Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Recalling Sir Michael Shersby

For many years, I used to know Sir Michael Shersby, Conservative MP for Uxbridge and his family. I used to work for him in a garden just off Park Road, Stoke Poges. Like so many other people who knew, or met him, I found him to be very charming, and courteous.

Among other things, he pointed out to me that it was my statutory right to have  a break in my gardening work. Often, the break occurred in the  conservatory where we had some interesting chit chat along with pure coffee, and biscuits. His wife Barbara was usually present. Sometimes, his son Julian was also around. On rare occasions, there was a visitor such as Dominic West, the actor.

Working for Michael was a most pleasant experience, and difficult to express......

Just after he managed to win back his seat after the General Election of 1997 he died suddenly, and unexpectedly at his London Flat....Like everyone else who knew him I was in shock...

The following is a reproduction entry on him from Wikipedia plus photo....

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Sir Michael Shersby
Michael Shersby.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Uxbridge
In office
7 December 1972 – 8 May 1997
Preceded byCharles Curran
Succeeded byJohn Randall
Personal details
Born(1933-02-17)17 February 1933
Ickenham, Middlesex
Died8 May 1997(1997-05-08) (aged 64)
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Barbara Barrow
Sir Michael Shersby (17 February 1933 – 8 May 1997) was a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. He was Member of Parliament for Uxbridge.

Early life[edit]

Shersby was born to Bill and Nora Shersby at his parents home at 9 Court Road, Ickenham (an area destined to become part of his Parliamentary constituency throughout his nearly 25 years as an MP) on 17 February 1933. Christened Julian Michael, he was known primarily as Michael by the age of ten. He had an older brother Dick (also known as Harold), an older sister Marjorie, and a younger brother Brian. Shersby's father Bill was employed for many years by the Port of London Authority, as an administration manager.
Shersby's parents were very keen for all of their four children to be academically successful. Accordingly, Michael Shersby first attended the local Breakspear primary state school [1] and was later sent by his parents to The John Lyon School, an independent school in Harrow, for his secondary education. However, for a variety of reasons, Shersby left school at sixteen and in 1949 he started his working career in a humble clerical position at a company in London. Shersby continued to live with his family in Ickenham until 1958, when, at the age of 25, he married Barbara Barrow from West Drayton (also part of the Uxbridge constituency), and they moved to London. Shersby qualified as a trained Conservative party agent during the 1950s and worked in that capacity in his early 20s for a number of years before then pursuing a career in the British industrial film industry between 1958 and 1966 and then subsequently between 1966 and 1988 he was Director General of the British Sugar Bureau, the trade association of the British sugar industry.


Shersby's career as an elected political representative began in 1959 when he was first elected as a borough councillor on Paddington Borough Council for Maida Vale North ward and he then continued to serve for the Maida Vale ward of Westminster City Council from 1964 to 1970 after Paddington was subsumed into the new larger unitary Council's area. He served as Deputy Lord Mayor on Westminster City Council from 1967 to 1968.[2]
Shersby was first elected to Parliament at a 1972 by-election that followed the sudden death of Charles Curran, who had re-taken the seat for the Conservatives from Labour's John Ryan in the 1970 general election. This was a by-election Shersby had not been expected to win since it took place in the depths of unpopularity of the Heath Government and on the same night that Shersby was elected to Parliament (December 7, 1972) the Conservatives lost the considerably safer seat of Sutton and Cheam by a large majority after a huge swing against the party there to the Liberal party. But in Uxbridge Shersby managed to hang on to a seat taken back from Labour for the Conservatives by Charles Curran in 1970, even though the majority fell from 1970's 3646 votes to a rather less comfortable 1,178 votes that night. His local roots as an Ickenham born lad probably helped him considerably in that election and over the years he consistently built up his majority to a high point of 15,970 votes in the 1987 general election by establishing a reputation as an extremely committed and hardworking backbench MP more interested in being able to pursue single issues he believed in rather than pursuing the trappings of power as a minister at what would have been the expense of his political independence.
He received an Honorary Doctorate from Brunel University in 1994[3] and was knighted in 1995 for his longstanding years of service in Parliament [4]

Private members' bills[edit]

In the period since the Second World War (and probably also over a much longer period than that) he holds a record by any single MP or member of the House of Lords, during their Parliamentary career, for the introduction of the largest number of Private Members Bills (eight) to receive the Royal Assent and become law as documented in the Parliamentary publication The Success of Private Members's Bills. The eight bills to be passed into law following his introduction of them into Parliament through the Private Members' Bill Route are as follows:-
1974 - Town and Country Amenities, 1974 - Parks Regulation (Amendment), 1975-76 Stock Exchange (Completion of Bargains) 1979-80 Gaming (Amendment), 1981-82 Copyright Act 1956 (Amendment), 1982-83 British Nationality (Falkland Islands), 1993-94 Firearms (Amendment), 1996-97 Pharmacists (Fitness To Practice)

Hillsborough disaster[edit]

His role as Parliamentary Adviser to the Police Federation following the Hillsborough disaster is described in the conclusions of the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report.[5]
Following a meeting with the Yorkshire Police Federation, Shersby was invited to assist in the development of a ‘counter attack’ to ‘repudiate’ Lord Justice Taylor’s Interim Report, which had condemned the evidence and testimony of senior police officers and rejected as exaggerated the allegations made against Liverpool fans. Lord Taylor had stated categorically that fans’ behaviour played no part in the disaster. Records of the meeting show that the Police Federation considered the Interim Report was unfair and unbalanced.


After nearly 25 years in Parliament he died completely unexpectedly at the age of only 64, from a heart attack, only seven days after being re-elected to Parliament in the 1997 general election. The resulting by-election was won by local department store owner John Randall.
Sir Michael was survived by his wife of 39 years (Barbara) and his two children, Julian and Lucy. Lucy stood as Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Battersea in the 2001 general election but was not elected while Julian served as a Conservative councillor on Mole Valley District Council between 1999 and 2006.



  1. Jump up ^ Skinner, James (2005). Images of England: Ickenham. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-3411-X. 
  2. Jump up ^ Obituary: Sir Michael Shersby Patrick Cosgrove. The Independent. 9 May 1997
  3. Jump up ^ Brunel University (1 April 2011). "Sir Michael Shersby - 1994". Brunel University. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  4. Jump up ^ London Gazette Supplement - 17th June 2005
  5. Jump up ^ http://hillsborough.independent.gov.uk/repository/report/HIP_report.pdf

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Charles Curran
Member of Parliament for Uxbridge
Succeeded by
John Randall

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Eton College

Eton, and Eton College is very close to where I live.  The latter is famous for having had many pupils who have gone onto to having very successful high flying careers..
Anyhow, in order to get to Windsor I have to go through Eton.....This is a pleasant trip. To get to Windsor just takes under an hour on foot.
It was at Eton College back in the 1970s that I went to a lecture by David Fanshawe on his musical magnus opus of African Sanctus. It was intriguing.
Towards the end of every year, the College has a Fair which can be very crowded, and interesting with an abundant supply of goods for sale. The proceeds go to charity.


Windsor, and Windsor Castle

From around 1966 to 1977 I lived in Royal Windsor. The following are two links. One on the town, and the other on the famous Windsor Castle.




An aerial photograph of a castle, with three walled areas clearly visible, stretching left to right. Straight roads stretch away in the bottom right of the photograph, and a built-up urban area can be seen outside the castle on the left. In the upper right a grey river can just be seen.

An aerial view of the castle: (l to r) the Lower Ward, the Middle Ward and Round Tower, the Upper Ward, with the Long Walk in the lower right hand corner......

A photograph of a white-grey stone castle, running left to right; trees are in the foreground, with a large white tower the most prominent part of the castle in the middle of the shot.


From the year 1990 I have lived in Slough, and know its roads, and shops very well....The High Street has been my special haunt, and on occasion I have whistled many a tune!!


Aerial View of Slough Trading Estate.JPG


Chalvey is part of Slough, and is the place I live in at the time of writing this note. Not much about it appears in the Wikipedia  article but I have done a copy of it pasted below plus some other stuff.

There are quite a lot of Bulgarians, Romanians, and Polish people living in Chalvey. As it is part of Slough it also has a high proportion of Indians.

I live in a council flat nearly opposite St Peter's Church. The latter sometimes hosts jumble sales, and second-hand book sales......



Chalvey - St Peter's Church - geograph.org.uk - 1114632.jpg

St Peter's Church

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Legacy of Brian, and Wilma Rittershausen

Brian, and Wilma Rittershausen were relatives on my father's side. Back in around 1980, I went to their orchid nursery. It was quite fascinating, and I was escorted around by Wilma whom I got on very well with. Later, I saw Brian (her brother) at home, and he seemed a pleasant enough chap. Sadly, both brother, and sister are no longer with us...They died quite recently, but their legacy to the world of orchids lives on thankfully. The following is a basic account about them, and their work. However, it is in the present tense...but it gives a good basic insight into their world......RS

Image of Brian and Wilma Book
Brian and Wilma Rittershausen are the professional landscape designers in UK. They are the brother and sister pair in the field of flowering Orchids. Brain and Wilma Rittershausen have orchids in the blood. It has been their family occupation, knowing everything about Orchids. Orchid fascination has been continuing since three generations.
The Brian and Wilma Rittershausen family runs Burnham Nurseries, just outside Newton Abbot. Burnham Nurseries was started by the authors' father, PRC Rittershausen in 1940s.
Brian and Wilma Rittershausen say that "The good news is that the despite being so exotic, orchids are actually not too difficult to grow...as long as you know what you're doing. And, with around 130,000 different types of orchid in the world, there's plenty of variety to choose from."

Awards and Achievements of Brian and Wilma Rittershausen

  • The orchids at their Devon nursery have won them gold medals at the major flower shows.
  • There are thousands of different varieties of orchid at the nursery, which has won some 15 Gold Medals at the Chelsea Flower Show.
  • Brian Rittershausen is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society Orchid Committee, while Wilma edited The Orchid Review for 15 years.

Books Authored by Brian and Wilma Rittershausen

They authored many books with some of the big gardening experts. They have published a number of books on orchids.
  • Orchids for Every Home - Wilma Rittershausen and Brian Rittershausen
  • Orchids - Wilma Rittershausen
  • The Complete Book of Orchid Growing - Peter McKenzie Black, Wolfgang Rysy, and Wilma Rittershausen
  • Complete Book of Orchid Growing - Peter McKenzie Black and Wilma Rittershausen
  • The Gardener's Guide to Growing Orchids - Wilma Rittershausen
  • The Gardener's Guide to Growing Your Own Orchids? - Wilma Rittershausen
  • Growing & Displaying Orchids: A Step-By-Step Guide - Wilma Rittershausen, Gill Oakey, and David Oakey
  • An Illustrated Guide to Growing Your Own Orchids - Wilma Rittershausen
  • Introducing Orchids - Wilma Rittershausen and Brian Rittershausen: In this book there are tips on growing conditions and cultivation, and on buying healthy orchids. The book is packed with bright, colourful close-up photos of orchids. The first section, A World of Orchids, introduces readers to species and hybrid orchids. The second section, Orchid Extravanganza, features 80 different orchids - divided into three categories for growers: easy, fairly easy and needs care. The final section is Cultivating Orchids, which gives advice on how to achieve the best results.
 The following is from Google Images of mainly book covers of published writings by Brian, and Wilma.

Recalling Childhood Memories...

I do not have much of a memory at all of  childhood. But here is listing of what I recall excluding the actual recall of being born, or re...