Market Drayton - Notable Residents

Notable Residents

Nearby at Styche Hall is the birthplace of Robert Clive, first Lord Clive, "Clive of India", (1725–1774). The Georgian house, designed by Sir William Chambers, the architect of Somerset House, replaced the half-timbered house where Clive was born. It was built for his father and paid for by Clive from the income from his Indian career.

Amongst the many schools he attended is the town's old grammar school, next to St Mary's church. A school desk with the initials RC can still be seen in the town.

Thomas Povey, the colonial civil servant and friend of Samuel Pepys, was a Londoner, but a branch of his family lived at Woodseaves, Market Drayton; the most prominent of this branch was Sir John Povey, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland 1673-9.

The town was the birthplace of pioneering photographer Samuel Bourne (b. 1834). He is famous for having spent six years in India from 1862 to 1870; there he founded a major studio, Bourne & Shepherd, trekked into and photographed many of India's remotest places and, with his printer Charles Shepherd, became the most notable photographer of the Raj.

John Lewis (1855-1926), football referee and a founder of Blackburn Rovers F.C., was born at Market Drayton.

The 1930s British fascist leader Oswald Mosley was born nearby in 1896, at Betton Hall, the home of his mother's parents, although. On the separation of his parents, his mother, Oswald and his brother went to live in Smithfield Road. Mosley attended a dame school in Shropshire Street until he went to public school at the age of eight. Apart from holidays he never lived in Drayton again.

Mosley was deeply ashamed of their reduced circumstances and he did everything to hide the years in Drayton. Their middle class status contrasted with the huge estate of his paternal grandparents in Staffordshire. Years later, following the death of their mother, he obtained her diaries from his brother and burned them. In the 1930s at the height of his "fame", he returned to the town where he held a meeting in the square.

The most famous, recent inhabitant was a petty criminal (he admitted to being a poacher)called Derek "Poddy" Podmore. He had a fan club in Philadelphia called Pod's People, selling badges to Americans. Just before Christmas in 1977, dressed as Father Christmas, and shouting "Merry Christmas", he sat on to the roof of Shrewsbury jail with a sack of cigarettes and tobacco for the inmates. He was arrested after an hour, by means of a Green Goddess fire engine He also had himself nailed by the ear to a tree. He once appeared in court covered in manure wearing a dead pig as a hat. He also appeared in court dressed as a frogman - this followed his "warm-up" for a world frog swallowing record attempt in 1974 when he swallowed a live frog at a Market Drayton pub and washed it down with a pint of "black and tan". 'Poddy' is also said to have paid a substantial fine in 1 pence pieces, which he took to court in sacks (which, of course, meant the court had to count up every sack).

Market Drayton has always been a hotbed for musical 'talent' producing a number of bands who have progressed on to achieve regional acclaim. In the early 1980s the town boasted the 'best' School Rock Band in the country, TSB National School Band winners, Monovision. At the same time the local youth club were represented by the Platinum Needles in the NAYC Opportunity Rocks competition final. In early 1981 The Platinum Needles were also featured on the Stoke Musicians Collective album released on Slip Records "Cry Havoc". The Frolics, another band from the Grove School had success in the West Midlands area and generated a cult following locally. In more recent times Sonic State another local band have produced the theme music for a TV program while sharing their lead singer Jenny Z with the more famous Sigue Sigue Sputnik (formed by former Generation X guitarist Tony James. During the late seventies and early eighties, Drayton also boasted one of the only recording studios in Shropshire, Redball Records.

There is only one sports star lives in Market Drayton and that is darts player Ken Summers who competed in the 1980s.

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