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The Reyrolle Story: 56 - Conclusion

Robert Owen winds up his history of one of the most illustrious manufacturing concerns on Tyneside.

To purchase a copy of Robert's book please visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reyrolle-Story-History-Co-Ltd/dp/1905295073/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245678876&sr=1-1

Whatever the future, Alphonse Reyrolle's memory is sadly neglected on Tyneside. Was this because he was a Frenchman and after his death his wife and son returned to France never to return? Or, was it because he happened to die in 1919 when the local community were more concerned with paying tribute to those who lost their lives in World War I?

There was never a permanent memory to Alphonse Reyrolle in Hebburn, or a commemorative plaque within his former Company. It is also doubtful whether many people would have remembered the French entrepreneur if the newly formed Reyrolle Heritage Trust had not celebrated the Company's Centenary in 2001.

The only physical memory to Alphonse Reyrolle on Tyneside is, sadly, the impressive memorial stone on his grave in Elswick Cemetery, which unfortunately states his age as 55 instead of 54 years.

Among the engineers of the time, William Armstrong was rewarded with a peerage, Charles Parsons got a knighthood and Charles Palmer a statue in Jarrow. Forty years after his death, Alphonse Reyrolle got a small block of flats named after him in Hebburn. In 2007 they await possible demolition to facilitate a new supermarket.

The memory of Reyrolle is also recorded on a two minute audiotape at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle and there used to be a display stand at South Shields Museum. However, surpnsmgly the greatest present-day use ofthe Reyrolle name takes place on the football field. A senior team called Hebburn Reyrolle operate in Northern Alliance League and at least seven teams use the Reyrolle name while playing in local iunior leagues. When Reyrolle Rovers play Reyrolle Lightning in the Hebburn Towii! Under 9, Division One at the former Reyrolle Sports Ground and the youngsters ask "Who was Reyrolle?", it is hoped they get a satisfactory answer and an explanationthathelps to retain the memory of Alphonse Reyrolle on Tyneside.


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