (1999)
Characters in a TownBulletin No 8 (1999)
Tewkesbury’s Alleys : Further NotesBulletin No 9 (2000)
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